How to Survive Financially Through a Disability

••• Jupiterimages/ Images

As if dealing with a disability wasn't difficult enough, many people find that they have financial problems if the disability prevents them from working. Take action now to find ways to supplement your income; do not wait until your savings have run out. Get help with your medical bills and living expenses through workers' compensation, disability insurance and Social Security disability benefits. Then, take measures to live well on a reduced budget.

File for Social Security disability benefits if your disability is long-term. You must wait at least four months for an initial decision and some people may wait for two years or even longer, according to The Social Security and Disability Resource Center. File your claim immediately to begin the process.

Visti your company's human resources department if you were injured at work or became ill as a result of your job. They can help you file a workers' compensation claim. Workers' compensation will pay a portion of your wages and any medical bills directly associated with work-related medical conditions.

File a claim with your disability insurance company, if you have one. Contact your human resources department if you are unsure if your employer offers this insurance. Some people also purchase disability insurance on their own, without using an employer's plan. Disability insurance may be short-term or long-term. It may help cover a portion of your bills and other expenses.

Draw up a new budget after you have determined the amount of income you will receive from workers' compensation and disability insurance. Write a list of bills and expenses that you have to pay, such as rent or a mortgage. Make another list of expenses you can cut from your budget, such as restaurant dinners, cable TV and an extraneous phone line. Evaluate your emergency savings and other income to determine how long it may last with your new budget.

Contact your creditors. Negotiate a lower interest rate with your credit card company. Contact the lenders of your loans and request a deferment or a lower monthly payment. Explain that you are disabled and are living on a reduced income.

Seek help from local or national assistance programs. Apply for Food Stamps and the low income energy assistance program for help with your utilities. Contact your local churches for help finding programs to help you pay for prescriptions or to find local free clinics.


  • Depending on your specific medical condition, you may ask your employer if you can temporarily fill a different position within the company. For example, if you used to work on your feet all day, there may be a different position that allows you to sit down.