Adapting To Life With A Disability
In a major study, it was found that people with disabilities have higher expenses in just about every single aspect of their lives, ranging from food to utilities to medical care. On top of paying more, there are also additional costs stemming directly from the disabilities, which can range from caretaker help to different devices that may be needed to help navigate the home. To compound the financial crunch, U.S. statistics show that your average person with a disability earns $800 less than those without one.
Disability and Lifestyle Changes
Disabilities can take different forms, from something that temporarily renders you unable to work, to a permanent one. In some cases, depending on your career, you may be able to still work while being disabled, but still lose a portion of your check to some of the additional costs of your disability. In all cases, this makes it important to have both protection and a plan in mind.
Preparing your life to allow for a disability can involve a lot of different changes. You may need to alter your living arrangement in order to find something that matches your situation and lose a portion of your independence on top of the financial problems. A thing you don’t want to neglect is your mental health, either, to make sure you handle these changes in a healthy way.
Disability as a Federal Employee
As a federal employee, you may think that you are already covered due to the benefits you get as a part of your job. This is somewhat true. The FERS plan that governs your basic benefits, Social Security, and Thrift Savings plan also has a component regarding disability. To qualify for FERS disability benefits, you need to have the following apply to you:
• Have at least 18 months of creditable Federal service according to FERS.
• Have a disability that is expected to last at least one year.
• You applied for benefits prior to separation of service or within 1 year thereafter.
• You also need to apply for social security benefits.
The issues with FERS benefits for disability is that these are taxed as ordinary income since they are employee provided, and they reduce from 60% of income for the first year to 40% thereafter. Since many disabled employees are paying more to live, it’s difficult to get by with less.
Financial Planning and Disability Insurance
In many cases, learning how to properly look at your finances will help guide a lot of the other things you need to do in terms of adapting to a permanent or prolonged disability. However, it’s important to use all the help and resources you have to make this easier, and that means working with Secure Choice. Our Disability Income Plus is a voluntary group disability policy specifically made for the needs of federal employees. If you find yourself unable to work due to an accident or extended illness, this will help keep your bills and regular expenses paid. Best of all, this can help you get paid directly on top of the leave you generally get as a federal employee.