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Upward to Financial Stability: Ensuring All Americans Have Equal Opportunity

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our nation and its people can do more to define and implement pathways to full financial inclusion for all Americans, with and without disabilities.

In that spirit, the North Carolina Council on Development Disabilities (NCCDD) partnered with the National Disability Institute (NDI) to launch the Upward to Financial Stability Initiative. The initiative works to ensure that North Carolinians with disabilities are among those equipped to effectively manage their finances, make informed financial decisions on their own and have the capability and opportunity to build an even brighter financial future.

NDI is the nation's first and preeminent nonprofit dedicated exclusively to improving the financial health and future of all people across the spectrum of disabilities. It also believes all Americans should have equal opportunity to achieve financial independence, while acquiring the skills to effectively manage their finances.

Unfortunately, at the present time, this is not the case. Even now, 25 years after the ADA promoted "economic self-sufficiency," individuals with disabilities continue to face many systemic hurdles that block access to a life of financial independence. In fact, a recent report from NDI (Banking Status of Adults with Disabilities), based on data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC) 2013 National Survey on Unbanked and Underbanked Households, found that:

  • Among households headed by working-age persons with a disability, nearly one-fifth were unbanked (18.4 percent) and more than one-fourth were underbanked (28.1 percent).
  • Households headed by working age persons with a disability were significantly more likely to report using alternative financial services, such as payday loans, than households headed by those without disability (46.7 percent vs. 35.1 percent, respectively).
  • Households headed by working age persons with a disability were significantly less likely to have a savings account (with or without a checking account) compared to households headed by those without a disability (46.7 percent vs. 72.5 percent, respectively).

Overcoming these challenges will not be easy. However, through the cooperation of government, financial institutions, businesses and community groups, the US can design and implement strategies that improve informed financial decision making, increase access to affordable and accessible financial products and services, build financial confidence and increase the economic inclusion of individuals with disabilities.

 

Read the complete Summer 2015 Catalyst for Change here.

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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities
3125 Poplarwood Court
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27604
Info@nccdd.org
919-850-2901 (voice/tdd)
800-357-6916 (voice/tdd)
800-357-6916 (TTY)
919-850-2915 fax