Financial Education for Persons with Disabilities

Strategies on Offering Financial
Education to Persons with
Michael R. Roush, M.A.
National Program Director
National Disability Institute
Washington, DC
[email protected]
National Disability Institute
A national research and development
organization with the mission to promote
income preservation and asset development for
persons with disabilities and to build a better
economic future for Americans with
The Americans with Disabilities Act of
• The Nation’s proper goals regarding
individuals with disabilities are to assure
equality of opportunity, full participation,
independent living, and economic selfsufficiency for such individuals;
42 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(8) (2005)
Background Information
• No group in America is more in need and more deserving of
economic recovery
• 58 million Americans with disabilities…1 in 5 (20% of the
• 20 million families have at least one (1) member with a disability
• Three times more likely than their peers without a disability to
live at or below the poverty line
• Dependence on public benefits for income, health care, food, and
housing becomes a trap that requires staying poor to stay eligible
• Complex public benefit system
Financial Education &
Persons with Disabilities
• Little federal or private attention has been given to the study
of financial education for persons with disabilities.
• Financial education is understudied, un-funded and mainly
unrecognized as a piece of the puzzle in reducing poverty
and building economic independence and self-sufficiency
for working adults with disabilities.
• TaxFacts+ Campaign found that only 21 percent of 649
working individuals earning $35,000 or less had
participated in a class or workshop on how to handle their
• Participants reported teaching material used for financial
education was not understandable or accessible.
Financial Education for
Persons with Disabilities
• Need a framework for building financial
relationships with non-traditional partners in the
• Professionals in financial services need education
about the specific needs of individuals with
disabilities on public benefits who are working.
• Employers of individuals with disabilities need
information and guidance in assisting workers
with various options for employee benefits.
Tips for Providing Financial Education to
Persons with Disabilities
• Disability Etiquette & Use People First Language
• Complex roadmap in navigating public benefit system –
important to be mindful of this
• Relevant topics to individuals ex. 401 K may not be as
important due to resource limits
• Be creative and make it interactive
• Incorporate financial institutions and non-traditional
partners in the delivery of the curriculum
• Make materials accessible
Disability Etiquette:
Additional Resources
• For Additional Information on Disability Etiquette
please check out the following links:
– “At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with
Disabilities” – this self-paced web course was
designed for front-line staff in a One-Stop Career
Center however it has many general guidelines on
serving people with may different disabilities
– Job Accommodation Network – This website has
an abundance of resources and information about
serving and accommodating people with
People First Language
• Positive language empowers.
• When writing or speaking about people with
disabilities, it is important to put the person first.
• Group designations such as "the blind," "the retarded"
or "the disabled" are inappropriate because they do not
reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people
with disabilities.
• Further, words like "normal person" imply that the
person with a disability isn't normal, whereas "person
without a disability" is descriptive but not negative.
Making Materials Accessible &
Providing Accommodations
• Alternative Formats (examples)
– Braille
– Large print
• Accommodations (examples)
– American Sign Language Interpreters
– Additional time for tests
– Reading questions aloud
• Technology (examples)
– Screen readers
– Closed captioning for videos
Community Resources that Support
Persons with Disabilities
Center for Independent Living
Goodwill Industries
Rehabilitation Services
Easter Seals
One Stop Career Centers
American Council of the Blind
Developmental Disabilities Council
Center for Autism and Related Disorders
Resources and Tools
• National Disability Institute
• VISA Financial Soccer (REI Tour version)
• FDICs Money Smart Curriculum
• Practical Money Skills for Life
• Doorways to Dreams
• Job Accommodation Network
Best Practices
• 30-second Financial Education Trainings
• Building Economic Strength Together (BEST)
30-Second Financial Education
• The purpose of the 30-Second Trainings is that
they are designed to be short, easy and fun,
they are not designed to be a test but rather to
increase knowledge of financial education,
they should only take about 30 seconds to
review and that they Include national,
reputable resources for follow up information.
Building Economic Strength Together
(B.E.S.T.) Program
• To convene groups of citizens with and without
disabilities for the purpose of increasing their
economic self sufficiency.
• Customized a six part financial and asset building
curriculum for three target audiences; Students with
intellectual disabilities; veterans with disabilities and
the employment provider network.
• Adopted study circle model that promotes interactive
and participatory learning and invites experts in the
community to deliver content subjects.
The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition at UNF
NDI BEST Jacksonville Project Graduates