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Seattle, Washington
 
 

Contact Information

If you, your business, or organization are interested in becoming a part of the Disability Initiative Workgroup, please contact Ed Ryan of Cares of Washington at [email protected]   .

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

 
  
 
Disability Initiative Workgroup

CARES of Washington, which provides employment assistance and support on the path to self-sufficiency for people with disabilities and those with very low incomes is participating in the AmeriCorps Financial Support Services is a national AmeriCorps program administered by the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation of Wichita. 

As part of our AmeriCorps program goals, we aim to complete 330 tax returns, and we anticipate surpassing this goal. We plan to provide tax services for CARES clients and other people with disabilities. CARES serves over 50 individuals with developmental disabilities in King County and over 200 people with developmental disabilities across all CARES offices. Our services are also offered to clients’ families.

We will reach other people with disabilities through our partnership with the local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) coalition and our partnerships with other organizations. The local VITA coalition is led by United Way of King County (UWKC), which provides VITA training and logistic support. We have made arrangements to use existing VITA sites when they are not otherwise being used, and we market these times/locations for people with disabilities.

In addition to offering tax assistance at existing VITA sites, we also offer “roving” tax assistance as an accommodation for people with disabilities. We can meet taxpayers at their homes, places of employment, or at community locations (i.e., libraries). We will also provide tax assistance at residential communities for people with disabilities. For example, we already offer workshops for residents of Parkview Services, which provides and supports affordable housing and home-buying opportunities for people with disabilities. In addition to our continued workshops with Parkview Services, we will offer tax assistance for their clients and residents.

We offer financial education workshops using the FDIC Money Smart curriculum. These workshops are open to anyone in the community, with outreach aimed at people with disabilities. At these workshops, we promote our tax assistance services and discuss issues related to taxes, such as tax credits and how to plan for an EITC refund.

At our VITA sites, we plan to offer informal financial workshops for people who are waiting to have their taxes prepared. Topics will include banking, budgeting, and planning with a (large) tax refund. In particular, we will give information about the new option to receive a tax refund via a savings bond. This new option for receiving a refund is a great step toward building financial assets.

We will enhance and expand the VITA coalition in Seattle and King County by marketing VITA sites specifically to individuals with disabilities and their families and training a subset of VITA volunteers in disability benefits counseling, and reaching out to new partners.  CARES of Washington is a member of the Seattle-King County Asset Building Coalition, which represents 70 members including financial institutions, community action and social agencies, government agencies, foundations, and advocacy groups. We are the first member to offer financial literacy workshops specifically for people with disabilities and their families, and we are the first organization in Seattle-King County to offer tax assistance specifically for tax payers with disabilities.  We are also trying to set up relationships with AbilityOne contractors in the area in order to provide tax assistance to their employees. The AbilityOne Program is a federal initiative to help people with severe disabilities find employment with agencies that provide products and/or services to the U. S. government. We expect to meet thousands of potential clients through AbilityOne programs.