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by Ed Carter
There are almost as many types of disabilities as there are individuals. Disabilities can range from a physical impairment, such as severe scoliosis, to issues relating to cognitive decline. An individual may be born with a disability, or it may be due to an accident as is the case with many veterans injured in action. One thing remains the same, however, regardless of the disability or reason behind it: an uncertain financial future.
Medicare a Good Start
When you reach 65, regardless of your disability status, you become eligible for Medicare. This government-run program offers seniors access to quality medical care and provides a collection of health tests and wellness visits with no out-of-pocket costs. Depending on whether you currently receive Social Security benefits, you will either be automatically enrolled or must manually enroll. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 until December 7.
If you have yet to reach Medicare age, you may be eligible for Social Security disability or supplemental security income, the latter of which is only available for low-income individuals.
Veterans and Caregivers
If you are a veteran, you’ll have special access to benefits through the VA that can help you select and pay for home and community-based care. You are also entitled to care provided in a skilled nursing facility if and when you are no longer able to remain at home. The VA offers help with advanced care planning and programs that promote well-being regardless of your age or disability. The VA’s guide to long-term services and support offers extensive information on how to stay healthy and locate necessary services to accommodate your physical condition.
In some instances, you may be eligible for veteran directed home and community-based services programs, which provide provisions to compensate home caregivers. Your local Veterans Affairs office can help you and your caregivers determine your eligibility. This is an invaluable program for caregivers who wish to play a hands-on role in your care but cannot afford to completely lose their income to do so.
Saving for the Future
No matter your age, it’s never too late to start saving and planning for the future. Caregivers may have the option of setting up a family special needs trust or a pooled trust. According to FreeAdvice.com, a pooled trust must be established by a registered non-profit agency but comes with the benefit of allowing friends, family, and the beneficiary to contribute.
Investments are also an option and, when done responsibly, can provide a high rate of return to help you or your disabled loved one pay for comfort and care now and down the road. Investments range from low-risk savings bonds and money market accounts to more high-risk options, including aggressive stocks. Many lending experts advocate low- to medium-risk investments, including peer-to-peer lending and treasury inflation-protected securities.
Perhaps one of the best financial plans, however, is purchasing real estate for personal use. Real estate tends to appreciate, meaning a home purchased today will likely be worth significantly more 10 years from now. In order to reap the most financial benefits, pay the least interest and ensure available equity is to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible.
Having a disability makes the future feel uncertain. However, through federal and community programs, smart investing, and utilizing your current assets, you or your loved one can enjoy financial stability, medical care, and all the comforts that go along with both.
Author: Over the years, 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. Regardless of their nature or how long they’ve affected someone, physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Many people are unaware of just how many options they have when it comes to financial assistance and planning, so Ed created AbleFutures.org to help people with disabilities prepare for a secure and stable financial future.