It's human nature to take our health for granted -- especially when we are young. But major debilitating illnesses or disability due to an accidental injury can happen to anyone in La Crosse or elsewhere. Are you financially prepared for a disability?
According to the Social Security Administration, if you are 20 years old, you have about a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before you retire. Your chance of becoming disabled increases as you age. The average age of a person receiving disability benefits from Social Security is 53. Today nearly 153 million workers are insured through the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
Knowledgeable experts offer steps for people to take if they have a major accident with injuries or the sudden onset of a disease. These four actions could make the difference in your quality of life and prevent bankruptcies that are common among those with disabilities.
- Make a budget in you don't already have one. Itemize the absolute necessities and avoid withdrawing money from retirement savings. Pay down any debt as soon as possible.
- Cut costs and look for ways to assist in your living expenses. There are a host of resources, such as food pantries, which you can use.
- Look for additional sources of income. Many people carry disability insurance that will take effect after three or six months. You can also apply for supplemental security income if you are not yet retirement age.
- Don't let your health insurance lapse. Keep making the payments. After 24 months of receiving SSDI benefits, an individual will become eligible for Medicare. Until then your health insurance is critical. If you are uninsured there are a host of other options available.
We have car insurance in case of an accident, which many of us never use. Disability insurance is also a good idea, even if you never use it. It you are one of the three in 10 individuals who become disabled before you retire, you may need every financial asset that is available including Social Security Disability benefits and private disability insurance benefits.
Source: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Financial steps millennials to baby boomers need to know to prepare for disability," April 30, 2012