Welcome!

News Feed Item

National Disability Institute and IRS Collaboration Results in 1.9 Million People With Disabilities Receiving $1.8 Billion in Tax Refunds

Event Honors Three National Leaders and Explores How Access to Free Volunteer Tax Assistance and Other Asset Building Strategies and Programs Helps Move Americans With Disabilities Toward Greater Financial Capability

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - November 13, 2013) - National Disability Institute and the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Stakeholder Partnership, Education and Communication (SPEC) Division announced today that its nine-year collaboration to provide accessible, free volunteer income tax assistance to people with disabilities has resulted in more than 1.9 million Americans with disabilities moving toward greater financial stability by receiving more than $1.8 billion in tax refunds.

IRS Wage and Investment Deputy Commissioner for Support Debra Holland, IRS Associate Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief of the IRS Disability Office TJ Cannady and other IRS employees joined representatives from National Disability Institute and its public and private partners including Goodwill Industries International and United Way Worldwide at IRS Headquarters in Washington, DC, to kick off the tenth year of a successful partnership that has expanded services to citizens with disabilities by promoting full inclusion and increasing capacities of tax coalitions and asset development groups to better serve people with disabilities at a local, state and national level.

Since National Disability Institute and the IRS joined forces in 2004 to better serve taxpayers with disabilities and engaged more than 900 community tax coalitions, asset development and disability organizations across America, the number of persons with disabilities accessing free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) services and realizing they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as well as other tax credits has more than doubled, from 6 percent to more than 13 percent. As a result of the initiative, taxpayers with disabilities have also saved an estimated $407 million in tax preparer fees.

"As the first national organization dedicated exclusively to the economic empowerment of people with disabilities, National Disability Institute is proud of its partnership with the IRS and the hundreds of government agencies, organizations and businesses across the country who are part of our Real Economic Impact Network and committed to embracing and promoting access to the economic mainstream for Americans with disabilities," said Michael Morris, National Disability Institute's Executive Director. "Of the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities, nearly one in three Americans with disabilities lives in poverty. That's nearly double the national poverty rate and among the highest poverty rate for any underserved population in our country. Increased access to free volunteer tax preparation services and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) eligibility education has helped Americans with disabilities keep more of the money they earn and take important steps toward greater financial capability."

"The IRS appreciates the National Disability Institute and all our partner organizations for reaching out and helping Americans with disabilities through programs like the Real Economic Impact initiative," said Peggy Bogadi, IRS Wage and Investment division commissioner. "This partnership is making a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities by providing access to tools and services such as free tax return preparation and EITC education."

In addition to Holland and Cannady from IRS, and Morris and Dr. Johnette Harnett, Director of Strategy & Research from National Disability Institute, event speakers included representatives from National Disability Institute's non-profit partners in the MyFreeTaxes partnership: Amanda Ponzar, Director of Key Stakeholder Communications at United Way Worldwide, and Kammi Siemens, Program Director of Family Financial Stability for Goodwill Industries International. Hartnett, Ponzar and Siemens provided a 2013 recap and 2014 preview of MyFreeTaxes, a national initiative of Goodwill Industries International, National Disability Institute and United Way Worldwide funded by the Walmart Foundation that provides free federal and state online and in-person tax preparation and filing services to people earning $58,000 or less per year.

In addition to spotlighting National Disability Institute's outreach on behalf of the MyFreeTaxes partnership to expand free tax preparation services to people with and without disabilities in the public workforce system (American Job Centers) and veterans, Hartnett highlighted tools, training and technical assistance provided by National Disability Institute to help tax and asset building coalitions expand their capacity to serve people with disabilities. Tools include a virtual toolkit on serving taxpayers with disabilities, the Tax Access project created with the Southeast ADA Center that provides a hotline and information to VITA coalitions around the country to answer accommodation and other questions confidentially related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a free online training course for VITA volunteers on serving people with disabilities, a series of national webinars, and continued training and technical assistance for tax coalitions nationwide to expand service to taxpayers with disabilities. 

As part of the event, National Disability Institute and IRS convened a federal agency panel of experts to discuss financial stability initiatives impacting people with disabilities at their various organizations. L'Tanya Brooks, IRS Director of Media & Publications, moderated the panel which included Cannady, Chief of the IRS Disability Office; Josh Beck, Attorney Advisor to the National Taxpayer Advocate at IRS's Taxpayer Advocate Service; William F. Russo, Deputy Director, Office of General Counsel Office of Regulation of Policy Management, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; David Sieminski, Policy Analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); and Lekeshia Frasure, Community Affairs Specialist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC).

