3 Adults with disabilities working together in a greenhouse

Financial Wellness for People with Disabilities and Their Families

Mark your calendars this October for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual celebration that raises awareness while honoring the contributions of Americans with disabilities to our workforce and society. In partnership with the National Disability Institute (NDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit for advancing the economic opportunities of individuals with disabilities, we are eager to highlight the tools and resources available to people with disabilities, their families, and service providers to encourage financial wellness and asset-building.

Your feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to complete a four-question survey on the usefulness of the resource packet material.

Download the partner packet in Word.

In This Packet:

Article Copy

Social Media Content

America Saves Twitter Chat

Relevant Resources

Join our List


Article Copy

For use in communications that directly reach your constituents. We encourage you to use its contents as a guest post, or rewrite it as your own.

Download Article Copy in Word

Savings is an option for individuals with disabilities

By Michael R. Roush, Director, Real Economic Impact Network, National Disability Institute

NDI key strategies cycle: Goal > Benefits Planning and Work Supports > Employment > Free Tax Preparation > Financial Education > Asset Development > GoalOften individuals with disabilities may not be familiar with the savings options available to them, or they may be afraid to save money in fear of jeopardizing their public benefits. However, individuals with disabilities can potentially access a wide variety of saving strategies to achieve their savings goals and improve their financial well-being. We are partnering with America Saves to leverage both of our networks and resources to expand opportunities for individuals across the spectrum of disabilities to make a savings plan by choosing a savings goal and an amount to save each month. At National Disability Institute (NDI), we focus on five key strategies that we believe can help individuals build a life of work, savings, and asset development. The five key strategies are:

 

  1. Benefits Planning and Work Supports

There are savings options available to individuals who receive a needs-based benefit, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers work incentives that support an individual to go back to work and maintain employment while receiving a public benefit. An example of this is the Plan to Achieve Self-Support, often referred to as PASS, which allows individuals to set aside income other than Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or resources for a specified period of time so they may pursue a work goal that will reduce or eliminate the SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits they currently receive. An individual could, for example, set aside money to go to school to get specialized training for a job or to start a business. To learn more about PASS or other work incentives, review the SSA’s Red Book.

  1. Employment

Employment is important to improving financial well-being, and individuals with a disability can access employment services to help them obtain, maintain, or enhance their employment status. A great starting point is to visit a local American Job Center (AJC), also called Workforce Centers or One-Stop Centers. AJCs are designed to provide a full range of assistance to job seekers under one roof. They offer training referrals, career counseling, job listings, and similar employment-related services.

  1. Free Tax Preparation

Tax time is an ideal time to encourage individuals with disabilities to save money. We find that individuals with disabilities will often not file a tax return either because of low wages or in fear that if they file and receive a tax refund, they will lose their public benefits. It is important for these individuals to know that refunds received from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), or other refundable credits are not considered income. In addition, these refunds are not counted as a resource for at least 12 months from when an individual receives it for benefits or assistance under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. More information about disability and free tax services is available from the IRS.

  1. Financial Education

Financial education is a critical first step on the road to financial stability. There are a variety of financial education curriculum and tools available to help learn about savings. NDI has several initiatives dedicated to understanding and implementing key financial concepts to help people with disabilities take hold of their financial futures. Another source is FDIC’s Money Smart, which provides an accessible curriculum that is frequently used by disability organizations.

  1. Asset Development

Individuals may not be aware of programs that can assist them in saving money to buy a home, go back to school, or to start a business. One such savings options is an Individual Development Accounts (IDA). If an individual saves money in a matched IDA program, the funds will not impact their eligibility for federal benefit programs. Similarly, ABLE Accounts are a savings option for individuals with disabilities who qualify. ABLE Accounts allow an individual to save up to $14,000 per year without these funds impacting a needs-based benefit such as Supplemental Security Income. Money saved in an ABLE Account can be used to pay for qualified disability expenses.

National Disability Institute is the first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, asset development and financial stability for all people across the full spectrum of disabilities. We affect change through public education, training, technical assistance and policy development to help the one in three Americans with disabilities living in poverty take steps toward creating brighter financial futures. To learn more, visit www.realeconomicimpact.org. If you have specific questions on savings options for persons with disabilities, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Engage with NDI on Facebook: RealEconImpact or follow NDI on Twitter: @RealEconImpact.

Back to top


Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your followers. 

Download Social Media Content in Word

Download Share Images

#SavingsTipTuesday

Employment services are available to help individuals with a disability obtain, maintain, or enhance their employment status.

Download Share Images

Looking for a great employment starting point for ppl w/ disabilities? Start with @Career1Stop #SavingsTipTuesday 
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Individuals with disabilities can save up to $14,000 per year in ABLE accounts without impacting federal benefits.

Download Share Images

People w/ disabilities can save w/out impacting benefits: bit.ly/2cVyQWt @RealEconImpact #SavingsTipTuesday
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Tax time is an ideal time for individuals with disabilities to save money.

