Financial capability and asset building for people with disabilities
McGarity, Stephen Vandiver
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In the United States, one in five people live with some sort of disabling condition. In addition to the possibility of facing difficulties in daily living activities, many of these individuals also experience barriers to financial inclusion, such as limited access to checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit. Moreover, people with disabilities are five times more likely to experience poverty than people without disabilities, thus placing them at greater risk for marginalization. The central purpose of this dissertation was to examine policies, interventions, and factors that impact the financial well-being of this population at the individual, institutional, and community levels. Chapter 2 used a value-critical policy analysis framework to examine the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, a recent U.S. policy aimed at increasing assets among people with disabilities. The goal of this analysis was to identify key underlying values of this policy and provide practical recommendations about how to better achieve its intended goals. Chapter 3 used a path analysis to test Sherraden’s (2013) theoretical model for building financial capability within a nationally representative sample of people with disabilities. The purpose of the study in this chapter was to assess the influence of individual and institutional level factors of financial capability among a sample of people with disabilities in an effort to better inform the extant financial well-being literature. Results showed that variables of financial literacy (i.e., financial knowledge and financial skills) and variables of access (checking, savings, and credit) increase financial well-being among people with disabilities. Chapter 4 used logistic regression to examine individual and institutional level factors that might impact alternative financial service use among two samples—a nationally representative sample of working age adults and a sub-sample of people with disabilities. The purpose of the study in this chapter was to determine which factors were most likely to influence individuals to seek out non-bank financial services. Results showed that people with disabilities were twice as likely to use alternative financial services than people without disabilities. Additionally, various socio-demographic variables, variables of access, and financial literacy were identified as significant predictors of alternative financial service use.