People with disabilities often struggle with money. They can have higher expenses due to medical bills and other needs but often have lower incomes too. This makes managing money hard and means that people with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty than those without a disability. Some groups of people are even more likely to deal with poverty if they have a disability, such as women and people with lower levels of education. If you have a disability of any kind or you know someone who does, knowing the best ways to manage money and to get financial help are essential to staying afloat. Have a look at some of these ways to manage your finances when you have a disability.
Claiming Financial Assistance
One of the most important things to know if you have a disability is that you are often eligible for some kind of financial assistance. Whether you work or not, you might be able to receive Social Security benefits that will help to support you. You can find out what you might be entitled to from the Social Security Administration. Their website is a good place to start. If you receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income, there are special rules that allow you to work and still receive payments for a trial period. After that, if your earnings don’t meet a “substantial” amount, which is $1,170 a month or $1,950 if you’re blind, you can also receive payments. If you want to get back to work, work incentives and Ticket to Ride programs are designed to help.
There are also other types of financial assistance you might benefit from. For example, you might be able to get help to pay for food, bills, and other expenses.
Creating a Budget
A monthly budget can help anyone to organize their finances, but it can be especially useful if you have a disability. If you a fixed income, you can work out what to do with your money each month. You should take a bit of time to create a budget for yourself, taking a close look at the money you have coming in and the expenses you have. One of the most important things to do is to consider whether you can cut down on your spending so that you can manage your money wisely and perhaps even start saving some money.
Understanding Your Expenses
People with disabilities often have higher expenses than other people. There are medical costs to be concerned with, as well as other needs. These can include adaptations to your home or vehicle, tools or equipment for doing daily tasks, and perhaps hired care or assistance. It’s a good idea to take a close look at your medical expenses and work out how you might be able to manage them a little better. There are assistive programs that might help, you might be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and perhaps your employer offers disability insurance. There are other expenses for you to consider too, from food and bills to transport. You should take a look at what you spend each month to see if you’re able to reduce your spending.
Legal Routes to Money You Deserve
Sometimes, a disability is caused by someone else’s negligence. This might mean that you became disabled due to an accident, medical malpractice, or even an assault. In these situations, it’s often possible to get financial help from the party who is responsible. You have options after a serious injury to seek compensation through legal channels. You could be entitled to money to help cover your medical expenses, time off work and even lost earning potential. Bringing a case against the person or organization responsible for your injury isn’t necessarily easy, but it could help you out a lot.
Protecting Your Finances
When you’re trying to manage your money, and perhaps your finances are tight, the last thing you want is to lose money unnecessarily. Knowing how to protect your finances can help you avoid losing out and maybe facing dire circumstances. Scams and fraud are important to watch out for if you want to protect your money. It’s useful to be knowledgeable about a few common scams, but it’s most helpful if you can recognize the tactics scammers use.
You might come across something that seems too good to be true, like an apartment that costs way less than it should or an email that you’ve won a competition (that you don’t remember entering). Or a scammer might try to make you panic and hand over your money by doing something like telling you that you owe tax that you need to pay right now. Usually, if you take a deep breath and think for a minute, you’ll realize that what you’re being told doesn’t sound right. If you help to care for someone who might not have the capacity to recognize a scam for themselves, it’s important to be vigilant for them.
Take Advantage of Discounts, Tax Credits and More
In addition to financial assistance, you can often find ways to save money that will help you manage your money better. Many retailers and other services offer discounts to people with disabilities, which can be very helpful. You might qualify for some tax breaks too, giving you another way to save money. Don’t just look for the discounts and savings you can get as someone with a disability. There are plenty of other ways to save too.
Know How to Save
If you want to build some savings, it’s important to know the best way to do it. If you receive Supplementary Security Income, you could lose your benefits if you have too much in savings. A Plan for Achieving Self-support (PASS) account helps you to save without being penalized, even if you go over the limit. You can also benefit from using more general techniques, like treating your savings as an expense and automatically putting them aside each month.
Managing your money can be challenging when you have a disability. Take advantage of any help you can get if you need it and organize your finances to make it easier.