The ABLE BIPOC Outreach Toolkit
The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) is committed to enhancing the financial stability and prosperity of people in Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities who live with the additional and significant expenses associated with having a disability. Across all racial and ethnic groups, households with a working-age member who has a disability have lower net worth compared to households without a member who has a disability ($14,180 versus $83,985). Households who are black and disabled have the lowest net worth ($1,282). [NDI]
This toolkit is intended for agencies, organizations, and community groups to build awareness on ABLE accounts. It was designed in partnership with our ABLE NRC BIPOC Ambassadors to showcase and provide guidance on how 529(A) ABLE savings and investment accounts can benefit eligible members of minority populations while helping them maintain eligibility for critical public benefits.
As community leaders and service providers, you can now take full advantage of the ABLE BIPOC Outreach Toolkit as part of your work helping to address the inequalities faced by BIPOC individuals. Increasing financial stability for this population will have a net-positive impact across all aspects of life for those you serve, and ABLE accounts can make that difference.
We ask that you integrate the following strategies, tools and resources as part of your outreach, education and ongoing services.
In This Toolkit
Together, we can improve the financial stability of people with disabilities within the BIPOC community.
Resources & Downloads
Use this flyer to share the ABLE NRC BIPOC Outreach Toolkit with your networks.
You can use the ABLE NRC's “Basics of ABLE" presentation as you work to support increased financial well-being among the BIPOC community. You are also welcome to reach out to us at email@example.com for support in offering this presentation.
The Basics of ABLE presentation covers the following:
- What is an ABLE account?
- Why should I save in an ABLE account?
- How do I open an ABLE account?
- What purchases can I make using my ABLE account?
- Why is ABLE especially important for BIPOC individuals and family members?
- Statistics on ABLE Accounts
- When should I open my ABLE account?
- ABLE Best Practices
- In English: Top 5 Things to Know About ABLE
- En Español: Cinco cosas que usted debe saber sobre las Cuentas ABLE
- American Sign Language (ASL) video: Information on ABLE in ASL
These decision guides are interactive tools that can help you with the choices you face while opening and using an ABLE account. Learn if you’re eligible for an account, where to find money to save in your account, what counts as a Qualified Disability Expense (QDE) and more!
Nathan Turner, ABLE account owner in Ohio: “Money is Freedom for Minorities”
Hector Ramirez, ABLE account owner in California: “Money is Medicine”
Edward Mitchell, ABLE account owner in Tennessee: “ABLE is a safe harbor in a sea of financial insecurity.”
Insights on ABLE from a Deaf ABLE Account Owner
Eric Cardenas is an ABLE National Resource Center Ambassador. He is also an advocate for Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf, Texas Association of the Deaf, and an ASL teacher at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Eric is a first Mexican-American generation and Deaf LGBT person. His parents were legal immigrants to the United States from Mexico. He is also the first member of his family to graduate from college and earned a master’s degree in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University. Eric is currently in a doctoral program. He opened his ABLE account to save money for potential future disability-related expenses and hopes to use the funds from his ABLE account to possibly purchase and adapt a house.
Read stories, strategies and testimonials directly from ABLE NRC’s nine (9) BIPOC Ambassadors as they share their experiences using ABLE account to increase their financial independence and stability and improve the quality of life of their families.
Race, Ethnicity and Disability
National Disability Institute’s Race, Ethnicity and Disability research report discusses the unique challenges faced by BIPOC Americans due to their intersecting identities.
Higher levels of financial inequality is one of many additional hurdles the BIPOC community faces. When a person who is BIPOC experiences life with a disability(ies) they will have additional unique needs based on their individual situation. As just one example, for those who identify as members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and use Spanish or other signed languages besides American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language, they may have much more complex and expensive access needs related to communication.
Extra Costs of Living with a Disability
The Extra Costs of Living with a Disability in the United States catalogs and quantifies the extra costs of living with a disability in the United States and explains the policy implications.
Five Things You Can Do To Increase ABLE BIPOC Outreach
1. Identify and collaborate with trusted organizations in your community that serve the BIPOC community and develop opportunities to increase financial literacy and awareness of ABLE by using multiple tools and formats.
- Contact ABLE NRC and/or your state ABLE Program to host a webinar or virtual question and answer event featuring ABLE NRC BIPOC Outreach Ambassadors.
- Use multiple forms of communication such as newspapers, radio and social media, and faith based organizations to share and convey information on ABLE to underserved communities. Consider engaging your eligible customers with a mobile messaging campaign.
- Use Quick Reference Guide of Strategies to Lead the Vision Forward to learn about recommended strategies for municipalities.
- Share the stories of BIPOC ABLE Ambassadors to demonstrate what is possible with ABLE.
2. Create a pipeline to financially empower youth and young adults in transition. Examples include:
- Representing your organization as an ABLE supporter at IEP fairs and events,
- Engaging with community college Offices of Students with Disabilities, and/or
- Collaborating and actively participating in interagency organizations events and meetings.
3. If you are an employer, utilize the ABLE Employer Toolkit and create a link on your website to the ABLE NRC with our logo for more information.
- Partner with other local businesses to share ABLE information.
4. If you are a service provider, utilize the ABLE Service Provider Toolkit and create a link on your website to the ABLE NRC with our logo for more information.
5. Create within your organization/agency group your own ABLE BIPOC Outreach Ambassadors
How to Customize this Toolkit
The ABLE NRC is the only source of comprehensive, objective, independent information about federal and state related ABLE programs and activities including guidance on tax advantaged ABLE savings accounts. Our consultants include nationally certified benefits counselors who are available to discuss your most critical issues, training and technical assistance needs, or analyze and enhance the information you disseminate in order to meet your goals. Support is available on an ad hoc fee-basis, as a stand-alone contract, or on a longer-term project basis.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: BIPOC Toolkit Support to learn more.
+ Source: NDI Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Survey (2019) of Income and Program Participation Microdata, 2014 Panel, Wave 4.
+ ABLE NRC BIPOC Ambassadors embody the diversity of this country, representing cross-segments by type of disability, race and ethnicity, age, gender, sex, geographic location and a wide-range of ABLE goals. They are ABLE account owners and family members who are actively working to increase engagement and buy-in around ABLE accounts in their communities. The ABLE NRC BIPOC Ambassadors took a direct hand, informing the materials to include in this toolkit with the goal of ensuring that others in the BIPOC community benefit from ABLE accounts as they have benefited. This includes achieving milestones such as home-ownership and accessible vehicle purchases, technology, accommodations, and creation of emergency expense funds, along with long-term planning for retirement and other needed services and expenditures not covered by other programs or providers.