EmpoweredNYC Launches City's First Citywide Public Awareness Campaign for People with Disabilities

October 7, 2019

In Celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, City Collaboration with Citi Community Development and National Disabilities Institute Raises Awareness of EmpoweredNYC’s Free Financial Counseling for People with Disabilities and Their Families

NEW YORK, NY – EmpoweredNYC, a collaboration of City agencies and non-profit organizations supported by Citi Community Development dedicated to enabling New Yorkers with disabilities to build a stronger financial future for themselves and their families, today announced the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of free financial counseling tailored to people with disabilities and their families. EmpoweredNYC counselors have more than 100 hours of specialized training to help people with disabilities to manage their budgets, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, tackle Social Security Administration (SSA) overpayments, and transition to work. Campaign ads are running on targeted bus shelters, LinkNYC kiosks, in newspapers, and online.

Ad of woman in wheelchair with text I'm able to do more. Now my budget is under control
Ad of woman with dog with text I'm able to do more. My new business is taking off
Ad of man in wheelchair with text I'm able to do more. Now I have my own place
Ad of woman receiving financial counseling with text I'm able to do more. One-on-One counseling tailored to me

“I’m proud that New York City continues to be a leading voice and example for such impactful work. It is critical that vulnerable New Yorkers are given equal opportunities to financial stability,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. “EmpoweredNYC has impacted families across New York City since its inception and I look forward to seeing its continued progress.”

“People with disabilities have to make unique financial decisions and EmpoweredNYC has already helped hundreds of people with disabilities in their journey to financial independence—and we look forward to helping even more with this campaign,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Everyone should have the opportunity to be financially stable and we’re here to assist New Yorkers with disabilities and their families to better manage their finances.”

“Featuring people with disabilities in this groundbreaking citywide campaign will increase awareness of the diverse array of financial situations that people with disabilities face,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor;’s Office for People with Disabilities. “EmpoweredNYC is a powerful resource equipped to educate the nearly 1 million people with disabilities living in New York City. MOPD is proud to be a part of this initiative and looks forward to spreading the word on the benefits of this unique service.”

“People with disabilities often face a unique set of challenges to achieving financial stability and independence,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “By providing personalized financial counseling services that better meet the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities across all five boroughs, EmpoweredNYC is helping to expand financial inclusion and resilience for people with disabilities.”

“The launch of this campaign is an important step in strengthening the financial stability and security of New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute. “The EmpoweredNYC financial counseling program is equipping New Yorkers with disabilities with accurate information and expert advice so they can make informed decisions regarding managing their money, transitioning to work, tackling debt, increasing savings and building credit. Financial empowerment is a crucial component to achieve better financial health and well-being.”

“The freedom of financial stability can be life changing, and all New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to build financial independence for themselves,” Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.“The Mayor’s Fund is proud to use the power of partnerships to provide New Yorkers who have disabilities with the tools they need to make informed decisions and build financially sound futures.”

“NYLAG financial counselors serve over 3,000 clients a year, including people living with a disability. We aim to work collaboratively with our clients to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their loved ones. We have helped clients open ABLE accounts, reduce SSDI/SSI overpayment, and counseled those who are able to return to work. Time and time again we have seen that with the right support, encouragement, and information, our clients with disabilities can overcome enormous financial challenges in order to thrive in their own lives. We are grateful to MOPD, DCWP, EmpoweredNYC and its partners, and DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas for investing in communities with disabilities. We look forward to continuing this critical work and helping even more individuals and families,” said Beth Goldman, President & Attorney-in-Charge at New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG).

“Ariva has been delighted to work with our colleagues at NYLAG to provide financial counseling through EmpoweredNYC. The City of New York has for many years supported free financial counseling programs for NYC residents. It has been impressive to see these programs grow to serve, not only the general public, but to provide tailored programs to people with particular needs: immigrants, microentrepreneurs and many others. The EmpoweredNYC program further expands the reach and effectiveness of the City-sponsored financial capabilities services. Working on this project has brought new skills and capacity to Ariva’s own financial counseling staff and it will enable us to better serve people with disabilities in all of our programs,” said Irene Baldwin, Executive Director, Ariva.

More than 50 million people live with a disability in the U.S., and 25 percent of households include a child or an adult with a disability. Nearly one million people in New York City live with a disability, a group comprising 12 percent of the city’s population. New Yorkers with disabilities are twice as likely to be living in poverty as those without disabilities.

For more information about EmpoweredNYC or to schedule an appointment today, visit nyc.gov/EmpoweredNYC, call 311, or call 646-396-5830 for ASL Direct via video phone.

Co-developed and supported by Citi, EmpoweredNYC is a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), National Disability Institute (NDI) and the Mayors Fund to Advance New York City. It is the first local program of Empowered Cities, a national public/private initiative to expand financial empowerment and economic inclusion for people with disabilities and their families
Abigail Lootens | Melissa Barosy

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