Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month with AFCPE!
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of Americans with disabilities.
At AFCPE, we embrace NDEAM as an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the work of AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) professionals, AFC® Candidates, and AFCPE Members with disabilities who are making an impact in the field of financial counseling, coaching, and education.
It is also an ideal time for us, as financial professionals, to expand our knowledge about the unique barriers to financial well-being that people with disabilities may encounter and ensure that we are using a lens of inclusion in our work.
People with Disabilities Have Unique Barriers to Financial Capability
Did you know:
- 1 in 9 adults (ages 18-64) have a disability. Of those, only 1 in 3 are employed. [National Disability Institute]
- People of color with disabilities similarly face intensified marginalization. For example, while the poverty rate for non-Hispanic whites with disabilities was 24 percent in 2015, nearly 40 percent of African Americans with disabilities lived in poverty during the same time frame. [American Progress]
- More than 1 in 4 (26.5%) households with at least one member with a disability had medical debt compared to 14.4% of households with no members with disabilities. [Census.gov]
- During the pandemic, people with disabilities have been more likely to lose their jobs than their nondisabled peers. People with disabilities have also been more likely to contract COVID-19 and suffer negative health impacts, incurring more significant healthcare expenses. [EasterSeals]
How You can Support People with Disabilities during NDEAM and Beyond
With the help of AFCPE staff, Members, and certified professionals, we have compiled a list of resources that can be used to guide and support you in your work with people with disabilities. This list is not comprehensive, but it can serve as a starting place in your journey to creating an environment that is safe and supportive for your colleagues and clients with disabilities.
Have more resources to add? Drop them in the comments below!
Recognizing Financial Challenges
People with disabilities experience unique financial challenges like medical debt, employment issues, housing, and transportation.
Addressing Barriers to Accessing Financial Services
The first step to making financial services accessible to people with disabilities is educating yourself as a professional. Having a working knowledge of topics like ABLE Accounts and employment resources will help you become a stronger practitioner and educator. National Disability Institute’s Financial Capability Center has resources and tools that are tailored for the needs of those with disabilities.
However, no matter how great your practice or resources are, it does not matter if they are inaccessible. By adding things like alt-text, closed captions, and using appropriate colors, you can make your website possible to navigate.
- Financial Capability Center [NDI]
- ABLE Accounts (529 A Savings Plans) [FINRA]
- Accessible U [University of Minnesota]
- 15 Simple Ways to Make Your Business More Accessible to People With Disabilities [Business 2 Community]
- COVID-19: Digital Accessibility Keeps Financial Services Open to All [Viscardi Center]
Neurodivergence and Finance
For those living with ADHD, autism, or a learning disability, managing finances can bring different challenges. If your client is living with a condition similar to these, they may need different strategies for navigating their finances and meeting their financial goals.
Building an Equitable Business
If you’re working to create a more equitable private practice or business, it’s critical that you have the right tools and strategies for both recruitment and retention.
Connect them to qualified, caring AFC® professionals
If you aren’t currently offering one-on-one financial counseling, please help refer clients to:
- AFCPE’s free financial counseling and coaching services, made possible with the support of AFC and FFC® certified volunteers and with generous grant funding from Wells Fargo Foundation. Many of the AFCs who are providing counseling have also taken Financial Inclusion Essentials created in partnership with the National Disability Institute (NDI).
- AFCPE’s Find an AFC directory: A useful tool to help individuals find a qualified counselor in their area. Rates are determined by individual counselors.