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Budgeting on Disability: Disability and the Costs Related to It

Many people experience a medical crisis that can be short-term or long-term. A surgery that you will recover from is a short-term medical event, while an accident that leaves you paralyzed is long-term. Most people don’t realize that something could happen to them, so they don’t plan ahead for disability. Budgeting for a disability can be difficult because you never know what kind of sudden event could happen. However, long-term disability comes with numerous expenses that many people don’t think through. Learning to manage your resources can be difficult especially if your disability makes it impossible for you to work or to work in your previous career field. Learn about different aspects of disability and some of the costs associated with it.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability

When it comes to working benefits, there is a distinction between short-term and long-term disability. The main difference is that short-term benefits last for around 8-12 weeks, whereas long-term disability coverage extends beyond that, sometimes for years. Most people start out on short-term disability and will move to long-term coverage until the issue is resolved and they can return to work, or until the disability is considered permanent.

Add The Money You Have Coming In

When you’re managing your disability, it’s important to know how much money you have coming in and where it’s going. The first step of budgeting for a disability is figuring out how much money you need to save, how much money you need for emergencies, and what bills are due. Most people with disabilities don’t get enough money from their disability benefits to cover all their expenses without having any other income sources as well.

Some people with disabilities can still work part-time in certain roles which can improve their overall financial situation. Check to see if your employer has benefits. If your employer offers a group disability plan through their employee benefits package, then you may qualify for long-term benefits through them.  

Apply for Benefits

Once it’s determined that your disability is permanent, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance payments. If you want to know how to calculate them, there are plenty of resources online to help. You’ll want to make sure that all your previous jobs show up on your Social Security documentation to ensure that you get the maximum benefits available to you. Once you apply for benefits, you may be denied even if you qualify. It’s best to apply again and contest the initial ruling. You may even need to hire legal help to expedite the process. You may even qualify for other benefits like Medicare or Medicaid or even a prescription drug program.

Move to a More Accessible Home

While some disabilities are considered “silent” because people don’t “look” disabled, others cause significant mobility issues that may require a more accessible home. This could look like downsizing to a smaller home or apartment, purchasing a home with lower maintenance yard requirements, and even adding accessibility upgrades like a ramp or railings. Accessibility is crucial to people who have disabilities. The expense of making these upgrades or moving to a more suitable place is not something that most people consider or budget for.

Medical costs

When you’re disabled, you might need to pay for medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or special beds; you might need to pay for medical care, such as therapy sessions and doctor visits; and you might need to pay for medical supplies like bandages and casts. Additionally, there are other costs associated with being disabled that aren’t strictly related to your health—like transportation needs or insurance premiums. Be sure to incorporate your portion of these costs into your budget.

Transportation

Whether you need a specialized vehicle so you can continue to drive or you need busing services to help you get out, transportation is an added cost for people on disability. They often need more reliable options because if they break down, they aren’t able to walk to get help when needed. They may even need to rely on family and friends for rides. This can limit work opportunities for a part-time job because they can’t take themselves to their job. It’s best to account for these expenses in your budget when you’re on disability.

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