Individuals with Disabilities: 5 Tips for Crafting Your Financial Plan

Christopher Currin

CFP®, ChSNC®, Client Advisor


Discover five strategies that can help individuals with disabilities manage their medical expenses through financial planning.

5 Tips for Crafting Your Financial Plan

In the U.S., approximately one in four adults live with a disability, underscoring the need for tailored support services and regular medical care.1 While these provisions can significantly enhance quality of life, they can also incur substantial cost; to maintain a normal standard of living, a household with a disabled member may require as much as 29% more income. Additionally, individuals with disabilities often face greater challenges in covering their medical bills, which highlights the need for proactive financial planning.

1. Maximize health insurance coverage
Understand the terms of your health insurance plan, including copayments and limitations for services and equipment. Contact an insurance representative to clarify the details regarding in-network providers, therapy coverage, equipment expenses, and more.

2. Leverage government assistance
Explore programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to round out your health insurance coverage. Medicaid functions differently in every state, so research the eligibility criteria and available resources. SSI provides monthly payments to individuals who have limited income and resources.

3. Develop a realistic budget
Create a budget tailored to your needs by assessing previous expenses and anticipating future costs. Additional medical spending is likely, so prioritize having enough savings for unexpected bills. Streamline spending for nonessential purposes and redirect those funds for emergencies.

4. Open a savings account
Set up a bank account that’s dedicated to unexpected expenses, such as an equipment repair or medical procedure. An automatic savings plan can facilitate regular contributions, thereby ensuring financial preparedness without the need for constant monitoring. If savings exceed $2,000, however, it may interfere with your eligibility for means-tested benefits. An ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) account provides some relief: an individual with disabilities can save for retirement through a tax-advantaged account that allows contributions for disability-related expenses, with no impact on SSI benefits. Visit the websites for Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service to learn more about ABLE account eligibility and contribution limits.

5. Create incapacity documents
Medical directives, medical power of attorney, and durable power of attorney are important for ensuring the continuance of care. A power of attorney gives someone you choose the power to act on your behalf when you’re unable to do so. A medical directive is a legal document that specifies the actions that should be taken when you’re unable to make decisions for yourself due to illness or incapacity.

By following these tips, individuals with disabilities can navigate financial challenges more effectively, ensure they have access to essential medical services, and secure their long-term financial well-being. A wealth advisor who has experience with special-needs clients and their families can be helpful in optimizing the tax benefits and financial support that are available for comprehensive care. If you have questions or need assistance in setting up a financial plan for someone who has a disability, let’s talk.

1 “8 facts about Americans with disabilities,” Pew Research Center, July 24, 2023.

Mercer Advisors Inc. is a parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”) is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Some of the research and ratings shown in this presentation come from third parties that are not affiliated with Mercer Advisors. The information is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed or warranted by Mercer Advisors.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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