Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

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Savings Guide for People with Disabilities –

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.

There’s one thing we know for sure: people like Jon Morrow , Joni Eareckson Tada , Stephen Hawking , and so many others, prove that a disability doesn’t mean “incapable.” Not by a long shot.

Savings Guide

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

Prevalence 12.6%


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

Employment Rate 34.2%

Employment Rate:

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)

Annual Earnings $38,300

Annual Earnings:

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

Annual Household Income $39,400

Annual 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).

Poverty 14.8%


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% (

Educational Attainment 20.9%

Educational Attainment:

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%)

Educational Attainment 13.5%

Educational Attainment:

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

Always Ask

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

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.

Income vs. expenses

After diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis

Income vs Expenses

Features of Discounts for People with Disabilities: You can search by U.S. state and county to find special offers close to you. Categories included are extensive.

Here are just a few of the types of discounts listed:

Assistive technology discounts

Banking services special offers

Education discounts

Health care supplies at reduced rates

Prescription plans for discounted medicine

Tax breaks for disabled people

Transportation help and rides for those with disabilities

And more…

Be advised that not all (or even most) of the offers you will find on this website are free.

Many, however, are low-cost or tied to another program that will help with a purchase. Use the search feature there as a way to open your eyes to the potential.

This site is a clearinghouse for information on programs and services available via the U.S. federal government to those with disabilities.

Here are the categories covered:

Benefits for people with disabilities

Civil Rights and those with disabilities

Community Life – includes information about financial help, independent living, personal assistants for people with a disability, community-based help, and more.

Educational Assistance for students with disabilities

Employment Opportunities for those who have disabilities

Health, Housing, and Transportation assistance for those with disabilities

Emergency Preparedness, Technology, and Accessibility

Check the quick links section,

"U.S. Department of Labor — ODEP – Office of Disability Employment Policy – Disability Resources"

Invisible Disabilities Association

Not all disabilities are obvious.

Some suffer from mental disorders, learning disabilities, and other maladies that are often “hidden.”

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),

anyone who “has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment” qualifies for benefits under the act.

Accordingly, the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) seeks to reach and educate those who may not realize their rights and the potential benefits available to them. While the IDA doesn’t list specific discounts or special purchasing offers for individuals with a disability, it is an excellent clearinghouse for information.

Here are the categories covered:

The definition of “invisible disability”

Living with invisible disabilities – encouragement and online resources

Programs for those with disabilities, including the Brain Ideas Symposium

Disability awareness – including a blog and a newsletter

Disability awareness events – seminars, awards ceremonies, other events

Networking and involvement – social media and a support community

The Online Resources section is especially helpful.

From there, you can find discount and benefits information on specific topics: service animals, chemical sensitivities, and benefits in general.

Disabled World

This website is easy to navigate and is an excellent place to keep up-to-date on news related to disabilities. It’s a one-stop shop for information, definitions, and current events.

Here are some of the categories covered:

Disability information – planning guides, books, discrimination, transport services, and more

Assistive technology for those with disabilities – medical devices, lift chairs, biometrics

Communication – chat rooms, dating, VoIP chats, arts and artists

Entertainment for individuals with disabilities – accessible games, competitions, hobbies

Loans for those with disabilities

Health information for extending life and staying in shape

Calculators and charts of value to those with disability

Disabled World offers educational videos, travel information, and more. They provide access to a discount drug card program, Lifeline phone service, disability air travel discounts, and more.

We can’t recommend this website enough – especially for keeping up with developments and new offers or discounts available to those with disabilities.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

This service is a true gem. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1931 to provide access to books for citizens who are blind. Today, the talking books program and braille books library service works through a national library network. You can get them by mail or instant download.

To be eligible for the books, you must be blind, have a significant visual disability, or have physical limitations that require you to use books in braille or audio format.

Other Organizations Serving Those with Disabilities

Other Organizations

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.

Discounts and Special Offers Available to People with Disabilities

Let’s move on, now, to the types of discounts available to those with handicaps or disabilities and list some of the specific offers currently listed, along with links to the organizations or companies that provide them.

These are representative only. There’s no guarantee of how long they will last or whether your current circumstance or location will fit the criteria. Always remember our #1 maxim: It never hurts to ask.

