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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.
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Instructions For Completing The Chart: My Cash Flow On Disability

Your Income While on Disability

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Your Job

  • Check your employee handbook for both short term and long term disability income to find out how much your job will pay you (if anything) if you become disabled.
  • If you live in New York, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, or Puerto Rico, your employer is required by law to offer short term income benefits. Employers in other states often offer a similar benefit.
  • If it's additional, add sick pay you haven't taken ("accrued sick pay") or sick benefits that will be paid for a certain number of weeks after disability.

Spouse or Partner Income

Consider whether your spouse's or partner's income might change if you became disabled. Would she or he work less to devote more time to you? Or, could she or he work more to make up for the decrease (if any) in your income? In any event, on the chart, enter an estimate of your spouse's take home pay -- not gross.

Self-employment Income

Even though you are disabled, it is possible that you might still receive self-employment income. If so, include a conservative estimate of the amount you can count on.

Unemployment Income

If you go on disability, you generally can't claim unemployment benefits. To get unemployment benefits, you must state you are able to work.

Private Long-Term Disability Income

If you have a private long-term disability policy, whether through your job or on your own, read it to estimate the amount of your benefit.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If you are qualified or will soon be qualified to receive SSDI, obtain an estimate of your monthly benefit from the Social Security Administration. See Social Security Disability Insurance 101.

If you are covered by both SSDI and a private long-term disability policy, check the private policy to see if there is an offset for Social Security benefits. Many long-term disability income policies provide that your private benefit will be reduced by the amount of your SSDI benefit. If this is the case -- as it is with many long-term disability policies - enter "0" for Social Security Disability.


Most defined-benefit pension style retirement plans allow you beneficiaries to receive a monthly pension in the event of "disability" as defined by the plan. Check your plan to see if this is the case. See Employee Retirement Plan Benefits.

Even though you can often access funds in other types of retirement plans as well, don't include those funds here. Since most disability benefits expire at age 65, it makes sense to keep those funds intact if possible for use during retirement. However, if you have a shortfall, then consider accessing them. You may not have to pay penalties for early withdrawal. See New Uses of Assets: Retirement Plans.

Supplemental Security Income

Read Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to determine whether you might qualify for this government program when your income is lowered due to disability (or even now). If you can qualify, a call to Social Security can give you an idea of the maximum amount for which you qualify. Call 800.772.1213.

Food Stamps

Read Food Stamps to learn about whether or not you might qualify for food assistance when your income is lowered due to disability (or even now).

Other Income

Include in these rows any other steady income that you can expect with near certainty. Examples include rent (which should be included on a net rather than gross basis), alimony, child support, and -- if given regularly -- financial assistance from friends or relatives.

See Increasing Your Income for ideas to bring more money into your household -- both while you are working and if you are on disability.

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