April is National Financial Literacy Month. Nonprofits, government agencies and businesses nationwide celebrate the month by urging all Americans to increase their knowledge of personal finances. National Disability Institute (NDI) recognizes Financial Literacy Month as an opportunity to emphasize tools and resources that can help to realize NDI’s vision of a society in which people with disabilities have the same opportunities to achieve financial stability and independence as people without disabilities.
The road to financial stability can present roadblocks in the form of expenses or debt from overspending, past due bills or unforeseen circumstances. These hurdles may be avoided or reduced through a better understanding of and access to money management tools. LifeCents’ online financial wellness training and AFCPE’s virtual financial counseling and coaching are available through NDI’s Financial Resilience Center and can help people make smarter financial decisions, manage expenses and prepare for future emergencies. The Financial Resilience Center aims to combat the devastating impact of the pandemic on the financial health of people with disabilities and builds resilience and literacy with updated information on public benefits, employment and legislation, including What You Need to Know about the COVID-19 Relief Bill signed into law in March.
Financial literacy around savings empowers individuals with disabilities to increase their money management skills and maintain and/or improve their independence and quality of life. The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) serves individuals with disabilities, their families and those who support them with information about the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, ABLE accounts, state ABLE programs and related policy developments. ABLE NRC’s objective, independent information about federal- and state-related ABLE programs includes the ABLE Account, Special Needs and Pooled Trust Comparison Chart, the ABLE to Save Podcast Series and, coming soon, a new series of interactive Decision Guides meant to increase understanding and assist in decision making regarding ABLE accounts.
Financial Literacy Month can be used to encourage people with disabilities to set and achieve financial goals, access and manage public benefit programs and save money now and for the future. NDI will also take this month’s focus on financial literacy as an opportunity to increase awareness and usage of the resources available under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and to continue to call for changes in policies and expectations.
One in four Americans with disabilities lives in poverty. Let’s spend April, and every month, working to improve the financial capability and the lives of people with disabilities and remove barriers that hinder their access to employment, education, skills development, financial services and full participation in their communities.