National Disability Institute honored three national leaders for their commitment and service to advancing the economic self-sufficiency and financial capability of people with disabilities. Disability advocate Madeleine Will was honored with the inaugural Allen Jensen Humanitarian Public Policy Award, given to an honoree who has created effective change for the good of others by identifying gaps in existing policy or services and convening and coordinating partnerships to solve them successfully. The award is named in memory of Allen C. Jensen of the Center for Health Services Research and Policy at George Washington University. As a member of the professional staff of the sub-committee on human resources of the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means, Jensen pioneered policies affecting people with disabilities such as social services programs and the Supplemental Security Income programs.

Will was honored with the Allen Jensen Award for her more than 30 years of advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities and her leadership in establishing services nationally for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, her promotion of inclusion in general education classrooms for students with disabilities and her creation of transition and supported employment programs for students. A former assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education and policy advocate, Will currently serves as the chief policy officer of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD), a coalition of 18 national disability organizations co-founded by her which seeks to modernize the federal adult system of services and supports for persons with disabilities. Will also serves on National Disability Institute's board of directors.

Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, received National Disability Institute's Ron Smith Federal Employee Award, presented annually to a federal employee who works to advance the economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities. Smith, a retired IRS senior manager who built national partnerships between the IRS and community organizations to increase outreach to low-income taxpayers regarding benefits they were entitled to under the tax code, was on hand to present the award named in his honor. Smith serves on National Disability Institute's board of directors.

Olson is the National Taxpayer Advocate, the voice of the taxpayer before the IRS and Congress. She leads the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS. Olson's agency helps taxpayers resolve problems and works for systemic change in the IRS and the U.S. tax code. Olson was honored for her continued advocacy on behalf of taxpayers with disabilities, including her support for increased accessibility to IRS forms and services.

Susan Mazrui, Director of Global Public Policy for AT&T Services, Inc., received National Disability Institute's Richard Keeling Leadership Award, presented annually to a person with a disability that has advanced access to the economic mainstream for people with disabilities on a national and/or local level. The award is named for Richard Keeling, a senior tax analyst at IRS SPEC, who works with the IRS's Taxpayers with Disabilities program that provides increased access to tax information, free tax preparation services and other asset building strategies to advance greater economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

Mazrui was honored for her work on disability-related public policy issues. She continues to advocate on behalf of the needs of people with disabilities in the communications arena and has served two terms on the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee and the national advisory committee for the Telecommunications Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center and the Information and Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC).

National Disability Institute's sponsors the Walmart Foundation, the Bank of America Foundation, Acorda Therapeutics and the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University were also recognized for their support.

"National Disability Institute, IRS and our national and local community partners in the field have helped achieve real economic impact for millions of Americans with disabilities. By providing access to tax preparation savings and valuable credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit that resulted in billions of dollars in refunds in credits for people with disabilities that may have been left on the table without this outreach and education," said Dr. Hartnett, National Disability Institute's Director of Strategy & Research.

In 2014, National Disability Institute will continue to grow its Real Economic Impact Network by expanding its virtual trainings, technical assistance and tools to reach more tax coalitions, asset development, individuals with disabilities, disability organizations and other agencies and groups dedicated to economic empowerment.

For more information on National Disability Institute and the Real Economic Impact Network visit http://www.realeconomicimpact.org.

About National Disability Institute

National Disability Institute (NDI) is national non-profit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities. The first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, National Disability Institute effects change through public education, policy development, training, technical assistance and innovative initiatives. National Disability Institute and its Real Economic Impact (REI) Network have helped nearly 2 million people with disabilities receive more than $1.8 billion in tax refunds and credits. To learn more, visit www.realeconomicimpact.org

The following files are available for download:

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Most of us already know that adopting new cloud applications can boost a business’s productivity by enabling organizations to be more agile and ready to change course in our fast-moving and connected digital world. But the rapid adoption of cloud apps and services also brings with it profound security threats, including visibility and control challenges that aren’t present in traditional on-premises environments. At the same time, the cloud – because of its interconnected, flexible and adaptable...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The bedrock of Secure Channels Technology is a uniquely modified and enhanced process based on superencipherment. Superencipherment is the process of encrypting an already encrypted message one or more times, either using the same or a different algorithm.
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...