How to Protect Yourself Financially From a Disability

Category : legal

Life is unpredictable, and no matter how careful you are about your health and safety, it’s possible to suffer a short-term disability at any time. Even a minor accident or illness could keep you out of work for months. To protect yourself and your family financially, you should take several proactive steps.

Create an Emergency Fund

Saving is never easy, but it’s important to put aside some money from every paycheck to create an emergency fund. The amount isn’t as important as the regularity. Even a small biweekly contribution can accumulate over time to a significant amount.

Then, don’t touch the money unless there’s a real emergency. If you do have to miss work because of a short-term disability, you’ll have the funds to keep paying your bills. If you’re fortunate to never use it, you’ll have a nice nest egg someday.

Evaluate Your Insurance Needs

Check with your employer to see what types of insurance may help you out in case of a short-term disability. The two most common work benefits are short-term disability and workers’ compensation. An injury on the job may entitle you to workers’ compensation.

If you are injured off the job or you experience illness, then disability insurance may cover you. Coverage varies, but it could pay half or more of your salary if you’re out of work for up to a year. Your employer may provide the insurance at no cost or with low-cost premiums, so consult with your HR department.

Keep Your Debt Low

Disability pay might cover the basics, such as rent and utilities, but if you have high debt, you may still struggle financially. Credit card debt is the worst because of the high interest rates. If you’re only able to make the minimum payment each month because you’re out of work, your balance could skyrocket. Plan now to eliminate the credit card debt balance and keep it low enough to pay off each month. That way, if something happens that puts you in a financial crunch, you won’t be adding to the pain with high debt.

Planning for the worst isn’t always on your mind, especially if you’re young and healthy. But that’s precisely the best time to get your finances in order. Emergencies happen without warning, and you can get through them with peace of mind if you are well prepared.

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