Disability, Poverty do You have to Choose?

It’s easy to become discouraged when we, as a collective body of advocates for economic equality for individuals with disabilities, read the current statistics regarding their employment, benefits, and government supports – or lack thereof. The closing of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Federal Employment Guidance Services not only minimizes resources for individuals with disabilities but for thousands of others who are economically disadvantaged. It’s pretty hard to swallow when, in fact, we have first-hand experience in the benefit of supports to help inform and engage individuals who need a hand up, not a hand out.

At The Abilities Fund, we experience daily the advances made by the talented entrepreneurs with whom we have the good fortune to serve. People with disabilities are incredibly, naturally entrepreneurial. With a little guidance and a dose of “you need to do this for yourself,” they move ahead at a rate that is impressive, to say the least. Yes, disability remains present. No, it does not impede them. As we always say, the only thing we cannot support at The Abilities Fund is…an infeasible business idea. Success doesn’t have a thing to do with disability and disability doesn’t have to prevent success.

In a blog from our friends at RespectAbility.org, ‘Painful Lessons about Poverty and Disability,’ Executive Director Jennifer Laslo Mizrahi reviews the sad truth about the impact of closing the doors on FEGS. As you read, keep in mind the number of Americans who will lose what is one of the best resources we have in the US not to mention the thousands of people who will become unemployed. We can’t overlook the 2,000 volunteers that have invested their time and talent to keep FEGS’ services at a level of quality that is off the charts. All in all, it is a hit that will be hard to take.

Yes, it’s easy to become discouraged – but we are trying to use that negative energy to fuel positive activism. At The Abilities Fund, we are committed to the economic advancement of people with disabilities and devoted to the fullest expression of their entrepreneurial spirit in all its diversity, strength and boundless originality. It’s who we are.

Thank you, RespectAbility.org, for keeping us informed.

Patti Lind
Executive Director
The Abilities Fund