Morris, M. & Goodman, N. (2021). Rethink Public Policies to Support Income Production, Savings and Asset Accumulation for People with Disabilities. In Boshara, R. & Rademacher, I. (Eds) The Future of Building Wealth: Brief Essays on the Best Ideas to Build Wealth—for Everyone. (pp105-112). US: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and The Aspen Institute. https://futureofwealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/the-future-of-building-wealth.pdf.
President Biden’s executive order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities (E.O. 13985) makes it clear that the federal government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who “have been historically underserved, marginalized and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
People with disabilities fit clearly in this category. Congress cited historical marginalization in the findings of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting, and access to public services.” The law called this “unfair and unnecessary discrimination.”
Thirty years later, the legacy of marginalization remains evident. Compared to people without disabilities, people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty (26% versus 11%), more likely to live in long-term poverty, twice as likely to be unable to come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose in the next month (37% versus 18%) and three times more likely to have extreme difficulty paying bills (23% versus 9%).