Assistive Technology for Those with Disability

Assistive Technology

It’s important to remember that coupon policies change all the time. When internet coupons first made their appearance, many retailers outright rejected them because they weren’t familiar with them. Soon, they were commonplace and openly accepted.

However, it wasn’t long before abuse set in, and the internet coupon was again subject to scrutiny.

Other times, a retailer’s policy changes more drastically. National discount retailer DollarTree has been in business since the 1980s, but it was only in 2012 that they changed their policy to start accepting manufacturer’s coupons.

Sometimes, special offers aren’t cash discounts – they’re access to tools and special services.

Here are some of our favorites:

Camera Mouse –

A free, downloadable tool from Boston College that serves as a mouse replacement system. It allows you to control your computer by moving your head.

NaturalReader –

This free tool reads the text you enter. You get to choose the voice and language. Paid versions add additional features. The free version allows you to convert text to speech, listen to documents, and listen to webpages.

This link plays a video about the program.

Bookshare –


An online accessible library. This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education. It provides almost half a million titles to anyone in the world with a print disability.

Augsberg College – An excellent clearinghouse for information on assistive technology tools and services.

Caregivers, Healthcare Access, and Financial Help

Financial help

People with disabilities sometimes need ongoing medical care and special help by caregivers.

Here are some of the organizations and resources to help ease the financial burden:

Easterseals provides an array of services to people with disabilities. They can help with in-home caregiver services, adult day services, accessible housing, transportation, and a whole lot more.

Family Caregiver Alliance –

Education for caregivers

and a Caregiver Connect feature that finds resources near you, alerts you to support group available, and provides news about ongoing clinical trials and research.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services –

Provides information on available resources and shows you how to apply for them. Includes information on Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Caring Voice Coalition – Provides outreach programs, education, emotional support, and financial support to those who live with chronic or live-threatening conditions.

Good Days –

Working from the conviction that no one should have to go without necessary medication due to financial lack, Good Days works directly with providers to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. You can apply online for their services.

PAN Foundation –

The Patient Access Network (PAN) is a nonprofit organization devoted to helping underinsured patients cover the costs of medication and treatment. See their application checklist for information.

Educational Assistance for Americans with Disabilities

Educational Assistance

Stephen Hawking may be the best-known example of a person with disabilities who contributes significantly to academia, but many who are chair-bound, blind, paralyzed or have other disabilities refuse to let this hold them back from educational pursuits.

Let’s look at some of the educational discounts and programs available to individuals with disabilities.

Federal Financial Aid –’s Guide to Student Financial Aid brings all the information together in a quick-link section for help with school. You can find out about grants, scholarships, and loans. Special links deliver resources specifically designed for students with disabilities.


Rise Scholarship Foundation

This scholarship foundation serves college-bound high school students who have a learning disability or an ASD diagnosis. The site also provides information on how to choose the college you want to attend, make application to selected colleges, and tips for success with studies.

American Association on Health and Disability –

This nonprofit organization offers special college scholarships to children and adults with disabilities. –

You may qualify for a scholarship or grant reserved exclusively for students with disabilities. This site can help you find them.

Legal Services for Those with Disabilities

Legal Services

Since attorneys must be licensed to practice in your specific U.S. state, legal aid societies are regionally specific. Search on [your state] legal aid to find the office closest to you. People with disabilities can often get pro bono help for legal matters.

Nolo’s article, “When to Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer,”

can help you determine the level of assistance you need.

Tax Help for People with Disabilities

Tax Help

Navigating the tax law can be difficult for anyone. Here are some of the resources that can help people with disabilities determine which tax benefits and rights are available to them:

Internal Revenue Service –

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

Tax preparation can be an unnerving and perplexing process even without a disability. Find out whether you qualify for free tax return preparation here:

IRS Free Tax Perparation .

Services are performed by volunteers.

Another help from the IRS is the Taxpayer Advocate Service .

State Tax Agencies –

State Tax Agencies

Each U.S. State maintains a tax agency to help citizens compute and pay taxes. For special tax discounts in your area, contact the tax division or department of revenue in your state. This list , from the Federation of Tax Administrators will help you find the correct website.

