American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 46, Issue 3–4, pp 376–385 | Cite as

Poverty Among Adults with Disabilities: Barriers to Promoting Asset Accumulation in Individual Development Accounts

  • Michal Soffer
  • Katherine E. McDonald
  • Peter Blanck
Original paper

Abstract

Adults with disabilities disproportionally experience poverty. We examine one novel strategy to promote economic well-being among adults with disabilities living in or near poverty, namely Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). IDAs are designed to help individuals save money and subsequently accumulate assets. Although adults with disabilities account for the majority of IDA participants, scant attention has been paid to their IDA saving performance. We describe the significance of accumulating assets, particularly as it relates to adults with disabilities. We then map the nature of IDA programs and analyze barriers to participation in IDAs and asset accumulation related to conflicting federal policies and a lack of sensitivity to disability-specific needs. We conclude by offering policy recommendations from our analysis, including the need to eliminate the means-tests used in welfare policies, de-linking participation in IDAs from employment status, and involving people with disabilities in designing and evaluating asset accumulation policies and programs.

Keywords

Poverty Asset accumulation Individual development accounts People with disabilities 

References

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A).Google Scholar
  2. Balcazar, F. E., Keys, C. B., Kaplan, D. L., & Suarez-Balcazar, Y. (1998). Participatory action research and people with disabilities: Principles and challenges. Canadian Journal of Rehabilitation, 12(2), 105–112.Google Scholar
  3. Baldwin, M. L., & Johnson, W. G. (2006a). Dispelling the myths about work disability. In T. Thomason, J. F. Burton, & D. E. Hyatt (Eds.), New approaches to disability in the workplace (pp. 39–62). Madison, WI: Industrial Relations Research Association.Google Scholar
  4. Baldwin, M. L., & Johnson, W. G. (2006b). A critical review of studies of discrimination against workers with disabilities. In W. M. Rodgers III (Ed.), Handbook on the economics of discrimination (pp. 119–160). Northampton, MA: Edgar Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  5. Ball, P., Morris, M., Hartnett, J., & Blanck, P. (2006). Breaking the cycle of poverty: Asset accumulation by people with disabilities. Disability Studies Quarterly, 26(1). Retrieved from http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/652/829.
  6. Bernheim, B. D., & Garrett, D. M. (1996). The determinants and consequences of financial education in the workplace: Evidence from a survey of households (working paper no. 96-007). Retrieved from http://www.faircreditfoundation.org/files/71.pdf.
  7. Beverly, S., & Sherraden, M. (1997). Human investment as a social development strategy. Social Development Issues, 19(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
  8. Beverly, S., & Sherraden, M. (1999). Institutional determinants of savings: Implications for low-income households. Journal of Socio-Economics, 28, 457–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beverly, S. G., McBride, A. M., & Schreiner, M. (2003). A framework of asset-accumulation stages and strategies. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 24(2), 143–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beverly, S., Sherraden, M., Zhan, M., Williams Shanks, T. R., Nam, Y., & Cramer, R. (2008). Determinants of asset building: A report in the series poor finances: Assets and low-income households. St. Louis, MO: The Urban Institute, Center for Social Development (CSD) and New America Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. Bickenbach, J. E., Chatterji, S., Badley, T. B., & Ustun, T. B. (1999). Models of disablement, universalism and the international classification of impairments, disabilities and handicaps. Social Science and Medicine, 48, 1173–1187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Bjelland, M. J., Erickson, W. A., & Lee, C. G. (2008). Disability statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics (StatsRRTC).Google Scholar
  13. Blanck, P. (2008). “The right to live in the world”; Disability yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, 13(2), 369–403.Google Scholar
  14. Blanck, P., Hill, E., Siegel, C. D., & Waterstone, M. (2009). Disability civil rights law and policy: Cases and materials (2nd ed.). St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West.Google Scholar
  15. Boddie, S., Sherraden, M., Hoyt, L., Thirupathy, P., Shanks, T., Rice, S., et al. (2004). Family saving and community assets: Designing and implementing family-centered, place-based individual development account programs (CSD Report). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.Google Scholar
  16. Bourguignon, F. (2006). From income to endowments: The difficult task of expanding the income poverty paradigm. In D. B. Grusky (Ed.), Poverty and inequality (pp. 76–102). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Brandt, E., & Pope, A. (1997). Enabling America: Assessing the role of rehabilitation science and engineering. Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  18. Brault, M., Stern, S., & Raglin, D. (2007). Evaluation report covering disability. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from www.census.gov/acs/www/AdvMeth/content_test/P4_Disability.pdf.
