Dodging the disability debt spiral
Not so fun fact: having a disability makes debt far more likely. Why? For a lot of reasons – enough that I could have a separate blog dedicated to the issue. Having a disability can make it difficult to work in a million different ways. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, then even sitting at a desk for more than a few hours could be a struggle. Disabilities also mean doctors visits, expensive procedures, medicines, and special equipment. Without insurance, you’re looking at debt fast. I could go on, but the point is being disabled is expensive.
The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to help. I know that when hospital bills start piling up, it’s going to take a lot more than the tips I have to offer. But if you’re like me and you’ve basically got just enough money until the next big emergency comes, they’ll hopefully prevent your debt from spiraling out of control!
Look for a job you can do
With such a massive job market there’s a good chance that there’s a job out there for you. It’s easy to feel like it’s an impossible task, and believe me, I know how hard it is to job hunt with a disability. It is possible, though. If you’re able to work, keep looking when you can. Think about what you’re realistically able to do. If you can only work part time, stick with part time. It’s easy to try and push yourself, but if you take it too far, you might end up being able to work even less than you could originally or lose your job entirely. Know your limits just as well as you know your strengths.
Get creative in your searches. If you have limited mobility or need to have a flexible schedule, try and find some work that you can do from home. There are a lot of tech support options if you’re good at that sort of thing. I’ve known a few people who have been virtual assistants and made decent money. You don’t always need a full-time or permanent position, either. It sucks to do, but carve out a chunk of time to spend on https://www.monster.com and see what jobs are available. It might take a long time to find the position that’s right for you, but it’s out there.
Some people with disabilities are unable to work all the time (and some can’t at all – that’s okay!), so it might be worth looking into freelancing possibilities. There are a variety of jobs and industries where you will be able to work when you want, where you want, how you want. You can make some extra cash doing things like transcribing, writing, graphic design. I know you’re good at something, and with the internet, there’s potential down any avenue.
Another quick thing to note: research what employers are legally allowed to ask you in interviews. Discrimination is incredibly common, so prepare yourself for it, and don’t feel afraid to take action if you feel it’s necessary.
- [IMG Description: a laptop on a desk in front of a bright window. a mason jar with flowers is sitting next to it]
Cut Out The Expenses You Owe
Carefully consider the money you already owe and start planning early. One common source of debt is student loans, but there are options available for some people. You can do some research into refinancing options through sites like http://refinancestudent.loan to see if that’s the right choice for you. That’s just one potential option, though. There are certain programs specifically for disabled people that will help support your education. I worked with Voc Rehab when I was going to college, and they paid for any fees I had if I ran out of scholarship money. Talk to your financial aid advisors and research into any programs or services in your state.
If there are any expenses you can cut, cut them. See if anyone is interested in sharing a streaming service like Netflix or Spotify with you. You can split the cost, everybody wins! Try to eat out less often if you can and look for free events in your area. Sometimes something like using an app to help you keep an eye on your budget can really help you save. Truthfully, a lot of disabled people I know don’t have many costs that they can cut, so it might not be an option for you. It’s worth keeping in mind, though!
Cost Compare Everything
I try really hard to not be an impulsive shopper, although one trip through Target with me and you probably wouldn’t believe that. Whenever I can, I try to find the cheapest price or cheapest alternative. When you have more expenses, and you will when you’re disabled, it becomes way more important to cost compare everything. You may need to modify your home to make it more accessible. If/when the time comes for this, find the best price you can for materials, and you should look at quotes from a range of different contractors.
It makes sense on a much smaller scale, too. Can you get your coffee cheaper than you get it at Starbucks? Is there a grocery store that offers better prices or more coupons? Hunt around and see what deals you can find before buying the first thing you see. Talk to friends and get recommendations. It can be a little time consuming, but a few dollars here and there add up fast throughout the year.
I know how hard it can be to avoid debt when you have a disability, so I hope these help you save a little money!