Individuals with disabilities face unique challenges that most people never have to encounter, and those challenges often include financial decisions that have to be made. A group of agencies and nonprofit organizations across New York City announced yesterday the results of a pilot program aimed at helping individuals with disabilities improve their financial situations and eliminate their debts. The program helped more than 1,000 New Yorkers reduce their debts by $442,000 and save nearly $26,000.
The success of the program, called EmpoweredNYC, is leading the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to develop curriculum to train financial counselors to further help the needs of individuals with disabilities. Nearly 1 million individuals with disabilities live in New York City alone, representing 11% of the city’s population.
Individuals with disabilities met with specially trained counselors for one-on-one sessions to discuss budgeting, banking, credit, debt and savings. Counselors also helped individuals with navigating the asset limits and rules of Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance while also addressing issues like overpayments from the Social Security Administration and other challenges when transitioning to work.
“People with disabilities have to make unique financial decisions, especially as they weather the financial instability caused by the pandemic, and we are proud to have helped more than 1,000 New Yorkers through EmpoweredNYC,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Peter A. Hatch, in a statement. “Everyone should have the opportunity to be financially stable and we’re here with support tailored to the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities and their families to better manage their finances.”