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A fundamental human right that many of us take for granted is the ability to make choices based on our own interests and values. This ability is known as self-determination. People who are self-determined have the agency to make decisions, direct their own paths, take risks, set goals, and advocate for themselves. 

One of the most important outcomes of self-determination is a higher quality of life. Indeed, research links this characteristic to health benefits, greater independence, decreased likelihood of abuse, positive education and employment outcomes, and greater connection to one’s community.

In recent decades, the promotion of self-determination has become a key priority for individuals and organizations involved in disability advocacy and services. The self-determination movement hinges on the belief that all people – regardless of ability – have the right to exercise control over their lives and to identify any supports they need to do so.


One strategy for promoting self-determination that is gaining speed is supported decision-making. This is the practice by which individuals with disabilities identify trusted supporters – family members, friends, or professionals – to assist in the decision-making process. This may be done formally, through written agreements, or informally. Supporters can answer questions, conduct research, frame choices, weigh options, and help communicate a decision. However, the individual himself retains the ultimate power to choose.

This strategy may seem a lot like something we all do – ask loved ones for help when making important decisions. And it is! But in the context of promoting more independent, fulfilling lives for individuals with disabilities, the impact can be profound.

How True Link can help

True Link offers individuals the ability to choose what level of support is needed when using the True Link Card. Cards can be set up to provide a trusted supporter with read-only access, shared access, or full access to administrator controls.

  • Read-only access: The supporter is able to view transaction history, balance, and card settings, but cannot change card settings.
  • Shared access: The supporter and the cardholder are both able to make changes to card settings.
  • Full access: The supporter alone is able to make changes to card settings. The cardholder is able to view transaction history, balance, and card settings.

This range of access allows individuals to get the right level of support for their unique situation. If things change, no problem. The support settings can change too.

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Financial tools can better support self-determination. We partnered with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Quality Trust to ask adults with disabilities: What are your needs around money management?
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