Did you know that individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely than those without disabilities to experience financial hardship and homelessness? According to the 2022 ALICE: Disabilities Report, 43% of Washington State residents with disabilities are living in households with income that falls below the ALICE threshold – the threshold needed to cover the basic costs of a household budget. Individuals with disabilities are twice as likely to struggle to find work and 3x more likely to be out of the workforce entirely. So why is that?

Monthly earning caps, asset limits, and issues of accessibility are some of the most imposing factors that bar people with disabilities from becoming financially stable.

Programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide benefits and monthly payments to support those with disabilities. While these programs are designed to be helpful, they also restrict the amount of money individuals can make each month and how much someone can put into savings. In 2023, the earnings cap to qualify for SSI is set at $1,470 ($2,460 if you are blind) a month. If an individual who is disabled makes more than that amount monthly, their benefits reduce or stop.

Since 1990, progress has been made to create more equitable working and living conditions for those with disabilities through of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. And yet there are still stark differences in areas such as pay and accessibility that can prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in society. Individuals with disabilities nationwide can be legally paid less than minimum wage through 14(c) waivers. Other individuals with disabilities face discrimination in other ways, some as disheartening as physically not being able to enter a building because it lacks a disability-friendly entrance.

  • Read this fact sheet from the White House on developing a more disability inclusive democracy.

  • This briefing from the American Association of People with Disabilities explains why equity in transportation for people with disabilities matters.

  • This article, “There Is No Justice That Neglects Disability,” by U.S. Rep Ayanna Pressley and Rebecca Cokley of the Ford Foundation explains why disability justice must be a part of every policy discussion in order to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Watch this TEDx Talk to hear disability rights activist Judith Heumann speak on the fight for disability rights. Heumann was a leader in disability rights activism and considered by many to be the “Mother of the Disability Rights Movement.” She recently passed away in March of this year. (21:15 mins)

  • Watch this video to hear advocate Alycia Anderson speak from the TED stage on disabling ableism and the importance of inclusion. (16:30 mins)