Most of us are struggling to make ends meet. The economy has slowed down, lay-offs are becoming a norm of sorts, and salaries are taking a hit. Financial security is a priority for everybody. Having a disability may seem like a hurdle in making economic progress, but with a few smart moves and concrete planning and research, those with disabilities can also lead a financially secure and satisfying life.
Take Assistance of College Financial Aid Programs
A college degree sharpens your skills and gives you better employment opportunities. However, not everybody can afford a college education, especially those who are disabled and are already spending a large amount of money on medical aid and support.
It is then a good idea to take assistance from the various supplementary financial aids for your college education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that everybody should get equal access to educational opportunities and vocational rehabilitation. Most colleges have financial assistance programs for students with disabilities. The type of aid provided may vary from state to state, but there will always be scholarships, grants and loans available for disabled students.
You should research and apply for these as soon as possible as they will be in high demand and may get exhausted soon. Discrimination at workplace due to disability may be prohibited but is still present in many organizations. A college education or a specialization can give you an advantage in such cases and may cement your position strongly in the organization.
Similarly, vocational rehabilitation ensures various financial aid and facilities for the disabled to help them obtain better employment opportunities. This would include paid training for specific jobs, job-placements, commuting and transportation facilities, special equipment required for the job and regular follow-up of the individual’s growth and progress in the job.
Talk to your financial consultant or family member who looks after your finances and contact your state agency or financial aid office at school to know what resources and grants are available to you.
Focus on One Thing You Are Really Good At
Concentrate your energies and efforts on one thing you are really good at and excel at it. Make that your profession and you will succeed. Even if it seems unconventional and risky in the beginning, if it is something you like doing and it gives you minimum discomfort, stick with it. If you like painting so much that you don’t even feel the pain in your back when you are sitting in the wheelchair for hours while painting, make that your vocation, not accounting or programming just because somebody says so or because it appears lucrative. Chances are that you may earn less as a painter and more as an accountant in the beginning, but in the long run you will only do well in a profession that you love and that will bring the money.
Don’t be discouraged by what others say. Friends and family may deem some professions inapplicable for you due to your disability but if you have tried your hands at it earlier and think you can pursue it long term, go for it.
Let Your Family Help You in Securing Your Financial Future
You should count yourself lucky if you have a family that loves you, cares for you and wants to do their bit in securing your financial future, irrespective of your employment and income status.
Most families do make financial arrangements for their children or elders with disabilities to secure their future. Parents set up special needs trust for their children which can be funded in several ways. These can be of great help during emergency and can supplement other government benefits.
Accept Public Aid
Various government programs are available to assist people with disabilities. A few of them cover medical care, housing and other community services. See if you are eligible for these programs and apply and accept the financial aid. If your long-term disability is a result of an injury at work, you can also count on social security disability insurance, state worker’s compensation benefits and employer sponsored disability insurance.
Disabled or not, savings are a must for a stable financial future. And for those with disabilities, there is some great news. The ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) is expected to be passed by the Congress very soon. This will be a boon for those with disabilities as it would allow special accounts for people with disabilities where they could save up to $100,000 without risking social security benefits and Medicaid.
Accept all the financial help and benefits offered to you, but try to remain as independent as possible. Go out, acquire a skill, get a job, pay your own expenses and secure your mobility. Let the additional help supplement your income but don’t depend on family or the government for your necessities. The more independent you make yourself, the more stable and secure your financial future will be.
Around 50 million people in America have some disabilities, which makes this group the largest minority. The Federal and State governments shell out billions of dollars each year to assist those with disabilities through various financial aids. However, the intermediate agencies and organizations should provide greater information about this funding. The disabled and their families must do proper research to avail these benefits to supplement their other sources of income.
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