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Hartford, Connecticut
 

Contact Information

If you, your business, or organization are interested in becoming a part of the Disability Initiative Workgroup, please contact Lucille Sciafani of Co-opportunity/ Hartford Assest Building Collaborative at [email protected].

If you are already a member of the Disability Initiative Workgroup and have questions regarding the IRS participation, then please contact William Morrow at [email protected].
 
 
 
Disability Initiative Workgroup

The REI Tour workgroup began in 2006 with regular meetings that included the IRS, Hartford Asset Building Collaborative, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS).  The Collaborative has involved the Department of Labor Disability Program Navigator  and Connecticut United Way's 2-1-1 office to help market the VITA services.  Co-opportunity is the lead organization, along with the IRS, the State of Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, Casey Family Services, and the Hartford Public Library.  Sign language interpreters have been on hand to assist hearing impaired taxpayers prepare their tax returns for free and receive other vital services offered through the State of CT.  This was accomplished with the assistance of the REI mini-grant and the cooperation of all of the partners.  We completed income tax returns for approximately 311 tax filers who had a disability or had a member of the family with a disability.  Webster Bank partnered with us so tax filers could open bank accounts at the tax site without requiring a minimum open account balance.

HABC plans to enhance and expand our existing coalition to serve persons with disabilities and their families by recruiting additional representatives to serve on our Disability Service Workgroup.  Co-opportunity is working with Linda Schwartz, the  Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to assist us in getting the word out to the Service Assistants who provide resources and referral for the veterans. We will request the Vets Benefits Express  Van to be present at our VITA site on our Super Saturday.  This mobile veterans’ outreach office is equipped to help veterans apply for state and federal benefits they have earned. Co-opportunity has received funds from the State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education to assist persons with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Millions of people from low and moderate income families struggle to pay for college. But many students who qualify for need-based financial aid do not apply for it.  They either think they aren't eligible or that the form is too complicated.  So this will be a new service that we will be offering on our Super Saturdays.

Another new offering this year will be for tax filers to have the option of putting their refund on a transaction card so they do not have to have their refund mailed to them.  This transaction card is a product  that is beneficial to persons who are unbanked and may not be able to open a traditional bank account.  They will not have to wait 3 - 6 weeks to receive their refund in the mail, instead they can have their refund direct deposited to their transaction card.  They can use their transaction card within the Allpoints ATM network for a low fee of $1.50 or use it as a credit card at retail stores without worrying about overdrafts.