By Ed Carter
Even if your disability allows you to live on your own and care for yourself in your younger years, many people need specialized medical care, home modifications, prescription medications, and/or therapy as they age. Many programs and services are available to assist you in paying for your medical bills and saving money for the future. We’ve pulled our favorite tips that can help you to build a rock-solid financial future.
Open an ABLE Account
Under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), qualifying individuals with disabilities can put thousands of dollars into savings each year by opening a tax-free ABLE account. According to CNBC, however, less than one percent of eligible individuals have taken advantage of this savings program. Approximately eight million individuals would qualify for an ABLE account if they were to open one, as this savings program is available to any person who meets the following criteria:
- Became blind or disabled prior to turning 26 years of age
- Receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability (even if he or she does not currently receive SSDI or SSI)
By opening an account, individuals with disabilities can contribute as much as $15,000 annually—or more if they work and don’t participate in a retirement savings program such as a 401(k). Plus, each account can reach $100,000 in savings before it will begin to affect an individual’s ability to receive government assistance.
Purchase Life & Burial Insurance
To provide your family with financial security in the event of your death, you may choose to purchase a life insurance policy when planning for the future. U.S. News explains that life insurance can open a lot of unseen possibilities, like paying for long-term care and minimizing taxes in your retirement years.
Before shopping around for a policy, however, it’s important to determine whether term life or permanent life insurance is best for you. If you purchase a whole life insurance policy, you’ll also build cash value as time goes on. As such, this option could benefit you in a financial emergency.
While purchasing an affordable life insurance policy can be challenging when you hold an ongoing disability or impairment, it’s not impossible to find the coverage you need. To find an affordable policy that offers benefits like disability pay, living benefits, and coverage for long-term care, it may be wise to work with a financial advisor as you search for a policy that meets your needs.
Additionally, you may purchase burial or funeral insurance if you wish to protect your loved ones even further in the event of your death. Some life insurance policies cover final arrangements, but a separate burial insurance policy may be necessary if you’re worried about leaving your loved ones in charge of costly medical bills and funeral expenses after you pass away.
Stick to a Budget
When planning for the future, it’s important to create a practical budget that lists your wants, needs, bills, medical expenses, and monthly income. Then, create a list of financial goals to work toward, such as saving enough money for an insurance policy or emergency fund. With everything accounted for, it’s easier to get and stay on track with your money.
While this type of planning may seem daunting, starting as early as possible will help to ensure that you have everything you need to live safely and comfortably later in life. Take advantage of the options available to you and establish safety nets for your future self. Financial planning takes time and dedication, but it helps you to build a stable money picture that benefits you and your loved ones.
Ed Carter has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities.