When it comes to finances, most people know how to manage their daily expenses fairly well. However, once saving for the future is brought into question, things become a bit trickier. How much should you save? How should you be saving it?
One event that even the most prepared financial planners don’t necessarily prepare for is becoming disabled or otherwise unable to work. How do you care for yourself financially, emotionally, physically, and more, all while not earning your usual income? It can be incredibly difficult to manage, but these tips can help you settle in while you discover your new norm.
Figure Out Finances
If you’re not able to work due to your disability, you’ll need to come up with a plan for securing income. This will vary depending on if you’ll be out of work temporarily, or if you’re going to need a longer-term plan. If granted temporary disability benefits, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly earnings. Long-term disability coverage can vary by employer, state, and more, so make sure you do your research on your options.
Regardless of what you can earn from disability benefits, it might be also worth looking into a change in career, especially if you’re going to be unable to work at your current position long-term. Plenty of jobs can now be done from home at a computer, making work easier to find for those in need of an accessible option.
Plan Future Care
Everyone’s care needs are different, and the same is true when it comes to disability. Some will only need temporary assistance until they can resume their usual lifestyle, while others will need to figure out a plan for assistance and care over longer periods of time. Family and friends can be incredibly helpful resources, but be mindful of how much you ask of them. More than 65 million people, 29% of the US population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. Consider all of your options moving forward, and discuss with those close to you to find a solution that will work best for everyone.
Find Accessible Solutions
Many people fail to realize just how many daily activities are inaccessible to those with disabilities. For example, those in a wheelchair will struggle with more than just stairs; raised doorways or narrow hallways can pose immediate problems even inside the person’s own home. If you’ve got limited use of your upper body, you might notice that you have to start wearing different clothing. T-shirts may be a 117-year-old type of garment, but they’re surprisingly inaccessible for those who have difficulty raising their arms. Take stock of what in your home and daily life is causing difficulty for your new situation, and see what solutions exist to increase accessibility without changing your lifestyle more than necessary.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, whether your disability is temporary or long-term, taking care of yourself is essential. Good self-care practices can help those dealing with a temporary illness or injury recover more quickly, and they can help those with long-term disability acclimate better to their changing situation. Stay in touch with your medical team, try to stay active within reason, and drink plenty of water — after all, your body is made up of 60% water. While self-care might not necessarily directly help your finances, it can help you get through a rough financial period more easily.
Having to unexpectedly take temporary or full-time disability from your current working situation can be challenging on many levels, especially financially. Working with those around you, as well as your employer and yourself, can help you navigate the system as easily as possible.
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