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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Alternatives for obtaining money while on disability include the following. Each topic is discussed in another section of this document:

Contact your local disease specific nonprofit organization to see what programs may be available in your neighborhood. In addition to food banks, there may be thrift shops where you can obtain clothing either free or at greatly reduced prices. There may also be community gardens where you can grow your own vegetables for little or no cost.

Apply For All Benefits For Which You May Qualify

Benefits to check for which you might qualify include: 

Short-Term Disability Income (STD)

If you've just recently left work due to illness and you live in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, or Rhode Island, you may qualify for state-mandated short-term disability income. To learn more, see: Short Term Disability Insurance: State Programs

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Income generally kicks in after five months of continuous, permanent disability. Read our articles on applying for -- and keeping - your benefits. To learn more, see Social Security Disability Insurance 101

Social Security Retirement Income

If you are at least age 62, you might qualify for retirement benefits. You should also make sure you're collecting any benefits for which you might qualify based on the earnings of another person - such as a previous spouse. To learn more, see: Social Security Retirement.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

 If your income and assets are low enough and you are disabled, you might qualify for SSI. SSI doesn't pay much, but it can help. SSI generally comes with health insurance coverage through Medicaid. To learn more, see SSI 101 and Medicaid.

Unemployment Insurance

If your employer fired you for any reason other than gross misconduct (stealing, fighting, etc.), you might qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. You can also use unemployment insurance after being on short-term disability. However, if you're waiting for approval of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applying for unemployment benefits may throw a monkey wrench into the process. To qualify for SSDI, you basically state you are disabled and unable to work. To obtain unemployment you have to state that you are ready, able, and willing to work. To learn more, see: Unemployment Insurance.

Former Employer

If you didn't while you were working, contact your former employer to determine if you were covered by disability income or other benefits plans of your employer, including sick leave, vacation time, and short and long term disability income. 

General Relief

Most counties, parishes, or other local government entities have programs to provide money for people in need. Although the amount is usually severely limited and the duration of benefits is also limited, one of these programs may provide some desperately needed temporary income. Contact your local Welfare or Department of Public Social Services for information about your local programs.

Consider Working From Home Part Time

Thanks to the computer revolution, home based work can allow you to earn money ranging from a little to a lot on your own schedule.

Whether you will be self employed or work for a going business, consider:

  • What your health condition permits you to do physically and emotionally.
  • Are you allowed to work at home?
  • How will you market yourself or your business?
  • Is your home setting appropriate?
  • What work should I do?
  • What you will need to be able to work from home.
  • Contacting your neighbors before moving forward.

Even if you are receiving an income from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are entitled to make some money. You may also be permitted to do some work if you are receiving an income under a disability insurance policy or an employer program. NOTE: Check the details of the program under which you are receiving an income do determine what you can and cannot do before proceeding. It is not worth jeopardizing the income.

Consider New Uses Of Your Assets

Look at all your assets to consider whether you can increase the income from then.

When thinking about whether your assets can produce an income for you, consider:

Bank Accounts

Check to see whether there are insured accounts which will pay a higher rate of interest. For example, check offsite link

Real Estate

You can rent all or part of your residence, even if only renting a bedroom as a bed and breakfast.

Life Insurance

Perhaps you can obtain money from your life insurance policy while you are alive.


Credit may provide money if you need it. If you use credit while on disability, it is preferable to use credit cards that have life insurance attached which will pay off the debt in the event of your demise.

Stocks, Bonds And CDs

You can borrow against these financial instruments while retaining ownership.

Retirement Accounts

You can borrow from most retirement accounts. It is also possible that you will be able to make withdrawals without penalty due to your health condition.

Getting A Bulk Amount From An Income Stream

It is possible to get a bulk amount of cash from an income stream. For example, if you have a contract which unconditionally guarnatees to pay you $10,000 a year for the next five years, financiers will give you a cash settlement today in return for assigning the income to them. If this alternative is of interest ask your banker for sources, and/or search on key words "Structured Settlements" in your favorite search engine. 

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New Uses Of Assets

Find Out If You Qualify For Assistance

If your income is very low, consider applying for food stamps and, if you have children in your household, temporary aid to needy families. To learn about assistance for families with children, see: offsite link

Check with local church or other charitable organizations to see if you can get food from a food pantry. You don't have to be starving - but if you could be evicted because you have to spend money for food instead of rent, don't hesitate to take advantage of these programs. It's what they're there for.

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Food Stamps

Ask Family, Friends and Your Employer For Money

Friends, family members and even your current or former employer might be able to give or loan you money. If you do borrow from a family member, put it in writing and consider offering to pay interest to the person lending you money.

If you collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI), see our information on SSI for the effect, if any, of any loan you may receive.

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