  19. Bullock, H. E., Wyche, K. F., & Williams, W. R. (2001). Media images of the poor. Journal of Social Issues, 57(2), 229–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Burkhauser, R. V., & Houtenville, A. J. (2006). A guide to disability statistics from the current population survey—annual social and economic supplement (March CPS). Ithaca, NY: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  21. Carpenter, E. (2008). Major Findings from IDA Research in the United States. St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development. Retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/dept/chepa/HRYANG/publications/109.pdf.
  22. CDEF. (2009). Individual Development Accounts Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.cfed.org/assets/pdfs/IDA_Fact_Sheet_2009_12_12.pdf.
  23. Charlton, J. (1998). Nothing about us without us: Disability oppression and empowerment. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Chiteji, N. S., & Stafford, F. P. (1999). Portfolio choices of parents and their children as young adults: Asset accumulation by African-American families. The American Economic Review, 89(2), 377–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Choudhury, S. (2001/2002). Racial and ethnic differences in wealth and asset choices. Social Security Bulletin, 64(4), 1–15.Google Scholar
  26. Clancy, M., Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Schreiner, M. (2001). Financial education and savings outcomes in individual development accounts (working paper no. 01–2). St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.Google Scholar
  27. Clapton, J. (2003). Tragedy and catastrophe: Contentious discourses of ethics and disability. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47(7), 540–547.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. DeJong, G., Palsbo, S. E., Beatty, P. W., Jones, G. C., & Neri, M. T. (2002). The organization and financing of health services for persons with disabilities: Assessing the field of disability research. The Milbank Quarterly, 80(2), 261–302.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. DeLeire, T. (2000). The wage and employment effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Journal of Human Resources, 35(4), 693–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Edwards, K. (2005). Temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) and individuals development accounts (IDAs): A good match? CSD Policy Report 05-02. St. Louis, MO: Washington University Center for Social Development. Retrieved from http://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/PR05-02.pdf.
  31. Erickson, W., & Lee, C. (2008). 2007 Disability status report: United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics.Google Scholar
  32. Fremstad, S. (2009). Half in ten: Why taking disability into account is essential to reducing income poverty and expanding economic inclusion. Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
  33. Goodman, N. J., & Stapleton, D. C. (2007). Federal program expenditures for working-age people with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 18(2), 66–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Grinstein-Weiss, M., Irish, K., Parish, S. L., & Wagner, K. M. (2007). Using individual development accounts to save for a home: Are there differences by race? Social Service Review, December, 657–681.Google Scholar
  35. Hahn, H. (1993). The political implications of disability definitions and data. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 4(2), 41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hale, T., Hayghe, H., & McNeil, J. (1998). Persons with disabilities: Labor market activity, 1994. Monthly Labor Review, 121(9), 1–12.Google Scholar
  37. Han, C. K., Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Sherraden, M. (2009). Assets beyond savings in individual development accounts. Social Service Review, June, 221–244.Google Scholar
  38. Harrison, V., Ratigan, T., & Apfel, D. (2008). Community development credit unions: The bridge to financial freedom for people living with disabilities. In A progress report for individuals with disabilities and their families in America (pp. 99–108). Retrieved from http://www.ndi-inc.org/docs/building_better_future.pdf.
  39. Hartnett, J. (1999). Toward a philosophy of difference: An analysis of Vermont’s obligation to establish entitlement for adults with developmental disabilities. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont.Google Scholar
  40. Hartnett, J., & Blanck, P. (2003). Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and disability. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center.Google Scholar
  41. Hartnett, J., Mendelsohn, S., & Morris, M. (2008). Disability and economic inclusion: Democratic principles and promises. In A progress report for individuals with disabilities and their families in America (pp. 13–18). Retrieved from http://www.ndi-inc.org/docs/building_better_future.pdf.
  42. Haveman, R., & Wolff, E. N. (2004). The concept, measurement of asset poverty: Levels, trends, composition for the U.S., 1983–2001. Journal of Economic Inequality, 2, 145–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Johnson, C. (2000). Welfare reform and asset accumulation: First we need a bed and a car. Wisconsin Law Review, 6, 1221–1290.Google Scholar
  44. Kruse, D., & Schur, L. (2003). Employment of people with disabilities following the ADA. Industrial Relations, 42(1), 31–66.Google Scholar
