Hey, everybody! In today’s post, we’re talking about finances and savings. The subject of finances is a difficult topic to discuss. But we all need money to live, and with that, we have to choose the best practices handling it. So have you ever wished you had enough money to go to that concert? Ladies, what about buying that handbag? Guys, what about tickets to that upcoming baseball, basketball, or football game? Yeah, I know. Everyone has moments like these whether disabled or able-bodied.
Being disabled finances can be a bit tricky to navigate because for most of us we are on fixed incomes. The main source of which comes from Social Security whether it be SSI or SSDI. It is a fixed amount monthly that we are basically told to make it work the entire month. We all know that it’s impossible, for some of us it only covers rent. So, we have to find other ways to make extra income or to compensate the income we have. This may be a part-time job, or side hustle like designing, or making things, writing, drawing/painting, and so on. Unfortunately, though we soon learn that however much we make in extra income if it is over the government’s resource limit of $2,000 our benefits can be cut.
Now let’s be clear there are two types of income earned and unearned. Earned income is wages or salary from work. You may get a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payment. Unearned income is money you receive that doesn’t come from a job such as SSI, SSDI, workers’ compensation, Veteran benefits, SNAP (food stamps), or gifts from family or friends.
Before you can do anything you have to know the exact amount that you have coming in. Savings included.
1. Write down all your needs. Like your rent or mortgage, utilities, hygiene products, groceries, cell phone, medical bills, vehicle maintenance, and clothes or shoes. Then write down your wants. Things like going out to dinner, to a movie, on a trip, buying a gift for someone, a new outfit, or a pair of shoes.
2. Once you have written everything down make two columns. One called “planning to pay” and the other called “actually paid”. In the planning to pay side, you write down how much you would want to pay for each thing, and then add them up. The total is how much you want to spend so plan to put that aside or maybe a little more. So once, that is done and you’ve actually purchased, or did the things you listed put the actual price you paid in the “actually paid” column. Total it up and that will let you know how much money you actually spent. It also may give you an idea of how much money to plan to spend the following month if you have recurring expenses.
We need places to keep all of this money and there are several so you just have to choose the one that works best for you. They are
- Credit Unions – non-profit, community-based financial companies where you can deposit your money to keep it safe.
2. Banks – a place where you can deposit your money to keep it safe. Unlike a credit union, you d
o not join a bank but become a customer.
****IMPORTANT TIP: WHEN DOING ANYTHING WITH FINANCES KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS!****
There are also several programs that have been put in place to help people in the disabled community to save money for their wants and needs. Some of them won’t even count towards your government resource limit.
- PASS Account – PASS stands for Plan to Achieve Self-Support. It is a savings account through Social Security that will allow you to save money for a specific item or service that’s needed for a work goal. It can help you afford the down payment on a car, get a job, or get a computer to help start your business.
- Special Needs Trust – is a specially designed account set up by family or friends where they can deposit money into it on your behalf, and it can be used to handle big expenses like a TV, or Computer.
- IDA – is an Individual Development Account help people with a low-income save money for things like education, starting a business, or buying assistive technology. For every dollar a person puts into an IDA, the program will add a dollar (often more). Before you can receive this matching amount, you have to agree to the rules of the program, such as making regular contributions to the account or taking free classes on how to manage money.
- ABLE Accounts – ABLE Accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Money and finances are scary especially when you’re disabled but with the right plan and resources we can strive and have financial freedom. Do your research and talk to some people to see which one is right for you. Happy Spending!