A disability has huge financial implications that few are prepared for. Without working to obtain a steady income, workers may fall behind on payments. About 77 percent of consumers said they would not be able to pay their bills for more than a year without an income, according to the Council for Disability Awareness.
However, the time they are out of work is often more than two years, according to the CDA.
With the need for financial protection, Disability Insurance Awareness Month highlights the the importance of coverage in case you are unable to work. If you have to spend days away from the office, coverage for disabilities could give you the funds you need to pay your bills.
Here are 10 expenses you need to prepare for in case of a disability:
1. Medical Costs
Once you experience a disability, you may be required to visit specialists, perform more medical tests and buy medications to help you recover and treat their condition. Without enough funds in your savings or resorting to putting charges on your credit card, you could go into medical debt. About 43 million consumers have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
2. Loss of Income
Not only do you have to cope with piling medical bills stemming from your injury or illness, you also have to deal with income losses from missing work and recovering. The loss of several paychecks is not to be taken lightly depending on how long you are out of work.
3. Utility Bills
A leave of absence from work may make it harder to pay for gas, heating and electricity. Be sure to have enough emergency savings to cover potentially months worth of utility bills.
4. Rent or Mortgage
Housing is usually the biggest expense for consumers. You could risk eviction or foreclosure if you fall behind on your rent or mortgage. Since a disability stretching for 2.6 years could equal 135 weeks of missed paychecks, CDA stated, you may have to dip into your savings to pay for your housing.
5. Internet and Phone
Another common monthly bill to account for is the services provided by your Internet and phone company. You could choose to cut your services package or switch to a lower-cast plan.
6. Food Expenditures
With a change in your budget and your health situation, you may need to either reduce your food and dining out expenses. Depending on your recommendations by your doctor, you might have to switch to a special diet to accommodate your medical condition.
7. Transportation and Gas
You will need to take into consideration how you will get to and from doctor's appointments, the pharmacy and other places. If you find a car is too expensive, you might opt to take public transportation instead.
Although insurance - health, car, home, renter's and other policies - is a small amount of your regular payments, it's still an expense you need to take into consideration. Add up how much you will require in cash reserves to stay current on insurance.
9. Child Care
If your condition means more child care services, you should also budget for this higher cost. Determine whether you will need someone else to watch over your children while you are at doctor's appointment or other engagements.
10. Fees and Interest
While you could put all your household bills on your credit cards, this may be an unsustainable way to pay your expenses. Not only do you have to deal with rising payments from interest, you also risk having fees from overdrawing on your limit.
Through the proper coverage for necessary costs, you could get back on the job quicker without the added stress of bills piling up in the background.