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Thought Leadership Thursday

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Colleen Davis

Thought Leadership Thursday Article

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
March 16, 2023
State Treasurer

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you’ll take some time to join me in recognizing this month as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. While it’s something we should all do all year long, March highlights the need to both applaud and help enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

I am proud to say that we here in Delaware, along with many of you around the country, do that consistently through our outreach around ABLE accounts.

As more and more businesses see past disabilities and focus on the abilities people can bring to the job, ABLE accounts become vital tools for these employees as they begin to collect a hard-earned salary.

Far too many people make the choice to not work because of their reliance on means-tested benefits. While shortages in the workforce continue to impede so many businesses, increased awareness of ABLE accounts and how they can protect assets for this population is a win-win for potential employees and employers.

At Delaware’s LIFE Conference in January, I was part of a panel that examined how ABLE accounts are an important element of financial planning.

We also had the opportunity to distribute information about our DEPENDABLEprogram to everyone in attendance at the graduation ceremony for the inaugural class of The Kitchen School, a free 12-week program of the Food Bank of Delaware, offering specialized training to provide employment opportunities in the food and hospitality industries for adults with disabilities.

And I was honored to join with NAST and ABLE today to participate in the live webinaraimed to help promote ABLE accounts to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Thanks to the passage of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, come 2026 more than 6 million additional people, including an estimated 1 million veterans will be eligible to open ABLE accounts. That makes our outreach responsibility even more important.

ABLE provides not only financial independence but true-life independence, as well. People need to know that they are in charge of their own finances and their own financial decisions. Managing the funds in their ABLE account provides independence and makes them less reliant on others for assistance.

When President Reagan first proclaimed March as Disability Awareness Month in 1987, his goal was to "increase public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities" and provide them with "the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential."

There is no limit on what people with disabilities can do so there shouldn’t be limits on how they can save for the future.


Colleen Davis
Delaware State Treasurer

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