Before I went off to college, my parents wanted to make sure I was sound financially. To do so, they registered me for a disability pension.
Disability pensions can be obtained through a social services department (or your equivalent) and offer a set amount of money, usually based on the applicant’s income and disability, which is given monthly to go towards housing, medical bills, and other expenses.
If you’re thinking of applying for a disability pension, there are a couple helpful hints you should know before you start. First, there are long wait lists for pensions, so start the application process as early as possible. Second, you’ll need to gather a lot of documentation before filling anything out. Get medical records, tax receipts, mortgage statements; any bit of information you think will get you the money you’re looking for. If you need help, don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer or family doctor.
At first, the disability pension will seem like a lot of extra money, and it is, but it can be spent fast if you aren’t careful. During my first couple of months with a pension, while I was still at home, I thought it was great to be able to buy more books, movies, and other things I enjoy. The excess purchases quickly stopped when I got to college, and had to find money for rent, food, and bus fare.
It is important to maintain a budget with a disability pension. One helpful trick is to plan for regular appointments. Make a monthly schedule of medical appointments, work, and other outings, and immediately set aside the appropriate funds.
If you are dependent on parents or guardians, use your money to give back from time to time. Not only does paying for groceries or the occasional meal look good on paper, it allows you to contribute something, and is a way of thanking those who have helped you out.
Examples of disability pensions:
- Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/ This is what I have.
- Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs (SSDI/SSI) http://www.ssa.gov/disability/
Next month: Transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare, and becoming your own advocate.
DISCLAIMER: The legal details associated with some of the following topics apply to my personal experiences, and may differ from state to state. Consult with local professionals for specifics.