Download Share Images

Learn more about tax time savings here: http://bit.ly/2cVKDnD #SavingsTipTuesday @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Tax assistance is available for individuals with disabilities from @IRS: http://bit.ly/2cVBlb7 #SavingsTipTuesday
Twitter bird Tweet this now

.@FDICgov Money Smart has accessible materials frequently used by disability orgs: http://bit.ly/2cbUQQo #SavingsTipTuesday @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

.@RealEconImpact has free classes on strategies to build financial wellness of ppl w/ disabilities http://bit.ly/2cVMc4K #SavingsTipTuesday
Twitter bird Tweet this now

#SavingsFactFriday

ABLE Accounts were created by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 so that Americans with disabilities and their families can build savings.

Download Share Images

5 things to know about ABLE accounts: http://bit.ly/29xKYj7 #SavingsFactFriday @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Financial education is a critical first step on the road to financial stability for people with disabilities

Download Share Images

Financial edu helps ppl w/disabilities take hold of their futures! http://bit.ly/2cGMJLd #SavingsFactFriday
Twitter bird Tweet this now

The first ABLE accounts, a savings option for individuals with disabilities, launched in June 2016.

Download Share Images

Multiple states now offer #ABLE accounts. Compare programs: http://bit.ly/2cVza7F #SavingsFactFriday @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

#Savings is an option for individuals with disabilities: http://bit.ly/2cK6bbd #SavingsFactFriday @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

#DidYouKnow IDAs are savings option for ppl w/disabilities where funds are matched? http://bit.ly/2czfvtg #SavingsFactFriday
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Tax refunds (incl EITC + CTC) are NOT considered income for those w/ public benefits #SavingsFactFriday @RealEconImpact @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Additional Posts

Save your savings tips for a chance to win $25

Download Share Images

Do you have a tip about saving as individual with a disability? Share it, you could win $25: http://bit.ly/2cVza7F   
Twitter bird Tweet this now

8 steps to become ABLE account ready

Download Share Images

Here's how you can become ABLE account ready: http://huff.to/2cVCY8J by @RealEconImpact v/ @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

.@MyFreeTaxes = free tax prep + filing help for qualified ppl w/combined income of $62k or less >> http://bit.ly/2cK8Rp3 v/ @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Let @AmericaSaves help you stay committed to your #savings goal! Take the pledge today: http://bit.ly/2coXx2v
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Making simple changes to spending is an easy way to help anyone start #saving: http://bit.ly/2cWR9iB #BetterMoneyHabits v/ @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

When discussing people w/ disabilities, put the person first. Here are examples from @RealEconImpact: http://bit.ly/2cVAur6 @AmericaSaves
Twitter bird Tweet this now

 

Back to top


America Saves Twitter Chat

Please join @AmericaSaves and @RealEconImpact on Monday, October 17 at 3pm Eastern for an hour-long discussion on financial wellness for people with disabilities and their families. 

In partnership with the National Disability Institute (NDI), we are excited to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month with an hour-long chat highlighting the tools and resources available to people with disabilities, their families, and service providers. Please join our conversation on how to approach employment, saving, and asset-building, and strategies for improving one’s financial wellbeing.

Hashtag: #ABLEToSave

Topic: Financial Wellness for people with Disabilities and Their Families (iCalendar | Google Calendar |  Outlook | Outlook Online | Yahoo! Calendar)

When: Monday, October 17 at 3pm Eastern

Easy ways to follow the chat: Twubs or tchat.io

The #ABLEToSave chat will feature these questions for discussion: 

  • Q1: Can people with disabilities save while receiving benefits?
  • Q2: Do you know what an ABLE account is?
  • Q3: Why is it important to save money?
  • Q4: How do you know if saving money in an ABLE Account is right for the individuals you work with?
  • Q5: What are some good tools to help an individual with a disability learn how to save?
  • Q6: What are some ways to encourage friends and family members to save?
  • Q7: What are some good savings strategies?

Join @AmericaSaves @RealEconImpact 10/17 for #ABLEToSave chat on savings info/resources for people w/ disabilities: bit.ly/2dkOnm1
Twitter bird Tweet this now

 

Back to top


Relevant Resources

Share the following resources with your audience and with partnering organizations.

From America Saves

Blog Articles

Resources

Resources + Research

Back to top


Join our List

Subscribe to America Saves partner updates to be the first to receive new partner packets, the latest savings news and research, and information about America Saves Week. 

Or are you interested in organizing your own local Saves campaign? Learn more here.

Back to top

America Saves Week

February 27 - March 4, 2017.

An annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

Sign Up Today

Tip of the Day

  • A #taxrefund can provide an opportunity to improve your financial situation: http://bit.ly/2gEyzZr @AmericaSaves #ASW17

Saver Stories View all »

Another Dream Realized

Mary Brown was already a disciplined individual when she came to Wisconsin Saves coordinator Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) in last summer. She had successfully completed her bachelor’s degree with the assistance of her husband and son, and was now ready to tackle her next big dream – homeownership.

Read more...

The Gift of Homeownership

Quaneka Willis, a single mother of three children, was receiving rental assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee when she decided to take control of her finances. So, in September of 2013 she attended the Make Your Money Talk program and pledged as a Wisconsin Saver. In less than 12 months, she had maximized her savings and was beginning the process of purchasing her first home.

Read more...

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...