Living with disability brings about physical, psychological and logistical challenges. What’s more, the average disabled American is also more likely to face financial hardship than their peers; studies have shown that during the pandemic especially, disabled people were nearly 3 times as likely to experience financial hardship. With prices rising and medical care strained, the essential services that people living with disability need to remain independent are becoming more out of touch. For those people newly diagnosed with a disability, there are important steps to take to retain financial security.
Disabled people have a number of benefits, state and federally, that they can use to help support themselves. This can be a challenge in itself. According to the Center for American Progress, current measures designed to assess disability claims are dehumanizing. It’s important to know the lay of the land in your state, too. There are big disparities in the grant rate issued by judges on a state-to-state basis, and you’re more likely to see a positive outcome in California than in Minnesota. Bear this in mind, research entitlements fully, and be persistent in challenging the courts.
Preparing for downturns
Economic downturns and times of hardship impact everyone, but disabled people are placed at particular risk. Where essentials, such as food, heat, or light are passed over, it can result in a quick deterioration of health for many. Budgeting, as such, is essential. It doesn’t come easy to many Americans – financial literacy is at a low level nationally. As such, people living with disabilities that prepare themselves for downturns by taking a proactive approach to their finances will be ready to react.
Perhaps more important than anything else is the need for people living with disability to obtain, and retain, good quality healthcare. This can come from combining benefits packages, to using work insurance, to looking to charity. The American healthcare system is very strained, and a profile of it in Politico noted that some people feel they are ‘waiting to die’. Avoiding that and being your own best advocate is important.
Being aware of your needs, being willing to talk about them, and having a solid grasp on your finances will help immeasurably with the financial burden of living with disability. In a country facing a worsening of conditions and budgetary challenges, this is essential.