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National Disability Institute and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launch New Initiative to Help Americans with Disabilities Achieve Financial Independence

June 5, 2015
Source: National Disability Institute (NDI)

National Disability Institute (NDI) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today the launch of ROADS (Reach Outcomes. Achieve Dreams. Succeed.) to Financial Independence. ROADS to Financial Independence will operate in six national sites and provide people with disabilities, already working or transitioning into the workforce, coordinated services to increase their financial stability and improve their economic future.

ROADS to Financial Independence is a groundbreaking initiative that blends financial education and counseling with employment, independent living and other support services that are provided in the cadre of services offered to individuals with disabilities. Participants in the initiative will have the opportunity to complete a financial health assessment, have access to a financial counselor, set financial goals such as improved credit scores, lower debt levels and increased personals savings.

“People with disabilities face significant obstacles when it comes to saving money and planning for their financial futures,” Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute, said. “Today, we begin a bold and unique initiative in six sites across the country, offering financial education and counseling to improve the financial stability of people with disabilities so that they can make informed financial decisions and have the opportunity to achieve financial independence.” Continued Morris, “What we begin here today with ROADS to Financial Independence is not just one way or one solution, but the creation of multiple pathways to promote economic mobility and security.”

The ROADS to Financial Independence initiative will operate in six communities. The organizations involved are as follows:

  • Birmingham, Alabama: United Way of Central Alabama and Disability Rights and Resources
  • Greater Washington, D.C. Metro Area: ServiceSource Virginia and Capital Area Asset Builders
  • State of Delaware: Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and ServiceSource Delaware
  • New Yorks Finger Lakes region: Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Cornell Cooperative Extension Center, Finger Lakes Independence Center, Ithaca Housing Authority, Tompkins County Workforce New York, Challenge Workforce Solutions and the United Way of Tompkins County
  • Austin, Texas: Goodwill Central Texas
  • Seattle, Washington: The Washington State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Neighborhood House, City of Seattle, The Financial Empowerment Network, and the Washington Access Fund.

Confronted with high rates of unemployment and resulting economic stress, people with disabilities have often relied on alternative financial services like payday loans or check cashing to meet their financial needs. Operating outside of the financial mainstream, however, can be more costly and time consuming. According to some studies, people with disabilities are more than twice as likely to use nonbank services as other members of the general U.S. consumer population. The Disability Statistics Compendium reports a 28.7 percent poverty rate for working age people with disabilities ages 18-64 compared to 12.5 percent poverty rate for non-disabled adults.

About Roads to Financial Independence:

ROADS to Financial Independence is an initiative of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is managed through a contract with the National Disability Institute (NDI). This first-of-its-kind national initiative is aimed at improving the financial well-being and economic security of individuals with disabilities who are currently working or transitioning into the workforce. The ROADS initiative integrates financial counseling with employment, independent living, and other support services that are being provided to individuals with disabilities. Individuals participating in the initiative have the opportunity to work with financial counselors who provide tailored information and tools to help consumers make better informed decisions for themselves and their families, establish personal financial goals, and implement strategies to achieve them. The initiative will operate in the following six communities: Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Seattle, Washington; Finger Lakes, New York; throughout the state of Delaware; and the Greater Washington DC Metro area.

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