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Work: Return To

How Would A Return To Work Affect My Finances?

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A return to work will affect everyone's finances differently. However, there are some common elements to consider in addition to whatever may apply to your particular situation.

Consider the following:

What will your income be compared to what it is now?

  • Compare what disability income you're receiving now to what you will receive if you return to work.
  • Keep in mind that in many cases, people returning to work start at lower salaries than they made when they went on disability. What would your situation be? 
  • You can get an idea of what a salary should be for a person who has not taken a break from web sites such as the following:
  • Keep in mind the information on these sites is only a tool and does not necessariliy reflect the job market at the moment you're looking or what a particular employer pays.
  • Be sure to think of the "net" - not just the amount of your paycheck. For instance, think about taxes and other deductions.  

What will the difference in your expenses be?

  • The only expenses that spring to mind that will be lowered by returning to work are the costs of benefits that an employer may pay for. (See the next section about benefits.)
  • On the other hand, expenses may increase. For example:
    • Expenses that may be waived now because of your disability that you will have to start paying again if you returned to work. For instance, if you are not paying life premiums because of a waiver of premium for disability, you will likely have to start paying premiums when you go back to work.
    • The cost of commuting to and from work.
    • The cost of clothes you require because of your work (both to purchase and maintain)
    • Other costs you wouldn't incur except for the job (such as the need for a vacation to deal with the stress.)
    • To get an idea of costs that you may incur that you wouldn't normally think about, see Real Earnings

What will happen to your benefits?

Look at your current benefits, and what will happen to them, as well as the costs of benefits you can obtain by returning to work. To learn more, see Return To Work Effect On Benefits

What will happen to your debt?

  • If you are in debt, a return to work can change the way your debtors view you and/or your situation. If your creditors have been giving you a break because of your disability, this may change with a return to work. If you have amassed debt as a result of your condition, consider reviewing your financial condition with an experienced financial planner or a credit counselor to know what your options are and what you can expect. To learn more, see Credit and Debt.
  • For some tips for living on a reduced income, and some budgeting ideas, see Spending Less.

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