Guest Post: Written exclusively for Jayperoni.com by Nik Donovic
Always Be Prepared
Most of us begin our careers wide-eyed and bushy tailed, thirsty to make a positive impact on the world and seemingly ready for anything that comes our way. However, for many Americans, their dreams are altered and can be cut short by unforeseen circumstances, for example being injured by someone who was driving distracted, that fall under the realm of disability. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014, more 2,500,000 Americans filed for disability claims, and the termination rate for said claimants has risen to 8.37 percent, higher than the national average.
Yet, facing your future with a disability doesn’t have to be a grim prospect, rather an exercise in strength and resilience, both personally and financially. Following sound financial advice doesn’t have to be a burden if times become tough, there are many wise ways to save.
All Demographics are At Risk; The Wisdom of a Backup Plan
According to an Allsup poll, there is a three in ten chance that a 20 year old can be faced with a workplace disability, it’s not just for high-risk jobs or any certain demographic. While standard financial advice dictates that an employee should have enough in savings to sustain themselves for at least six months, that’s not an easy feat in today’s age. One of the best ways to protect your financial future is to inquire whether your employer offers long term disability coverage (LDC) and take immediate advantage.
While the U.S. pays disability to more than 8 million Americans, the average monthly check they receive is only a little more than a thousand dollars. With LDC however, you may be entitled to upwards of 50 percent of your salary in addition to disability.
Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center notes that most people underestimate the financial strain that disability can cause, making it difficult to live comfortably without putting pressure on family and friends, or selling belongings and taking out lines of credit to get by. An experienced Social Security lawyer can also prove an invaluable asset if you find yourself faced with a sudden injury or illness. A simple checked-box, a meeting with an attorney and a small extra monthly payment can drastically reduce the impact of a disability in the long-run.
Financial Planning For Pre-Existing Conditions
Although some injuries and illnesses can be a sudden onset, many of them can build slowly, like arthritis and fibromyalgia. If that is the case, then you can get ahead of the curve and plan positively for the future. Programs like food stamps, prescription assistance, free health clinics, mortgage assistance and local property tax exemptions can be a literal Godsend.
Another essential step to planning is to ensure that there are no lapses in your insurance coverage. If you have to take long-term leave from employment, it can take time to secure medicaid benefits, so programs like COBRA can help bridge any would-be gaps in insurance. Although the Affordable Health Care Act has stipulations for pre-existing conditions (PICPs), it can take up to six months for them to take effect. Gada notes that there aren’t many optimal insurance options around for people with disabilities, insurance still must remain a priority.