6 Money Management Tips When You Receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
A guest blog by Maricel Tabalba
If you’re receiving SSDI payments due to a disability, you understand how crucial it is to have some type of plan so that you can make every dollar of your monthly disability payment count.
By developing a few smart money-management habits you can learn how to control your money – instead of letting your money control you. These six smart money tips will help you better utilize your payment and stretch your dollars as far as possible.
Determine Your Monthly Budget
It makes sense and “cents” to write out a monthly budget so that you can prioritize your funds and cover any necessary items that you cannot live without. Establish a list of all your needs – begin by counting food, electricity/heat, housing and any other costs that occur on a regular basis. To get an idea of how you spend your money each month, you’ll want to track your spending. One way to do this is to keep cash receipts for one month categorize how your money is being spent. Figure out how much money you have coming in each month, then work out exactly how you’re spending that money. What’s left over should go to saving.
Enroll In Co-Pay Programs
As someone with a disability, it’s highly likely that you may have many monthly prescription and medical expenses. To help lighten these necessary costs, it’s best if you search for co-pay programs that will help assist with a portion of the bill. If you meet the eligibility requirements for current insurance coverage, income, residence and diagnosis, a certain percentage of your bill will be paid for. These services are completely free. A family member, friend, your physician or your pharmacist can help you apply for this assistance.
Prioritize Medications and Equipment
Medical equipment and medications are often associated with disabilities. If these costs occur on a regular basis, prioritize them in your budget. If you are currently paying the whole bill for these items, search for any grants, resources and discounts that you can find. Also, shop around for your equipment. You may be able to find a better deal online than you would locally.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Individuals with disabilities can qualify for certain types of discounts, reduced fares, or even prepaid retail or debit cards. Many organizations don’t publicize these offerings, but by searching online for you will be able to find information that lists discounts that are available in your state. You can also search locally and contact nonprofit organizations that are associated with specific disabilities or diseases. For individuals who do not have a bank account, prepaid debit cards can be a useful budgeting tool – with a prepaid card, you cannot go into debt, and your spending is limited to the dollar amount on the card.
Take Advantage of ABLE
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act was approved and signed into law in 2014. This act allows families who have a member with a disability to have tax-free savings accounts for their disability needs. Check to see if you qualify for an ABLE account and take advantage of it, as you can accrue up to $100,000 without sacrificing your SSI. These accounts allow expenses for housing, transportation, assistive technology, education and more for the beneficiary.
Create Your Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses can pop up at any time. If you can provide yourself with an emergency fund, these unexpected surprises are not so likely to set you back. Whenever possible, place any extra dollars that you have into this fund. Having some type of cash as a safety net is better than having none at all. One of the best ways to do this is to prioritize the emergency fund in your budget until you have gotten to a desired goal. You can also use any unexpected cash that you may receive due to a tax return or holiday gift.
If you can work on improving your money skills just a little bit each month, you should be able to wisely spend each dollar that you have and save a few bucks in the process. Boosting your money IQ is the surest way to maximize your SSDI and reduce your financial worries and concerns.
Maricel Tabalba is a freelance contributor for Credit.com who is interested in writing about personal finance advice for Millennials and college students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.