Post-Election Results: What the Next Administration Can Do to Support Americans with Disabilities

Collage of 3 photos: staff member Alex presents on ABLE, staff members Tom and Kat meet with a visiting Swedish Delegation, staff members Loretta and Elizabeth pose in front of WID's Disability Concierge DeskAs with many Americans, we at the World Institute on Disability (WID) are concerned with how the 2016 election results will impact the disability community and all diverse communities. Over the past several decades, the progress around the rights of people with disabilities—including increased accessibility of services, improved public accommodations, and recent legislation, such as the ABLE Act, which helps young people with disabilities gain true financial independence and saves taxpayer dollars—has boasted significant milestones for our community nationwide.

We are committed to continuing this progress, and we recognize that there is still much more to be done.  However, we also see that there is constant pressure to roll back many of these advances in disability rights under the assumption that to do so would save money.

Reduction of services, resulting in exclusion of people with disabilities, is extremely costly in financial and human terms. Certain healthcare and benefits proposals can endanger the health, independence, and financial security of people with disabilities. Some broader issues, such as climate change, will have a drastic impact on our community unless people with disabilities are included in the planning and preparation.

We are committed to working with the next administration to support disability rights in all its forms and to prevent any changes that would negatively affect people with disabilities across the U.S. and around the world.

Collage of 3 photos: staff member Bryon presents on DB101, four staff members pose in front of registration desk at Policy Summit, staff member Marsha presents on Disability FEAST website

High priority areas for attention include:

Benefits reform that enables people with disabilities to work while still maintaining benefits to offset the high cost of disability;

Expanded employment opportunities with special attention to ensuring that employees with disabilities are appropriately accommodated and welcomed in the workplace;

Healthcare and personal assistant services that fully support people with disabilities’ health needs, including access to quality affordable medical care; medication and durable medical equipment; and fitness and nutrition resources, all equal to that of other Americans;

Disability discrimination, which must be combated in all its forms, including employment, education, and housing;

Climate change policies that include people with disabilities in planning and preparation; and

Representation by people with disabilities in all aspects of government.

Collage of 3 photos: WID's youngest service dog Alabama, staff member Tom shows two international fellows Muir Woods, WID's retired service dog Carrera

Now more than ever, we hope you will consider supporting our efforts — you can donate via Network for Good as a one-time donation or schedule monthly/quarterly donations.

Also, consider adding WID as your AmazonSmile Charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% to WID on your behalf as you do your holiday shopping this season and all year round. Every gift counts!

Wishing you a a joyful, healthy holiday season and a happy New Year from the WID family!

Nine people with various disabilities stand in front of a disability painting

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Anita Aaron speaks at the 13th Annual Ever Widening Circle event

Save the Date: Critical Issues Forum & Ever Widening Circle Reception 2016

WID is excited to welcome one and all to our annual event, the Critical Issues Forum, at the Ed Roberts Campus October 28, 2016! The topic of the day: ABLE Accounts.

The ABLE Act is the new tax-advantaged savings opportunity that allows eligible persons with disabilities to save up to $100,000 without risking federal disability benefits. Read more about WID’s work with the ABLE Act here.

After the Critical Issues Forum, we will have the Ever Widening Circle Reception, during which we will network and enjoy light refreshments.

If you’d like to join us, RSVP!

Critical Issues Forum

  • ABLE Accounts Informative Session: Learn the nuts and bolts of the 3 currently available national ABLE programs, as well as hear from the director of California’s ABLE and provide your input to help shape the program.
  • ABLE Accounts Interactive Session: With guidance from WID staff members, go through the process of opening an ABLE account in real time and learn about how you can help advocate to improve the ABLE Act through important pending legislation.

Ever Widening Circle Reception

The Ever Widening Circle Reception will allow WID to connect with our supporters and disability community leaders and will create a space for continuing the discussions begun during the forum presentations in a more casual environment.

Be sure to RSVP to WID’s annual event today!

Schedule at a Glance

  • 9:00am-9:30am: registration/check-in (Osher Rooms)
  • 9:30am-11:30am: ABLE Accounts Informative Session
  • 11:30am-1:00pm: Lunch (catered for those who RSVP)
  • 1:00pm-3:30pm: ABLE Accounts Interactive Session
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm: Reception (Ramp Circle)


  • What: Policy Summit and Ever Widening Circle reception
  • When: Friday, October 28, 2016; 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Where: Osher Boardrooms in the Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703; above Ashby BART station)

Don’t forget to RSVP!

Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support of this event: AT&T, Chevron, IBM, JPMorgan Chase & Co., PG&E, and Stanley Yarnell & Victor Rowley (listed in alphabetical order).

AT&T logo Chevron logoIBM logo JPMC logoPG&E logoStanley Yarnell and Victor Rowley logo

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WID Annual Report of 2015


Welcome to the 2015 Annual Report of the World Institute on Disability (WID).

