We've provided our research on special offers and discounts available to senior citizens, women, and veterans, in our series of guides to help you find ways to save money.
In this guide, let's look at ways those with disabilities can stretch their dollars.
As with our other guides, the purpose here is not to portray anyone as “less than” or “needing special help.” For us, the bottom line is “If you can save money, why not do it?”
We just want to make sure you know about the options.
By the numbers
The percentage of non-institutionalized, male or female, all ages, all races, regardless of ethnicity, with all education levels in the United States reported a disability in 2013 = 12.6% of the population or over 312 million people
The percentage of non-institutionalized, male or female, with a disability, ages 18-64, all races, regardless of ethnicity, with all education levels in the United States who were employed in 2013 = 34.2% (7.4% for all working age Americans)
The median annual earnings of non-institutionalized persons aged 21-64 years with a disability in the United States who were working full-time/full-year in 2013 = $38,300
$39,400Annual Household Income:
The median annual household income among households that include any working age (21-64) people with a disability, in the United States in 2013 = $39,400 ($52,789 for all American households in 2013).
The percentage of non-institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability, in the United States who were living below the poverty line in 2013 = 28.2% ... for all Americans, the 2013 poverty rate was 14.8% (http://www.statista.com/)
The 2013 of non-institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability, in the United States whose educational attainment was less than a high school education in 2013 = 20.9% ... (for all Americans that figure moves to 7%)
The 2013 of non-institutionalized persons aged 21 to 64 years with a disability, in the United States whose educational attainment was a BA degree or higher in 2013 = 13.5% ... (31.7% for all Americans)
Discounts, Services, and Special Offers Available to People with Disabilities
Here's a two-word tip that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars every year: Always ask.
Businesses typically instruct their employees to refrain from suggesting discounts. That's not because they don't want you to save money. It's because they don't want to risk offending someone.
Many customers would be glad if a clerk pointed out a senior discount, or “15% off for women on Tuesday” special, but some shoppers would get angry at the suggestion. That's why store workers seldom say anything. In most cases, you need to know in advance about available specials, or you need to ASK.
Asking, by the way, is a simple procedure. You need say nothing more than this: “Hey, do you offer any special discounts that I may be unaware of?”
Businesses love it when the word gets out about their specials. Discounts bring in customers and discounts encourage repeat visits. They WANT you to know. Our aim here is to help them out and alert you to special prices you may be missing out on now.
Organizations that Help People with Disabilities Get Discounts and Special Pricing
Let's begin by reviewing a few of the organizations that advocate for people with disabilities. These groups can provide all kinds of assistance. They can also be an excellent platform for finding opportunities to network with others.
Discounts for People with Disabilities
This site was founded by a couple who totally “understand the financial burden of disabilities.” After Mara was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, their lives changed dramatically. Her income-producing ability decreased, but expenses shot up.
They first discovered a tax discount Mara's disability made them eligible for. That encouraged them to look for other potential savings. They needed every penny they could save.
And once they started looking, they began finding opportunity after opportunity. So they started a website to help others with a disability get help.
Other Organizations Serving Those with Disabilities
Remember to check for organizations focused on your specific disability. From the Alzheimer's Association, to the National Association for the Deaf, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are information and benefits centers that can help.
One more thing. Organizations like the AARP have special sections for people with disability who are also elderly, veterans with disabilities, or women with disabilities. Remember to cross-check the programs where you meet eligibility requirements. Easterseals is another huge help for programs and information.