  45. Law, Health Policy & Disability Center. (2002). Asset development proposal. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa, Law, Health Policy and Disability Center. Retrieved from http://disability.law.uiowa.edu/lhpdc/projects/assetdevtaxpol.html.
  46. Levitas, R. (1998). The Inclusive Society? Social Exclusion and New Labor. London, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  47. Leydorf, D., & Kaplan, D. (2001). Use of individual development accounts by people with disabilities: Barriers and solutions. Retrieved from http://www.wid.org/publications/use-of-individual-development-accounts-by-people-with-disabilities-barriers-and-solutions/?searchterm=INDIVIDUAL%20DEVELOPMENT.
  48. Livermore, G., Stapleton, D., & Roche, A. (2009). Work activity and use of employment supports under the original ticket to work regulations characteristics, employment, and sources of support among working-age SSI and DI beneficiaries. Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.Google Scholar
  49. Logue, L. & Blanck, P. (2010). Race, ethnicity, and disability: Veterans and benefits in post-civil war America. (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  50. Lombe, M., Huang, J., Putnam, M., & Cooney, K. (2008). Exploring saving performance in an IDA for people with disabilities. CSD Working Papers No. 0827.St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development. Retrieved from http://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/WP08-27.pdf.
  51. Magaña, S., Parish, S. L., & Cassiman, S. A. (2008). Policy Lessons from low-income mothers with disabilities. Journal of Women Politics & Policy, 29(2), 181–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Markesich, J., Cashion, J., & Bleeke, M. (2006). Surveying persons with disabilities: A source guide. Ithaca, NY: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Demographics and Statistics, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  53. McColl, M., & Shortt, S. (2006). Another way to look at high service utilization: The contribution of disability. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 11(2), 74–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McNeil, J. (2001). Current population reports: Household economic studies, Americans with disabilities, (No. 1997). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/p70-73.pdf.
  55. Mendelsohn, S. (2006). Role of the tax code in asset development for people with disabilities. Disability Studies Quarterly, 26(1). Retrieved from www.dsq-sds.org.
  56. Morris, M. (2008). Building a better economic future: A Progress report for individuals with disabilities & their families in America. Manchester, NH: Community Economic Development Press.Google Scholar
  57. Nagi, S. (1991). Disability in America: Toward a national agenda for prevention. In A. M. Pope & A. R. Tarlov (Eds.), Disability concepts revisited: Implications for prevention (pp. 309–372). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  58. Nam, Y. (2008). Welfare reform and asset accumulation: Asset limit changes, financial assets, and vehicle ownership. Social Science Quarterly, 89(1), 133–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. National Council on Disability (NCD). (2008a). The state of 21st century financial incentives for Americans with disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2008/pdf/FinancialIncentives.pdf.
  60. National Council on Disability (NCD). (2008b). National disability policy: A progress report. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2008/Revised_NationalDisabilityPolicy_ProgressReport.html.
  61. National Organization on Disability (NOD). (2004). Landmark disability survey finds pervasive disadvantages: 2004 N.O.D./Harris Survey documents trends impacting 54 million Americans. Retrieved from http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2008/pdf/Indicators_Report.pdf.
  62. Newman, L., Wagner, M., Cameto, R., & Knokey, A. M. (2009). The post-high school outcomes of youth with disabilities up to 4 years after high school: A report of findings from the National longitudinal transition Study-2 (NLTS2). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.Google Scholar
  63. Oliver, M. L. (2001). Foreword. In T. M. Shapiro & E. N. Wolff (Eds.), Assets for the Poor: The benefits of spreading asset ownership (pp. xi–xiv). New York, NY: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  64. Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (1995). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. New York, NY: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  65. Page-Adams, D., & Sherraden, M. (1997). Asset building as a community revitalization strategy. Social Work, 42(5), 423–434.Google Scholar
  66. Parish, S. L., Grinstein-Weiss, M., Yeo, Y. H., Rose, R. A., & Rimmerman, A. (2010). Assets and income: Disability-based disparities in the United States. Social Work Research, 34(2), 71–82.Google Scholar
  67. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. § 1305 et seq. (1996).Google Scholar
  68. Pledger, C. (2003). Discourse on disability and rehabilitation issues: Opportunities for psychology. American Psychologist, 58, 279–284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Rand, D. (2007). Reforming state rules on asset limits: How to remove barriers to saving and asset accumulation in public benefit programs. Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, 40(11–12), 625–636.Google Scholar
