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News for Researchers

National Disability Institute Launches Disable Poverty Campaign

July 26, 2016
Source: National Disability Institute (NDI)

National Disability Institute (NDI) announced today the launch of its grassroots campaign, Disable Poverty, which aims to increase awareness about the nearly one in three Americans with disabilities that live in poverty and remain outside the economic mainstream.

The two overarching goals of the campaign, to be achieved in the next 10 years, are to:

  • Decrease the number of working-age adults with disabilities living in poverty by 50 percent, and
  • Increase the use of mainstream banking products and services among Americans with disabilities by 50 percent.

"As we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act today, I can think of no better time to bring awareness to the plight of seven million individuals with disabilities in this country who live in poverty, and the millions more who teeter just above the poverty line and are one unexpected expense away from plunging below it," Michael Morris, National Disability Institute Executive Director, said. "As a nation, it is time to elevate and amplify the conversation around this issue and work towards shared prosperity for all Americans.”

Participants in the Disable Poverty campaign are asked to take a pledge and post a sticker on their Facebook page urging others to do the same. In addition, a series of actionable items for individuals, disability/advocacy organizations, companies and financial institutions provide concrete steps that people can take to become actively involved in advancing financial inclusion.

Added Morris, "Beyond thinking, Isnt it terrible that so many people with disabilities live in poverty, these actionable items are meant to empower individuals to become change agents on behalf of this economically vulnerable population. Through our words and our actions, we can disable poverty and make a collective and lasting impact that will affect generations to come."

Impetus for the Disable Poverty campaign was spurred, in part, by a 2015 report released by NDI: Banking Status and Financial Behaviors of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. Findings from the report indicate that, in the 25 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, ensuring all individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve “economic self-sufficiency,” this population still faces numerous financial hurdles and roadblocks to financial inclusion.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Among households headed by working-age persons with 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 disability were significantly more likely to report using alternative financial services than households headed by those without disability (46.7 percent vs. 35.1 percent, respectively).
  • Households headed by working-age persons with disability were significantly less likely to have a savings account (with or without a checking account) compared to households headed by those without disability (46.7 percent vs. 72.5 percent, respectively).

The Disable Poverty campaign will run for two years. Visit the Disable Poverty website to take the pledge and learn more about how to take action on the issue of disability and poverty in America.

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