Ticket to Work Service Provider Toolkit - Publication of the Week
For organizations that promote the use of the Ticket to Work Program, the Ticket to Work Service Provider Toolkit offers a list of free and easy-to-use tools and resources to help promote Ticket to Work and Work Incentives to beneficiaries, family members, and community partners. The materials in theToolkit are designed to be tailored to suit your organization’s messaging about its involvement in the Ticket to Work program.
Hands on Banking - Website of the Week
Wells Fargo created this free resource that offers basic money management information, tools, and skills for individuals and instructors. Audiences include military, seniors, entrepreneurship, adults, young adults, teens and kids. The content is also available in Spanish.
This Thanksgiving I want to offer thanks for all the help I get from family, friends and the government. Yes, the government.
Without my Medicare and Medicaid, which covered my recent hospital stay, I don’t know what would have happened. I had kidney damage from years on lithium. I even had a (mini) heart attack in the hospital. I was there for a month. So you see, the bills were enormous. But I have been receiving only statements of what was covered. Not bills.
I am lucky.
It might seem a bit strange to be thankful for what seems like dependence on the government. But quite the contrary. I’m thankful for the assistance. I’m thankful for the opportunities. Receiving disability benefits and living in subsidized housing allowed me to move away from home and feel more independent, which in turn allowed me to feel more confident as a writer. Which in turn makes me a better and more marketable writer. It is my hope that this will lead to me being able sustain a living without the government assistance.
Am I making my point, that the government assistance I receive makes my life full of possibilities? I sit at my computer today working on an article for a magazine. I don’t worry about my situation. I am the lucky one.
Giving thanks before Thanksgiving,
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Cindy Battles is a freelance writer based in Rutland, VT, winner of the National Disability Institute’s 2008 Blog Contest and a regular contributor here on the Real Economic Impact blog.
Use of Social Security Work Incentives to Promote Work-Based Learning in Youth Employment and Training Programs - Publication of the Week
This report from National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth examines AmeriCorps as a model that includes an income exemption that allows youth with disabilities who are Social Security beneficiaries to participate in work-based learning experiences and receive a living allowance or stipend without it impacting their benefits. An overview is initially provided about the importance of work-based learning experiences, including service learning, particularly for youth with disabilities and the current state of policy and practice regarding the use of the AmeriCorps income exclusion. Recommendations are then provided for increasing the scope and utilization of the existing AmeriCorps exemption and for the expansion of similar incentives to other youth employment and training programs serving transition-age youth with disabilities such as those funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
StateData.info - Website of the Week
StateData.info a resource for data on employment of people with disabilities. The website offers information on employment services, employment outcomes, and population information for people with disabilities. Users can generate customized charts and tables, download raw data from one of the many data sources on the site and use it to conduct their own analyses, and can read and download publications that discuss and analyze critical issues in the area of employment of people with disabilities.
StateData.info is a product of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth - Website of the Week
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), assists state and local workforce development systems to better serve all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. NCWD/Youth is composed of partners with expertise in education, youth development, disability, employment, workforce development and family issues and offers a range of technical assistance services to state and local workforce investment boards, youth councils and other workforce development system youth programs.
A Week of Impact
By Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute
What a week it was last week! National Disability Institute (NDI) raised the bar of possibilities and expectations in three extraordinary events that demonstrated the power of collaboration to build solutions to advance financial security for individuals with disabilities nationwide.
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, we celebrated the success of our collaboration with the IRS, other federal agencies, and over 900 community partners in over 110 cities in all 50 states. A press conference at the IRS headquarters building revealed the results of our partnership with IRS and Real Economic Impact Network activities that over nine years have assisted more than 1.9 million low income taxpayers with disabilities benefit from more than $1.8 billion dollars in tax refunds and credits. A panel presentation with our MyFreeTaxes collaborators included presentations by United Way and Goodwill Industries International and unveiled 2014 NDI plans to expand the program footprint to more American Job Centers with the U.S. Department of Labor and for the first time a new collaboration to partner with Veterans Affairs healthcare programs and facilities nationwide.
A second panel featuring representatives from the IRS, FDIC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Taxpayer Advocate Service, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs focused on each agency’s activities and programs to build the financial capability of individuals with disabilities. The event concluded with the presentation of NDI’s Ron Smith Federal Employee Award, the Richard Keeling Leadership Award, and for the first time, the Allen Jensen Humanitarian Public Policy Award to NDI Board member Madeleine Will. Jensen family members were able to be with us including Allen’s wife, Yvon, and his two sons, Kevin Jensen and NDI Board member Michael Jensen. NDI Board member Ron Smith was able to join us from Atlanta to present the leadership award named by NDI in his honor. Pictures from the event can be seen on a gallery on NDI’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RealEconImpact. A press release about the event, which was picked up by media nationwide, was also issued.
From the press event, Johnette Hartnett, NDI’s Director of Strategy and Research, and I traveled across town to a first-ever event held by CFPB, a Disability Forum that brought together 30 national disability leaders to discuss with CFPB Commissioner Richard Cordray and other top officials the financial capability challenges faced by people with disabilities. I was asked and honored to facilitate the closing session on next steps in terms of specific actions CFPB can take to improve connections and communications with the disability community.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, NDI brought together a unique group of leaders from the disability community, government, assistive technology manufacturers and vendors, and finance. With the advice and leadership of NDI Board member John Nelson, we have spent the last two months in dialogue with key stakeholders about the possibilities of financial innovations improving the availability and affordability of assistive technology (AT), home and vehicle modification loans. The meeting in Washington, DC, brought together more than 35 key players, including directors of Alternative Finance Programs in 12 states, with representatives from the White Office on Social Innovation, the AT Industry Association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, National Cooperative Bank, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the Community Reinvestment Fund, and the U.S. Department of Education. NDI Board members participating in the meeting in addition to John Nelson were Dan Hartnett and Pam Owens. Once again, NDI provided the leadership to bring these important stakeholders together which was a historic achievement. The meeting resulted in agreement to push forward in several work groups to examine multiple options from possible securitization opportunities to exploring the feasibility of the establishment of a cooperative that improves the effectiveness and offers new efficiencies for the 30-plus independent Alternative Finance Programs.
I couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishments, the incredible work of NDI staff, and the involvement of six NDI Board members this past week in these key initiatives. National Disability Institute is proud to continue to be a pioneer and innovator, tapping the power of collaboration to impact change that is transformative and builds a better economic future for people with disabilities.
Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors - Website of the Week
Military service members can receive expedited processing of disability claims from Social Security. Benefits available through Social Security are different than those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application. The expedited process is used for military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors for more information.
Living and Working with Disabilities (IRS Publication 3966) - Publication of the Week
Living and Working with Disabilities (IRS Publication 3966) has been recently updated and presents basic information about existing tax credits and benefits that may be available to qualifying taxpayers with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and businesses or other entities wishing to accommodate persons with disabilities.
Half in Ten - Website of the Week
The Half in Ten campaign is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Coalition on Human Needs, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. It is dedicated to building the political and public will to cut the U.S. poverty rate in half in 10 years. The campaign builds on the work of the Center for American Progress’s 2007 Task Force on Poverty, combining evidence-based policy recommendations with strategic building of networks, spokespeople, and opinion leaders in communities to amplify the call to reduce poverty in America. Our approach is grounded in four fundamental goals: creating good jobs, promoting economic security, strengthening families, and cutting poverty in half in 10 years.