Financial education and asset development are critical to improving the economic self-sufficiency of all workers and may be especially important for people with disabilities. Learning how to stretch wages further, invest wisely, avoid debt, and plan for retirement is essential to avoiding the poverty level income connected with most disability benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Several work and tax incentives exist to reduce disability- and work-related costs, such as medical expenses or reasonable job accommodations. Some work incentives can even be used to provide capital for people with disabilities interested in starting their own business.
The following resources provide more information about financial education, asset development, and work and tax incentives:
Secure Your Financial Future: A Toolkit for Individuals with Disabilities
The Securing Your Financial Future Toolkit was developed by ODEP and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The toolkit guides people with disabilities to strive for or maintain employment and achieve financial stability. Organized around five stages of the employment lifecycle, the toolkit provides tools and resources addressing common financial concerns during each stage. So, whether you are preparing for a job, starting a job, maintaining a job, changing or losing a job, or even planning for retirement, this toolkit has resources for you.
- Financial Well-Being for Individuals with Disabilities During the Pandemic and Beyond - In this webinar, Nancy Boutot, Manager of Financial Empowerment at National Disability Institute, Andy Arias, Policy Advisor at ODEP, and Edward Mitchell, ABLE National Resource Center BIPOC Ambassador, introduce attendees to the new online Financial Toolkit through an engaging dialogue drawing from both professional and personal experience.
Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE)
ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) — A collaborative that brings together the investment, support, and resources of some of the country's largest and most influential national disability organizations in an effort to accelerate the design and availability of ABLE accounts to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.
ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings and investment accounts for individuals with disabilities, that have been a game changer for many people with disabilities who want to work and save for the future, without concerns about asset limits. The individual with the disability is the ABLE account owner. The account owner, family, friends, an employer or the account owner’s Special Needs Trust (SNT) may contribute funds into the account. ABLE account owners – both those who receive and those who do not receive public benefits – may save for qualified disability expenses related to transportation, health care, housing, education, retirement and more.
The ABLE Act and Employment: Strategies for Maximizing the Effectiveness of the ABLE Act as a Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes of People with Disabilities (PDF) — This brief discusses how provisions of the ABLE Act of 2014 can be combined with federal benefit services and other federal programs and initiatives to further competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities.
ODEP and other DOL agency resources
- ODEP Collaborative Activities with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- CFPB Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) (PDF) — On August 26, 2013, ODEP and the CFPB signed this agreement to work together to strengthen the financial capability of youth and adults with disabilities by expanding access to a wider range of financial education resources, asset-building strategies, and consumer protection information through high-impact public policy initiatives and dissemination of effective practices. The MOA advances the creation, exchange, translation, and use of knowledge that impacts employment and economic advancement of individuals with disabilities, as well as the exchange of other information and services for which cooperation may be mutually beneficial.
- ODEP & CFPB Release Joint Communication, “Promoting Pathways to Economic Stability for Workers with Disabilities” (PDF) — On August 7, 2014, ODEP and the CFPB issued a joint communication to the American public that discusses their respective commitment to promoting the financial capability of Americans with disabilities, and also describes their collaborative activities in this area. The memorandum also provides information on available federal financial capability resources and assistance that workers with disabilities can use to promote their financial security and economic advancement.
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) — DOL agency that works to ensure the security of retirement, health, and other workplace related benefits of workers and their families. As part of this, EBSA helps educate and assist individuals covered by private retirement, health, and other benefit plans about their rights and responsibilities.
- Work Incentives: General Information — Information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) about various work incentives for SSDI and SSI recipients, including:
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) — Tax assistance program offering free help to low- to moderate-income individuals and families who cannot prepare their own tax returns. VITA sites are usually located at community centers, libraries, schools, malls, and other locations.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistant — Guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to assist people in determining if they should claim the EITC, a refundable tax credit for eligible low-income workers with and without disabilities.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money Smart — A financial education program designed to help individuals outside of the financial mainstream develop financial literacy skills and positive banking relationships.