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December 2017 | Vol. 9, Issue 11
CONTENTS
Significant Concerns Grow Over ABLE-related Amendment (“ABLE to Work”) in Senate Tax Bill
NDI’s ABLE National Resource Center Hosts First ABLE Congressional Briefing
Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Face Numerous Financial Challenges
November Employment Profile
 

Significant Concerns Grow Over ABLE-related Amendment (“ABLE to Work”) in Senate Tax Bill

In addition to other significant concerns about both the House and Senate tax proposals, which have now passed their respective chambers and moved to conference, the disability community has started to voice concern over an ABLE-related amendment that was included in the Senate bill.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Financial Security Taskforce, of which NDI is a Co-Chair, helped draft a letter sent to the Members of Congress expressing deep concern over an ABLE-related amendment to the Senate’s recently passed tax proposal (the language of which can be found in Sec. 11024. INCREASED CONTRIBUTIONS TO ABLE ACCOUNTS). After much consideration, the Taskforce found that the provision (otherwise known as the “ABLE to Work” Act) would result in additional administrative burden on both program administrators and people with disabilities and create unnecessary complexities.

The Taskforce believes that the current language, if passed, would leave individuals with disabilities who are ABLE account owners in a vulnerable position that risks the loss of vital supports provided by various means-tested programs. This is in complete contrast to the very intent of the ABLE Act.

The letter concluded with the taskforce opposing the bill in its current form and requesting that passage of the ABLE to Work Act be deferred until stakeholders can be convened to make recommendations on how to fulfill the spirit of the ABLE to Work Act while not increasing administrative burden and leaving ABLE account owners in a vulnerable position.

Read a fully detailed analysis of the ABLE-related amendment .

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NDI’s ABLE National Resource Center Hosts First ABLE Congressional Briefing

On December 4, the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) hosted a congressional briefing at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The event provided Members of Congress and ABLE-related stakeholders with a progress report on the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act implementation nationwide. To date, more than 30 states have launched ABLE programs.

The briefing shared key information about ABLE account owner demographics, number of accounts opened, contribution levels and other significant data points. Attendees heard from two sets of panelists who shared ABLE success stories, examined implementation challenges and made legislative recommendations to strengthen ABLE.

The briefing was hosted by the ANRC, in collaboration with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Financial Security Taskforce and the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) ABLE Committee, and sponsored by Senator Robert “Bob” Casey, Senator Richard Burr, Representative Pete Sessions, Representative Tony Cardenas and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

During the nearly three years since the ABLE Act enactment, a tremendous amount of work has been done on the local, state and federal levels to ensure that ABLE-eligible individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to build a sound financial future, without jeopardizing their eligibility for various supports and services provided by means-tested programs.

Download the presentation from the briefing.

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Report Finds Adults with Disabilities Face Numerous Financial Challenges

National Disability Institute (NDI) released a new report, Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities: Findings from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability StudyThe report finds that, in the 27 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 challenges and roadblocks to achieving financial inclusion and independence.

Based on data mined from the 2015 FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Study, this report highlights the impact of financial stress on adults with disabilities.

The report findings provide insight on the financial challenges of Americans with disabilities:

  • Among adults ages 18-64, one in nine have a disability and, of those, one in three are employed.
  • People with disabilities are twice as likely to have income less than $35,000, leading to a high rate of skipped medical treatments compared to those without disabilities (46 percent vs. 25 percent).
  • People with disabilities are three times more likely to have extreme difficulty paying bills.
  • Fifty-five percent of people with disabilities reported that they could not come up with $2,000 for an emergency, compared to 22 percent of those without a disability.
  • Compared to people without disabilities, those with disabilities are more likely to be late on mortgage payments (31 percent vs. 14 percent), overdraw checking accounts (31 percent vs. 18 percent) and take loans from retirement accounts (23 percent vs. 10 percent).

National Disability Institute released the report during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Report co-authors and researchers, Nanette Goodman and Bonnie O’Day, presented the report highlights.

A digital copy of the report is available for download in the Document Library section of NDI’s website. Photographs of the event are available upon request.

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November Employment Profile

Disability employment statistics for November 2017 show that the unemployment rate among people with disabilities was 8.5 percent. This shows a 1.5 percent decrease from November 2016. The latest employment statistics also find that only 20.8 percent of people with disabilities are actively in the labor force, as compared to 68.3 percent of people with no disability. Data on people with disabilities covers those between the ages of 16 to 64 who do not live in institutions.

U.S. Disability Employment Profile
Statistic
With Disability
Without Disability
 
Nov.
2016
Nov.
2017
Nov.
2016
Nov.
2017
Percent of Population in the Labor Force
20.0
20.8
68.4
68.3
Employment-Population Ratio
18.0
19.0
65.5
65.7
Unemployment Rate
10.0
8.5
4.2
3.7
As reported by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-6

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