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If you’ve just suffered a severe injury, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. How will you pay your bills? When can you return to work? Where will you get the medical care you need? Do I have the proper amount of insurance? These may not be the first questions that come to mind after an accident or other serious incident. However, taking stock of your finances is one of the most important steps you can take afterward. Let’s discuss these 5 financial steps to take after a serious injury.
Serious injuries can dramatically impact one’s financial security, so taking these measures upfront helps avoid post-injury difficulties down the road. Read on for advice on managing your money after a serious injury.
1. Find Out What You’re Entitled To
Serious injuries can leave you unable to work for months or even years. If your situation is long-term, you may be entitled to government benefits such as Social Security Disability and Medicaid. These programs vary by state, but in general, Social Security Disability provides payments to people who earn below a certain income threshold.
Be sure to file the appropriate paperwork to initiate the claims process as soon as possible likewise, if workman’s compensation insurance covers you or your loved ones, file for those benefits as quickly as possible. The earlier you file, the sooner you can receive payments.
2. Create A Financial Safety Net
If you’re experiencing a long-term injury, you may need to make significant changes to your budget to account for the extra costs associated with your situation. Healthcare costs can be extremely high, whether you’re paying out of pocket or through insurance, so you’ll want to factor this into your finances. Another area to examine is your living expenses.
If you’re unable to work, you may need to change your living situation or scale back on expenses. One way to prepare for these changes is to build a financial safety net.
3. Check Your Insurance Coverage
If you can return to work within a few months, you may only need to make minor adjustments to your budget. On the other hand, if your injury is long-term, you may need to change how you manage your money completely. In either situation, it’s essential to understand your insurance coverage, including any payments you may be entitled to due to the injury.
For example, if you’re injured on the job and are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you may be entitled to a specific monthly payment. Likewise, if you have health insurance and use a health care provider, ask which providers take your insurance.
If you don’t know which providers take your insurance, you’ll be unable to make informed decisions about where to go for treatment. For injury therapy and recovery, you can ask your insurance provider if you are covered for something like an AFO brace for foot drop.
4. Set Up A Repayment Plan
In many cases, people who suffer a serious injury cannot work for an extended period. Payments usually delay, but in some cases, you may not receive these payments immediately. If this is the case, you may want to apply for a loan or take out a line of credit.
Alternatively, you may want to set up a payment plan with your healthcare providers. You may be able to negotiate a lower payment or payment plan with your insurance providers as well. Be sure to talk with all of your providers about payment options, and set up a repayment plan that enables you to pay back your debt over time.
5. Protect Your Credit Rating
A serious injury can wreak havoc on your financial situation, but it can also have a long-lasting negative impact on your credit rating. If you have a financial obligation and aren’t able to make timely payments, your credit rating could suffer. One way to protect your credit rating is to put funds in a credit protection plan.
This service will pay a credit card company if you cannot make payments on a credit card due to an injury-related financial burden. Credit protection plans vary by provider, so research which providers offer this service. Likewise, consider setting up a payment plan with your financial lenders and ensure that you stick to it.
While a serious injury can be stressful and overwhelming, you can take steps to minimize its impact on your finances. Find out what benefits you’re entitled to, create a financial safety net, and check your insurance coverage. Once you have a handle on your finances, you can focus on recovering and getting back on your feet. You can make the most of this challenging situation with extra planning and preparation.
We hope these 5 financial steps to take after a serious injury has helped you. Please call or use the IASTL contact form below for any questions.