The mission of the World Institute on Disability (WID) in communities and nations worldwide is to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, public education, training and advocacy campaigns; and provides technical assistance. An internationally recognized public policy center founded in 1983, WID’s work focuses on issues that directly affect people’s ability to live independently. A majority of the board of directors and staff are persons with disabilities.

Our 2015 Annual Report is a combination of narrative descriptions of our program initiatives and more detailed video presentations of several of the major initiatives. The report also includes financial information for the 2015 fiscal year. WID works through our board, staff, and community leaders to identify critical issues facing individuals with disabilities, to analyze existing policies and practices related to those issues, and to conduct research and field work to identify new and updated mechanisms to impact the well-being and economic inclusion of all individuals with disabilities.

We hope you find this report useful and informative as we share our work toward access and inclusion for all. Here are our 2015 highlights:


2015 saw the publication of EQUITY: Asset Building Strategies for People with Disabilities, A Guide to Financial Empowerment. Funded in part by a joint project with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), EQUITY is the first and only wealth-building book specifically targeted toward people with disabilities. With chapters ranging from credit and debt to homeownership, 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.

Watch our “WID Report: Equity” for more information:

Employment and Disability Benefits Initiative (EDBI)

Disability Benefits (DB101) helps people with disabilities and service providers understand the connections between work and benefits. DB101 expanded its online presence to serve residents with disabilities in eight states in 2015. Vets101 offers free online career planning tools and information services for veterans, their families, and their circles of support. EDBI is expanding to develop Housing Benefits 101 (HB101) and Achieving a Better Life Experience 101 (ABLE101) in 2016. EDBI’s training and information services build relationships with state partners that bring insight and a 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 18-30. CareerACCESS will establish 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.

Watch our “WID Report: SSDI and CareerACCESS” for more information:


An outgrowth of WID’s work toward passage and now, implementation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), ABLE101 will join WID’s cast of online information tools and calculators. 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 26) 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.

Add Us In (AUI)

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), AUI is designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. Over the past four years, WID and our partners have worked to place many interns at a variety of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) small businesses.

Disability FEAST (Food Education, Access, Support, & Training)

A culmination of 3 years’ worth of research under the NEW DOOR project, Disability FEAST is an online “cookbook plus” for people with disabilities and seniors. WID staff stuffed the site with 50 easy and healthy recipes, plus dozens of tip sheets and links to external resources for shopping, cooking, and eating as a person with a disability.

Watch our “WID Report: Disability FEAST” for more information:

Climate Change and Disaster Preparation

WID staff members currently serve on the American Red Cross (ARC) National Diversity Advisory Council and have worked closely with ARC Disaster Response leaders. As a direct result, ARC will include a disability education component in all California Disaster Institute trainings in 2016. WID is also involved in training with the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST), which focuses on serving people with disabilities during California-specific disasters.

New Earth Disability (NED)

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. The NED initiative also includes several recommendations for collective actions that will protect the disability community.

Watch our “WID Report: New Earth Disability” for more information:

New Leaders Fellowship Initiative

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). WID staff members oversee the fellows’ time at WID, facilitating opportunities to share best practices, to start dialogues about common issues around disability, and to view the bigger picture of disability worldwide.

Watch our “WID Report: Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI)” for more information:

Accessibility Consulting

Over the last six months, WID has secured several new clients and contracts in the financial, investment, technology, educational software, and consulting arenas; WID’s feedback focuses on both accessibility and usability.

Banking/Financial Surveys

In collaboration with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and the Associated Professional Rural Independent Living Centers (APRIL), our Banking and Financial Services Access research project is nearly complete. Research results will be shared at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) National Convention, California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Annual Convention, and Pacific Rim Conference in 2016.

Watch our “WID Report: Grit and Financial Services” for more information:

Conference Accessibility Initiative (CAI)

In 2016, we plan to assist a dozen national conferences with a total attendance of more than 20,000 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)

This year, we will continue to focus on webpage accessibility, mobile phone and tablet usability, and signage review and evaluation in order to provide information to developers, distributors, and users and to further inform WID’s research on accessibility and usability of products.

WID 2015 Finances:


Government Grants and Contracts: 70.83%  $1,248,083
Private Grants and Contracts: 15.36%  $270,671
Foundation and Community Grants: 0.92%  $16,127
Contributions: 9.72%  $171,310
Training and Honorarium Fees: 3.07%  $54,051
Sales and Other: 0.11%  $1,961
Total: $1,762,204

Pie chart of WID's 2015 revenue


Program services: 79.54%  $1,371,101
Management and General: 17.77%  $306,359
Fundraising: 2.69%  46,425
Total: $1,723,885

Pie chart of WID's 2015 expenses

WID 2015 Organizational Documents:

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