Best Ways to Save While Waiting for Disability Benefits
It’s no secret: If you’re a military veteran currently waiting for disability benefits, you could be waiting for a while. There are only so many things you can do to speed up the process, and the time and bureaucracy needed to get things done can be frustrating, to say the least.
On top of the frustrations of waiting for the disability benefits they’ve earned, many vets also suffer the added stress of trying to make ends meet before their benefits kick in. Your options may be limited, but here are five things you can do to keep financially stable while awaiting your disability benefits.
1. Stick to a Budget
Strong discipline is a characteristic most military people share, so it’s time to put that discipline to good use by creating and sticking to a budget.
Adhering to a budget is sound advice for anyone, really, but can be particularly helpful if you’re trying to save while waiting for your disability benefits to kick in. A number of tips and tricks can help you maintain a budget, including obvious things such as not spending money you don’t have or cutting back on your Starbucks habit.
Another good one is to use cash. Leave enough money in your bank account to cover your monthly expenses, and use cash for any day-to-day purchases that may come up. When there is no more cash left in your wallet, you’ve done enough spending.
2. Sell Things You Don’t Need
Like most people, chances are you have at least a few things lying around the house that you don’t use or don’t need. One way to make some extra cash and ease your financial strain is to sell such items to others who may have a need for them.
There are many ways to go about this. If you have any high-end items such as antiques or artwork that you’d like to part with, an auction house is a good option. If you have clothing or accessories that still hold decent value, consider using a consignment shop.
Further, if you have just a handful of useful items you’d like to unload, consider selling them online via classifieds sites such as Craigslist or social media such as Facebook. If you have a large supply of things you’d like to sell, considering hosting a good old fashioned yard or garage sale.
3. Learn to be Positive Yet Frugal
First, it’s important to realize that you aren’t alone. About 22 million veterans live in the U.S., including 1.6 million that served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that 1.6 million, 45 percent are seeking disability payouts for injuries suffered while they served.
Like anything in life, you should only worry about what you can personally control, and one thing you can definitely control is the way you spend the money you do have.
One easy way to do this is to become frugal when it comes to grocery shopping. Try to go to supermarkets that sell basic items at lower prices, such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s. Also clip, save and use coupons for items you know you’re going to need.
A final grocery-shopping tip for anyone, not just veterans: Try not to shop while you’re hungry, for it could lead to unwanted and unnecessary impulse buys.
4. Find Some Work
It’s not always easy for people with disabilities to find a job, but there are certainly options. For example, the official website of the American Disabilities Act often publishes temporary jobs specifically for those with disabilities.
There are countless other ways to make some extra cash on a temporary basis. You could care for the children of friends or family members during the day while they’re at work. You could serve as a house-sitter, helping people maintain their homes while they’re away on vacations for extended periods.
If you have crafty talents, consider selling them. This could include anything from freelance writing to creating and selling art, crafts or accessories online on sites such as Etsy.
5. Seek Additional Help
Sometimes even those with the best intentions need some help from outsiders, and if you’re struggling to keep afloat financially, you have options.
For example, contact the Department of Health and Human Services and see if you qualify for any state or federal assistance. This could be help with groceries via food stamps, help with medical costs or other financial assistance.
If you’re awaiting disability benefits, the process could be lengthy — the average current waiting time for most vets to receive a disability rating is 24 months. That can be a long time to wait and get by financially, but just know that you do have options to help make and save money until you receive the benefits you deserve.