  70. Rioux, M. H. (1997). Disability: The place of judgment in a world of fact. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 41, 102–111.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Rohe, W. M., Gorham, L. S., & Quercia, R. G. (2005). Individual development accounts: Participants’ characteristics and success. Journal of Urban Affairs, 27(5), 503–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Russell, M. (2002). What disability civil rights cannot do: Employment and political economy. Disability & Society, 17(2), 117–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schreiner, M. (2005). Match rates, individual development accounts, and saving by the poor. Journal of Income Distribution, 13(3–4), 112–129.Google Scholar
  74. Schreiner, M., & Sherraden, M. (2007). Can the poor save?: Saving and asset building in individual development accounts. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishing.Google Scholar
  75. Schreiner, M., Sherraden, M., Clancy, M., Johnson, L., Curley, J., Zhan, M., et al. (2005). Assets and the poor: Evidence from individual development account. In M. W. Sherraden (Ed.), Inclusion in the American dream: Assets, poverty, and public policy (pp. 85–214). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Schur, L. (2002). Dead-end jobs or a path to economic well-being? The consequences of non-standard work among people with disabilities. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 20(6), 601–620.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Schur, L., Kruse, D., Blasi, J., & Blanck, P. (2009). Is disability disabling in all workplaces? Disability, workplace disparities, and corporate culture. Industrial Relations, 48(3), 381–410.Google Scholar
  78. Shapiro, J. P. (1993). No pity: People with disabilities forging a new civil rights movement. New York, NY: Times Books.Google Scholar
  79. Shapiro, T. M. (2004). The hidden cost of being African American: How wealth perpetuates inequality. Oxford, UK: University Press.Google Scholar
  80. Shapiro, T. M. (2006). Race, homeownership and wealth. Journal of Law & Policy, 20(53), 53–74.Google Scholar
  81. Sherraden, M. (1988). Rethinking social welfare: Toward assets. Social Policy, 18(3), 37–43.Google Scholar
  82. Sherraden, M. (1990). Stakeholding: Notes on a theory of welfare based on assets. Social Service Review, 64, 580–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sherraden, M. (1991). Assets and the poor: A new American welfare policy. New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  84. Sherraden, M. (2001). Assets and the poor: Implications for individual accounts and social security. Invited Testimony to the President’s Commission on Social Security. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  85. Sherraden, M., Schreiner, M., & Beverly, S. (2003). Income, institutions, and saving performance in individual development accounts. Economic Development Quarterly, 17, 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Social Security Administration. (2009). Social Security Online: Research, Statistics, & Policy Analysis Data. Annual Statistical Report on Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2008/index.html.
  87. Soffer, M., & Ben-Arieh, A. (in press). School-aged children as sources of information about their lives. In A. Ben-Arieh, J. Cashmore, G. Goodman, & G. B., Melton (Eds.), Handbook of child research. London, UK: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  88. Stapleton, D. C., & Burkhauser, R. (Eds.), (2003). The decline in the employment of people with disabilities: A policy puzzle. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.Google Scholar
  89. Stapleton, D. C., O’Day, B., Livermore, G., & Imparato, I. (2006). Dismantling the poverty trap: Disability policy for the 21st Century. Milbank Quarterly, 84, 701–732.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. Sudman, S., & Kalton, G. (1986). New developments in the sampling of special populations. Annual Review of Sociology, 12, 401–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Labor force statistics from the current population survey: New monthly data series on the employment status of people with a disability. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability.htm.
  92. Ware, N. C., Hopper, K., Tugenberg, T., Dickey, B., & Fisher, F. (2007). Connectedness and citizenship: Redefining social integration. Psychiatric Services, 58(4), 469–474.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. White, G. W., Nary, D. E., & Froehlich, A. K. (2001). Consumers as collaborators in research and action. In C. B. Keys & P. W. Dowrick (Eds.), People with disabilities: Empowerment and community action (pp. 15–34). New York, NY: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  94. Yelin, E., & Trupin, L. (2003). Disability and the characteristics of employment. Monthly Labor Review, May, 20-31.Google Scholar
  95. Zdenek, R. O., & Stein, B. (2003). Recommendations from the field: Individual development accounts as part of a universal asset building system. St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University.Google Scholar
  96. Zhan, M., & Pandey, S. (2004). Economic well-being of single mothers: Work first or postsecondary education? Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 16(3), 87–112.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michal Soffer
    • 1
  • Katherine E. McDonald
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Blanck
    • 1
  1. 1.Burton Blatt InstituteSyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations