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These days, most of us either have or know someone with a disability. CBS News estimates 58 million Americans identify as disabled, making it “the largest single minority in the country.” You might be living with a disability yourself, or looking for resources to help a loved one.
Various federal, state and private benefit options assist those living with disabilities. But because benefits rarely cover all costs, especially as we age, it’s crucial to start saving early. That way, those with disabilities can afford safe, sufficient care throughout their lives.
Here are some ways to start saving for your future care:
It’s never too early to start planning for your golden years. If you’re already within 10 to 20 years from retirement, it’s time to decide where you’ll live later in life. To maintain independence as you age, you might proactively look into local assisted living facilities.
Assisted living allows you to live in an apartment-like community for older adults while still getting some assistance with daily activities. In addition to the autonomy, professional care, and community setting, there are countless benefits to living in an assisted living setting.
For instance, these communities often provide prepared meals and activities, and some even have on-site services like barbers and beauticians. When you’re not relaxing in your apartment, you can make new friends while going on planned outings together.
Of course, every facility is different, so tour a few different ones to determine what activities and assistance they offer. Prices also vary, and you may want to ask about a pre-pay or deposit options.
People living with disabilities, as well as anyone living with chronic health issues, should obtain disability insurance. Disability insurance is a smart money decision because it helps cover long-term living expenses in qualifying situations where you’re unable to work.
Because the minimum waiting period before your benefits kick in is 30 days, you’ll also require savings to cover a month’s living expenses or more. To determine how much you’ll need, US News recommends asking yourself, “If I stopped getting a paycheck tomorrow, what do I absolutely need to keep the lights on?”
It’s not easy to think about, but it’s never too early to start planning to protect your family’s finances. One option is purchasing life insurance which can make up for lost wages and help your family attain financial security should the unexpected happen. If life insurance is too expensive for your means, another option is final expense insurance. This type of insurance covers funeral costs and can help pay off other debts.
It’s also beneficial to get your finances in order as soon as possible. Some of the same financial advice applies to all adults, regardless of ability. For instance, it’s a good idea to have a 401K, IRA, or other retirement fund. Use the AARP’s calculator to determine how much you’ll need to save. And if you’re a homeowner, use an online home-value estimator to get an approximate value of your home in case you ever need to sell it to fund future care.
To help cover your medical bills, you’ll also need health insurance. Depending upon your income level, you might even qualify for free or low-cost health insurance plans. To make the most of your money, consider getting the highest deductible and copayment plan you can afford. As an example, certain income levels can receive 100 percent free Anthem BCBS health insurance with a $6,500 deductible that charges $200 for emergency room visits.
Of course, health insurance doesn’t pay for everything. Healthcare can be expensive, so to help cover costs, it’s wise to save up a nest egg. These emergency savings funds cover expenses in situations like job loss or hospitalization. Financial experts recommend $1,000 to start. Eventually, Wells Fargo advises saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
Caring for Your Health
Last but not least, a crucial way to plan for your future is to take better care of your health and well-being. That includes avoiding drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, find ways to reduce stress, and attend regular doctor visits, including checkups and annual physicals.
People living with disabilities don’t need to feel overwhelmed about the future. You can greatly lessen the stress if you start with the financial planning early. By using the above resources, you can get the care you need to enhance your quality of life.
Written by Ed Carter