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Thursday, 30 April, 2015

Report Finds Adults With Disabilities Remain Outside the Economic Mainstream Despite ADA's Promise

(Washington, D.C. - April 30, 2015) – A new report was released today by National Disability Institute (NDI) – Banking Status and Financial Behaviors of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. The report finds that, in the 25 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 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.

Based on data mined from the 2013 FDIC National Survey on Unbanked and Underbanked Households , this insightful report highlights, for the very first time, the financial choices and banking habits of adults with disabilities. This is the second report (Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities ) NDI has released in two years, which provides a detailed picture of people with disabilities struggling to be a part of the economic mainstream.

“We’ve known for many years that Americans with disabilities face unique financial obstacles and challenges that separate them from their peers without disabilities,” Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute, said. “Today, with the release of this report, we now have a clearer picture of what that looks like and the significant opportunities to design solutions.” Continued Morris, “With nearly 50 percent of the population remaining unbanked and underbanked, it is essential that policymakers, and financial institution and community organization leaders, rally around the report’s findings and recommendations, and begin to work together to ensure equal access and financial inclusion for people with disabilities.”        

The findings in this report provide an important lens on the alternative financial choices and decision-making of Americans with disabilities. Report highlights 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).

National Disability Institute will release the report findings, and recommendations with a call to action, today at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Morris, and researchers and co-authors Katherine McDonald and Nicole Conroy, will present the report highlights. FDIC Deputy Director for Consumer and Community Affairs Elizabeth Ortiz will provide an overview and historical perspective of the agency’s 2013 National Survey.

Two panels will discuss the findings of the report and give recommendations. The first panel, of federal agency representatives, will discuss various strategies and policy recommendations to reverse the report’s findings, as well as their work to advance the financial capability of people with disabilities. Panelists include Daniel Dodd-Ramirez, Assistant Director of Financial Empowerment, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Bob Williams, Senior Advisor, Social Security Administration; and Keith Ernst, FDIC Associate Director, Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection.

The second panel, of individuals with disabilities, will put a human face on the report findings and provide context from their own personal experiences. Panelists include Marian Vessels, Director, Mid-Atlantic ADA Center; and Jeff Rosen, Chairperson, National Council on Disability.  

A digital copy of the report is available for download in the document library in the Resources section of the NDI website. Photographs of the event are available upon request.   



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