Short-term disabilities that last at least six months affect about 5% of the working population in America every year.
Now, there are many reasons why you may be unable to work, including work injuries and certain ailments like cancer and musculoskeletal disorders. Mental health issues such as depression could also be a major reason for having trouble working.
The question is, how do you find financial relief while you’re unable to work?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at different types of income replacement programs that will help you see through these difficult times. Keep reading to find out what to do when you can’t work.
Get Government Disability Insurance Programs
If you live in the US, there are a couple of disability insurance programs that could help you if you’re unable to work. The Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Insurance programs may alleviate some financial burden for long-term disability. They come through the Federal Government, but sometimes the money may not be enough.
Apart from not being enough, not everybody who applies for these programs may qualify to get the benefits. The government has certain eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify. Moreover, you must be unable to work for at least a year or more to get financial aid.
This means that if you’re experiencing short-term disabilities, you may not be able to rely on these programs. Additionally, these programs take an average of 3 to 5 months to decide on whether you should be able to get the aid. Sometimes, the SSI will take a long time, so you have to find other ways before then.
Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you have suffered workplace injuries, your employer may be able to offer short-term or long-term disability insurance through workers’ compensation insurance. This is a mandatory insurance policy that every employer must carry, especially in industries that are prone to workplace accidents. Workers’ comp benefits include medical care related to injuries or disabilities and a percentage of your income for a given time.
For you to qualify, the state must recognize your on-the-job injury. If your employer is hesitant to pay for your injuries, you can always file a workers’ claim lawsuit and fight for your compensation. The problem is that not all workers are covered by workers’ compensation.
Many of them fall between the cracks, and those who qualify, get about 21% of the lost wages and medical expenses for illnesses or injuries. You won’t qualify for workers’ compensation if you work for yourself, if you’re paid by commission, or if you’re an independent contractor. You may also not qualify if you live in Texas because it’s the only state where worker’s compensation insurance is optional.
Get Workplace Private Disability Insurance
Workplace private disability insurance comes in both short-term and long-term. Most large companies still provide this insurance for their employees, but many of them lower the payouts and give employees the option to purchase more by themselves.
A short-term insurance plan will require you to be out of work for 8 to 15 days before you can take your payout. Some plans could pay a hundred percent of your salary. The long-term disability plan takes about 3 to 6 months before you can collect the benefits.
Create a Budget
If you have an emergency fund, then it would go a long way toward covering your expenses. However, it turns out that about 53% of people don’t have a rainy-day fund. About 46% of people say that if faced with an emergency expense resulting in $400, they wouldn’t be able to cover it unless they asked for help.
Once you find that you’re unable to work, one of the best things you can do is create yourself a bare-bones budget. One that will allow you to just cater for your bare necessities. Budget for things like groceries, rent, transportation, and insurance.
If you find that you have bills you’re unable to cater for, be upfront and honest with your lenders or service providers. A lot of them will be understanding and will give you a leeway until you’re able to get back to work. Most service providers can set up alternative payment plans as long as you work it out with them without hiding.
Use Coupons If You Can
If you’re having a hard time meeting your needs, you can save a lot by using coupons. Most grocery stores have apps that will allow you to add digital coupons to their loyalty cards.
Your family members can have their own cards for the same account, which will lead to even larger savings. Other stores may give you cashback for buying certain items.
Eliminate Non-Essential Expenses
Now that you’re having difficulty working, it’s crucial for you to sacrifice some non-essential expenses. Evaluate your subscriptions and other expenses that you can do without.
You may be surprised at how much monthly expenses you incur once you decide to cancel them. For now, you may also want to exclude fine dining at restaurants and start cooking at home. Avoid frequent coffee shop trips or gym memberships that you may not be able to attend right now.
Apply for Other Government Programs
Apart from disability insurance policies, you may also benefit greatly from certain government programs. Now that you’re unable to work check the State Unemployment Insurance program to see what benefits you may be able to get. The government also has programs that help people pay bills such as energy costs, medical expenses, prescription medication, and telephone.
Check the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides a wide variety of food to low-income families. You can also check the low-income Home Energy Assistance Program that helps people pay the heating and cooling bills.
They also offer weather reservation assistance by fixing drafty windows and doors and repairing air conditioners that don’t work. There are qualifications that need to be met for these programs, so check for eligibility.
What to Do If You’re Unable to Work
If you find yourself in a position that renders you unable to work, these are some of the things you can do to get financial aid. Check what insurance policies you qualify for and government programs that may be able to help you.
That said, please check out our blog section for more valuable information.