Disability, lifestyle, and nerdy thoughts.

Finding financial control when you’re disabled

Disability allowances become something many disabled people desperately depend on. But, even that can fall from under you at any second. No benefit is a given. Millions of disabled Americans live in constant fear of losing their primary income. So, what can you do to protect yourself against sudden changes in your financial situation?

When you’re disabled, it can mean that you don’t have as much control over your life as you would if you were abled. Take me for an example, I have pretty little control over my body. With a disease like muscular dystrophy, your relationship with your body can become pretty complicated.

On top of that, many people also have to deal with a shaky and uncertain financial future. Many disabilities prevent people from working. On the flip side, ableism in the hiring process prevents a lot of people who are able to work from getting a job. Even those who can work may have to work reduced hours for health reasons.

That being said, disability allowances become something many disabled people desperately depend on. But, even that can fall from under you at any second. No benefit is a given. Millions of disabled Americans live in constant fear of losing their primary income.

You may think, then, that saving would be the best bet. Losing money wouldn’t be such a problem if you have money to fall back on. But, many individuals receiving disability income aren’t allowed to save. For many, even as little as $2,000 in the bank could lead to lost benefits. So, what can you do to protect yourself against sudden changes in your financial situation?

[IMG: a few dollars and spare change scattered on a table.]

Always know your rights

When you’re disabled, you get pretty used to learning your rights. It’s a bummer, but they tend to come up a lot. Your rights when it comes to money are no different. Do your research. Make sure you know exactly what you are and aren’t allowed to have. I’m pretty sure they’ve designed the system to be as complicated as possible, so don’t feel bad to ask questions if you’re unsure of something.

I’ll give you an example. My SSI and my Medicaid are tied together, essentially. Once I started to work, I knew I’d be losing some, if not all, of my SSI. I began to worry that I’d lose my insurance as well, so I contacted a local agency that works with disabled people returning to work to have them explain everything to me in simpler terms than I could find online. Different states have different rules, so where I live, as long as I make under $30,000 a year, have less than $2,000 in the bank, and don’t have a car or house I could sell I can keep my Medicaid.

It’s important to know these things so if there’s a mix up, you can advocate for yourself and make sure you’re not losing out on anything you know you should legally be getting.

Similarly, there’s a lot of companies openly violating the ADA and discriminating against disabled people in interviews. Do your research so you can recognize it if it happens to you.

Have a strong support system

Even if you know what you’re talking about, you might not always be equipped to fight the battles yourself. It’s no secret that disabled voices often get lost. If you’re able to financially, you can get in contact with a disability attorney who can bring legal knowledge and experience to the table. I know we can get shy and uncomfortable talking about money, but it helps to have a support system in place. The more people advocating for your rights, the better.

Diversify your income

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your benefits take a hit or you lose your job. One way to get through those difficult days a little easier is to diversify your income. That way you aren’t entirely dependent on one singular source your livelihood. Something as simple as starting a blog or selling homemade items online could keep you afloat until you get things sorted out.

Admittedly, none of these steps can put control completely in your hands. The very nature of SSI feels uncertain. And… that doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon. But, taking actions like these at least ensures you have control over the way you handle that uncertainty.

*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links*



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