Rebuilding Lives After Spinal Cord Injury

Safeguarding Lifelong Care Needs

Financial Tips for Persons with Disabilities

Ed Carter | Ablefutures.org | ed.carter@ablefutures.org 

black and white image of an elderly couple sitting on a boardwalk behind a metal railing looking out over a beach. The woman is sitting in a wheelchair, the man is sitting next to her on a park bench. They are photographed from behind on a sunny day.
photo credit: Bruno Aguirre via Unsplash

Safeguarding lifelong care needs is a concern for everybody but especially challenging for people with disabilities. Persons with disabilities can have expenses that might increase as they get older. That can make it harder for them to achieve their personal goals and cover the expenses of their long-term care. If you have a disability, it’s important to put your finances in order so you can accomplish your goals as well as take care of your changing expenses as you get older.

Boost Your Savings

If you’re trying to build a significant fund that you can not only use for immediate expenses but also future ones, you’ll need the right plans and accounts. While accruing money in a regular savings account may put your Social Security or Medicaid benefits at risk, there are other savings options that are open to persons with disabilities. These include the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Account, which has tax advantages and will not affect your benefits. For people who want to save towards opening a business or going to school, the Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) account is a good fit. Make sure to also build an emergency fund that can pay for unexpected expenses. It can be easier to increase your savings if you take advantage of some of these discounts suggested by Deal Hack.

Get the Appropriate Coverage

To make sure your healthcare needs are covered, it’s best to invest in the healthcare plan that suits your current and future needs. If you’re employed, disability insurance can also be helpful for those times when your disability prevents you from working for an extended period of time. When considering your future expenses, be sure to consider not just life insurance but burial insurance as well. Burial insurance, as the name suggests, is designed to cover the costs of funeral expenses as well as medical bills you might leave behind. When choosing your burial insurance policy, you can pick out the arrangements you want. You can also choose your level of coverage if you want funds left over to cover your bills. Keep in mind that you need to do a little research on the different companies that offer policies before deciding on one.

Learn Your Tax Benefits

According to Disabled World, the odds are high that you don’t know about all the tax benefits you may qualify for as someone with disabilities. If you received a lump-sum payment for your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, then avoid the urge to pay the taxes on it all at once, as this may place you in a higher tax bracket. Instead, take the amount of time the IRS allows so you can keep your payments down. You may be eligible for tax credits such as earned income tax credit depending on how much you earned as far back as 2010. If your medical costs are more than 7.5 percent of your gross income, you may also qualify for a tax deduction, The money you save from these tax benefits can be used to increase your savings.

Get Homeowner’s Assistance

Most people dream of owning their own home, and it’s no different for people with disabilities. Your main consideration though is getting a house that is properly modified to suit your needs, especially if you’d like to age in place when you’re older. Before you start house hunting, make sure you look into mortgage loan programs that can be helpful for persons with disabilities who are looking for their first home. This may include programs like the Federal Housing Assistance (FHA) or the Fannie Mae Home Ready Mortgage. If you’re having trouble finding a home with the modifications you need, then you’ll have to make those changes yourself. Fortunately, there are grants that can help you take care of those expenses as well.

As someone with disabilities, your financial considerations can be more extensive than those who don’t have them. You can make sure your immediate and long term needs are well taken care of if you save appropriately as well as take advantage of the tax breaks and assistance programs you may qualify for.