How to Save (and Make) Money When You Have a Disability
Living with a disability is expensive. You may have tougher time maintaining a stable income. Factor in doctor visits, therapy sessions, medication, and accessibility equipment and your living expenses can quickly skyrocket.
But it’s not all bleak! By investing time into developing your financial literacy, you can cut corners and save money, not to mention make a little extra for yourself to enjoy. Here are some things to get you started, from buying cheaper drugs at international or Canadian pharmacies to saving and freelancing.
Understand your benefits
This might be obvious, but sifting through the jargon of government and corporate bureaucracies can be complex or just plain boring, and many people give up before fully understanding everything. Make sure you take advantage of all the support you’re entitled to! Be proactive and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.
The USA.gov website provides authoritative, easy-to-read information on topics such as financial support for individuals with disability, insurance and benefits, and general health information. There are also numerous financial programs for those with disabilities.
Apply for an ABLENow account
Before 2014, if an American with disabilities had more than a certain amount of savings, they were deemed ineligible for disability assistance. This changed with the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act. Eligible individuals can now save more money with an ABLE account, which is a tax-advantaged savings account. You can learn more about the program on the official website.
Buy cheaper, generic drugs
Medication is expensive. Ways to save money on your medicine include:
- Buying generic. According to the FDA, “generic medicines work the same as brand-name medicines.” In other words, there is practically no difference between a generic drug and a brand-name one – except, perhaps, its price.
- Buying international. Countries with more strictly regulated pharmaceutical industries sell drugs at significantly lower prices. While buying anything online requires a little extra awareness of what constitutes a scam, Canadian pharmacy referral services like RxConnected and CanadianMedCenter offer affordable products that meet rigorous safety regulations.
When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact a pharmacy website directly; a legitimate company should be happy to address your questions and concerns. You can also visit your neighborhood’s community clinic for lower-cost medical care.
Take advantage of employment support
Living with a disability doesn’t mean you have to be unemployed. There are numerous resources designed specifically for people with disabilities to increase their chances of finding a job. For example, the federal government has a separate hiring process for people with disabilities who qualify
Freelance/Market your skills
Who says you can’t be your own boss? Thanks to the web, everyone with an internet connection has access to an enormous marketplace. If you have a disability, freelancing can give you enormous flexibility, allowing you to work whenever you want, wherever you want, and however much you want.
Have a bizarre talent or idea? Places like Fiverr allow people to earn $5 for doing something as simple as holding up a sign with a client’s logo or something more complex like graphic design, writing, and more. Other gigs people with limited mobility, motor skills, or other impediments can do include:
- Coding and programming
- Creating and selling artwork
- Freelance writing
- Completing surveys
- Writing product reviews
Check out freelancer sites like UpWork and Simply Hired for more ideas.
Earn money AND give back to your community
Want to spread awareness about your disability? Publications are constantly looking for unique perspectives. They love to hear from folks who know about disability and have actually experienced it. Anything from the health section of Huffington Post to TheMighty offers viable outlets for educating others. If you’re interested in a more in-depth social work career, consider one in counselling or psychotherapy for others with disabilities.
Living with a disability shouldn’t hinder you from enjoying the finer things in life or from pursuing a fantastic career. Take advantage of the tools out there and start saving today!