Medical Expenses – IRS Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses) explains benefits for those with physical or mental impairments. Take special note of the section on impairment-related work expenses.

You can download a pdf copy from this webpage. The actual link is titled:

"Publication 502 ."

Directions for downloading:

  1. Highlight the link on the webpage give directly above.

  2. Press the application key or click your eright mouse button.

  3. A. From the keyboard, press shift + tab twice and navigate to where you wish to save the file.

b. Mouse users, navigate to where you wish to to save this file.

  1. Once arriving where this file is to be saved,

a. From the keyboard, press alt + s.

b. Mouse users, click on save.

The section on capital expenses covers home modifications and special equipment.

Tax Credits for Disabled People –

IRS Publication 524 describes qualifications and credits you may be entitled to. Download that publication at this link:

The file is entitled:
IRS 524 .Follow the same directions above to get the file.

Transportation Help


Thanks to smart legislation and companies with a heart, travelers with disabilities are eligible for no-cost accommodations where needed. Airlines, for example, will make sure you get the help you need to board and de-board the plane, get through security, and otherwise navigate traveling proce

Here are some examples of discounts and special services available:


You can expect at least a 15% discount on travel for both you and a companion on America’s rail system. Some routes provide even steeper savings, and children with disabilities get a 65% total discount. There are documentation requirements, so be sure to check with Amtrak before departure.


Seats up front are reserved for people with disabilities, the elderly, and unaccompanied children. Greyhound will also provide assistance getting on and off the bus, help with luggage, and assistance during stops. Be sure to make each driver and personnel at each station aware of your needs.


Travel tips include information on support provided by over 20 major airlines for travelers with disabilities. It’s an excellent resource for browsing through each carrier’s policies, but be sure to go directly to the airline you’ll be traveling with to get the most current and accurate information.

Cruise Critic

provides insider information on the best cruise ships for travelers with disabilities. Apparently, there are no ADA standards specific to cruise ships, so there is a considerable amount of variance in what you can expect onboard. Here again, use this resource as a way to get plenty of information in one place, but always check with the specific cruise line for verification and the most in-depth look at what’s available to you. Celebrity Cruises, for instance, offers CareVacations service to help you plan and enjoy your next cruise.

Local transit authorities will have their own systems in place to help you navigate their systems.

It’s also possible to get special pricing discounts on community transportation. Check with each state or local transit agency for up-to-date information.

Utilities Discounts and Help


Food and shelter are two primary requirements for everyone. There are energy assistance discounts available in every state. Check with your local utility company for information on programs available to you.

Here are some examples:

Energy Assistance:

This page links you to energy assistance programs in every state. From heating bill help to weatherization programs, there are plenty of ways to make sure your home stays warm in the winter and cool during the summer.

Help with Bills:

This page can help you get help paying for your telephone service, cover medical bills, get discounts on home energy, and even get cash advances to help stay afloat financially.

The Lifeline program may even be able to provide a free cell phone so you’re never out of touch.

The Salvation Army may be best known for shelters and food kitchens, but they also provide rent and utility assistance to eligible individuals. Other faith-based programs deliver firewood, help with cleaning and yardwork, and perform other services for people who need the help. The Salvation Army can serve as a clearinghouse for information on programs in your community.

Discounts, Services, and Special Offers Available to People with Disabilities

If there’s one message we want to get delivered with this guide is that discounts, services, and special offers for people with disabilities are widely available. In most cases, though, you need to know about them and/or ask about them.

Few people will approach someone with a disability and say, “Hey, did you know you’re eligible for a special program?” The risk of offending someone is just too big to risk saying something.

Microsoft, for example, goes above and beyond in their desire to employ workers with disabilities. Microsoft success stories abound, yet you generally need to hear about the opportunity in order to take advantage of it.


SeaWorld and other entertainment providers often provide programs to help guests with disabilities avoid long queues for rides and offer discounted admission for these individuals and their assistants – but you have to ask. Call guest services in advance to find out what you’re eligible for. They want you to have fun, and they’ll often go the extra mile to make sure you do.

Managing a disability can be tough, but you don’t have to handle it all by yourself. Plenty of people, programs, and organizations want to help. Your end is let your needs be known. Never feel bad about asking for help. None of us can function well without the love and assistance of others.


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