Financial Capability, Asset Development, and Work and Tax Incentives
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 Income (SSDI). Furthermore, 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:
ODEP and other DOL agency resources
- ODEP Collaborative Activities with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- CFPB Memorandum of Agreement (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 to the Field entitled, “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.
- Creating a Roadmap out of Poverty for Americans with Disabilities: A Report on the Relationship of the Workforce Development System and Local Asset Building Coalitions (PDF) Report by ODEP and DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) that examines best practices in asset development in three cities and the workforce development system's role in advancing self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.
- Work Opportunity Tax Credit: An Under-Utilized Employer Tax Incentive to Hire Individuals with Disabilities (PDF) Brief provides information about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a Federal income tax credit for employers who hire individuals who are in one or more targeted groups, including vocational rehabilitation customers, SSI recipients, and qualified veterans with disabilities.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit: Capitalizing on Tax Incentives (PDF) Brief provides information about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a refundable tax credit for eligible low-income workers, with and without disabilities.
- Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) DOL agency that works to ensure the security of the retirement, health, and other workplace related benefits of workers and their families. As part of this, it helps educate and assist individuals covered by private retirement, health, and other benefit plans about their rights and responsibilities.
- Wi$eUp Online financial education training program sponsored by DOL's Women's Bureau and targeted at young women.
- Work Incentives: General Information Information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) about various work incentives for SSDI and SSI recipients, including:
- Real Economic Impact Tour (REI Tour) National initiative delivering free tax preparation and filing assistance, along with other asset building strategies, to low-income people with disabilities.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offering free tax 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.
- Assets for Independence (AFI) Program U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program that enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement and demonstrate an assets-based approach for giving low-income families a hand up out of poverty through Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).
- 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.
- 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 (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act) accounts to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.
- ABLE Accounts: 10 Things You Should Know The ABLE Act recognizes the significant costs of living with a disability. These include costs related to raising a child with disabilities, for accessible housing and transportation, personal assistance services, assistive technology, and health care not covered by insurance. Eligible individuals and their families can establish ABLE savings accounts that will not affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and other public benefits.