Executive Director of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, founder and Executive Director of the National Disability Institute
Michael Morris, JD is the founder and Executive Director of the National Disability Institute. He is a former legal counsel to the US Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy and is a key architect of the ABLE Act. He has served as a subject matter expert on financial inclusion and poverty reduction concerning people with disabilities to the FDIC, IRS, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, National Council on Disability and multiple state ABLE programs. He was the first Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellow and worked in the office of Senator Lowell Weicker (CT). Since 2008, Mr. Morris has served as a senior leader of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, providing leading policy expertise on assistive technology, asset development, employment, housing, and long-term services and supports.
Mr. Morris is the co-founder of the Real Economic Impact Tour and Network which, since 2005, has assisted more than 2 million low-income individuals with disabilities access the Earned Income Tax Credit and receive more than $1.8 billion dollars in tax refunds. He received his undergraduate degree in political science with honors from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his law degree from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mr. Morris co-authored two publications for the National Council on Disability: The State of 21st Century Long Term Services and Supports: Financing and Systems Reform for American with Disabilities (2005), and The State of 21st Century Financial Incentives for Americans with Disabilities (2008). He is co-author of Tax Credits and Asset Accumulation: Findings from the 2004 NOD Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities published in Disabilities Studies Quarterly (2005), which reported on research findings from the inaugural Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on Asset Accumulation. In 2014, he co-authored the National Report on the Financial Capability of Adults with Disabilities, based on data analyzed from the FINRA Financial Investment Education Foundation. In 2015 and 2017, he co-authored reports on Banking Status and Financial Behaviors of Adults with Disabilities, based on data analyzed from the FDIC’s National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households.
In 2016, Mr. Morris helped establish the ABLE National Resource Center, a collaborative of 25 of the leading national nonprofit disability organizations. The Center’s website is the leading independent source of information about state ABLE programs and is on pace in 2017 to have one million visitors (www.ablenrc.org). He is the author of a monthly blog on the Huffington Post with a large national audience that presents a unique perspective on disability in America.