Disabled and Out of Work: Tips to Getting By

There are over 37 million Americans classified as disabled to date. Many of them in their working years (age 18-64), are unable to earn a living for an extended period of time – or permanently. When times are already challenging, the loss of income to a household raises concerns.

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There are over 37 million Americans classified as disabled to date. Many of them in their working years (age 18-64), are unable to earn a living for an extended period of time – or permanently. When times are already challenging, the loss of income to a household raises concerns. There are options, however, available that can resolve some of those concerns making the circumstance of being disabled and out of work a bit easier to cope with.

Rethink Your Budget

When a disability puts you out of work for a while, this means living without an income. Outside of your last paycheck and any saved sick and vacation days you may have available, you’ll have to survive on your savings and other incomes in the household to survive. Rethinking your budget is a necessary first step to ensure you can afford the bare necessities.

Start by reviewing your expenses. If there are purchases for products or services that can be eliminated, it is best to do so. This might include cutting your cable subscription, downgrading your cell phone data plan, minimizing or eliminating your takeout and entertainment costs, and limiting your shopping. Next, look for ways to save on the expenses you can’t eliminate. For instance, searching for a new energy provider, making the home more efficient to cut back on energy costs, buying generic brands and using coupons when going grocery shopping, and whatever else you can think of.

Now, adding your savings and any other income in the household, determine if you have enough to live on until you recover? If so, for how long? If not, you need to review more options.

File for Disability Insurance Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to eligible applicants who suffer from a disability that has put them out of work. The application process requires a series of steps that include but are not limited to, filling out forms, visiting a physician, gathering medical documentation, and following-up with the Social Security Administration.

Since the process can be daunting, you may want to consider hiring a disability lawyer to help. Law firms, like Myler Disability, assist clients with completing the SSDI application process. They will walk you through each step, ensuring you have the necessary documentation to increase your chances for approval. If you’ve however been denied SSDI, a disability lawyer is also the best legal expert to help you file an appeal.

Though your disability payout won’t be anything near what you were used to earning from work, it can provide some assistance with affording the cost of living. If you are still, however, in a bind, there are other options.

Look for Free Programs

If your income has decreased significantly, you may be entitled to participate in free state and government programs to assist you in affording things you need. Section 8 Housing, for instance, is a government program that provides housing assistance vouchers to qualified families. Food Stamps are available to low-income families and can provide help with the grocery bill. Other programs can include utility assistance, rental assistance, and affordable healthcare. Your local Department of Health and Human Services should be able to guide you in the right direction.

Downsize

When you’re missing thousands of dollars from your budget, it can be burdensome to try and afford the same bills on a lesser income. In order to survive on disability, you may need to consider downsizing. Whether this means selling your home and getting an apartment, selling your new car, or putting the children in public school, it may be necessary to eliminate debt.

Get Better

Recovery is the most permanent solution to surviving while on disability. Unless your disability is permanent, you can use self-care practices to heal quicker and get back on your feet. From eating foods high in vitamins and nutrients to exercising, going to physical therapy, and following the doctor’s orders, getting on a routine that involves tending to your needs will essentially help you recover so you can get back to earning a living.

Disability happens more often than you think. Though you don’t plan to become injured and out of work, it is a reality that can be life-changing. While getting better is the best solution to surviving financially without an income, there are other options out there. Filing disability, getting strict about your budget, and downsizing, if necessary, are all effective solutions that can reduce the stress you’re under.

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