For Immediate Release
Berkeley, CA, USA–WID focuses on cutting-edge issues facing people with disabilities. Though our work changes over time, it always remains directly connected to our mission of eliminating barriers to full social integration by increasing employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities.
Proposed initiatives for 2017 include:
EQUITY: Asset Building Strategies for People with Disabilities, A Guide to Financial Empowerment is the first and only wealth-building book specifically targeted toward people with disabilities. With chapters ranging from credit and debt to home-ownership, small business development, and retirement savings, EQUITY provides an asset building overview with specific strategies and opportunities for people with disabilities to build a better financial future.
Disability Benefits (DB101) helps people with disabilities and service providers understand the connections between work and benefits. DB101 will soon expand to serve residents with disabilities in nine states as Kentucky is developed. EDBI’s training and information services build relationships with state partners that bring insight and rich background to WID’s policy initiatives.
The CareerACCESS policy initiative will reform the current Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) in order to significantly increase the employment rate of people with disabilities aged eighteen to thirty. CareerACCESS continues to work toward establishing pilot programs in up to five states. Because these programs will pivot on the idea that disability benefits are offsets to the high costs of disability rather than subsidies for the inability to work, they will provide required support and services for young adults to shape their careers while building assets and retaining disability benefits.
An outgrowth of WID’s work toward passage and now, implementation of the Achieving Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), ABLE101 will join WID’s cast of information tools and critical issue forums. First introduced in 2006 and signed into law in December 2014, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an onset of disability before age twenty-six) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence, and quality of life without endangering government benefits.
As a direct result of WID’s work with the American Red Cross (ARC) and their diversity initiative, the ARC will include a disability education component in all California Disaster Institute training sessions in 2017. WID continues to be involved in training with the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST), which focuses on serving people with disabilities during California-specific disasters.
As climate change moves forward, people with disabilities are arguably the single most vulnerable group worldwide; New Earth Disability (NED) addresses that threat. Started in late 2014, NED investigates how people with disabilities will experience all aspects of climate change, such as extreme weather events, food insecurity, and climate-related migration. It also includes several recommendations for collective actions that will protect the disability community.
This initiative is built on WID’s role as a host organization for fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) and the Community Solutions Program (CSP). WID facilitates opportunities to share best practices, to start dialogues about common issues around disability, and to view the bigger picture of disability worldwide.
WID works to partner with the financial, investment, technology, educational Software, and consulting companies and organizations to expand their ability to provide accessible services to their clients and employees.
In 2017, we will assist nine national conferences with a total attendance of more than 10,000 people. Our goal is to make these conferences accessible and relevant for people with disabilities while also educating the conference organizers about disability barriers and accommodations.
Technology Usability Project (TUP)
In 2017, we will continue to focus on website accessibility, mobile phone and tablet usability, and signage review and evaluation in order to provide information to developers, distributors, and users and in order to further inform WID’s research on accessibility and usability of products.
International Outreach Project
The International Outreach Project will work with NGOs to provide essential services in developing and conflict-ridden countries to build into NGO services policies and practices that include individuals with disabilities. WID focuses particularly on services related to leadership and management of Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPOs), climate change, peace-building, and employment.
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