Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Cost of a Stroke

by Marylee Nunley, Executive Director
Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp

Anyone who has had life interrupted by a stroke likely knows that it comes with a price. Sometimes a very high “price”. There are many things in life that pose challenges for us. Among the top things on that list is when personal finances take a hit. Stroke is one of those things that arrives quite without warning, interrupting life as you’ve known it and causing a complete re-frame of “normal”. Of course, care for the stroke survivor is primary at onset, but it doesn’t take long before the financial challenges start to appear. This is especially true if the stroke occurs while the patient is still working. Some employers have short and long term disability insurance and often folks have taken out their own policies, but the vast majority of people suffering a stroke while still working will take an enormous financial hit.

A recent article from Stroke Smart Magazine provides some good information about where the money goes with relationship to stroke. It can be mind boggling to see the actual cost incurred at a time you are already vulnerable. To see the entire article click on the pie chart.

Need a Budget Worksheet?

I have included a link below called "Family Budget Worksheet" that will take you to an online site that you can use to set up a personal budget to help you see how your finances can be managed.  Maybe you already have a budget set up, but if not, then you might find this tool useful. It is an easy-to-use printable budget worksheet. This site also has several other different worksheets you can start out with, or you can even create your own. All of these worksheets are fully customizable. The "Family Budget Worksheet" that the link below will take you to is ready for you to use right now. Click here to go to ->> Family Budget Worksheet
If you decide use the worksheet, make sure you "bookmark" it or make it a "favorite" in your browser so that you can easily return to it later. The site asks you to register for free so you might want to do that also so that you don't lose your work and have to re-enter everything.   

What About Government Financial Assistance? 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two programs that provide financial assistance for those who are unable to work.

The first is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal assistance program to help seniors and the disabled who have little or no income on their own. This program is not funded by Social Security taxes but by general tax revenues.  The SSI program provides recipients with money for everyday needs such as clothing, food, and shelter. Follow this link to Social Security's SSI page ->>  Supplemental Security Income Home Page

The second program is called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is funded through payroll taxes and provides supplemental income to people who are physically disabled and their eligible family members. Because SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes, recipients must qualify by showing the government they’ve been working for a certain amount of time and have contributed to Social Security taxes over the years. Follow this link to Social Security's SSDI page ->> Qualify for SSDI Benefits

There are two books that we have found to be very helpful for those who are seeking this avenue for financial assistance. They are:

One is "Nolo’s Guide to Social Security Disability: Getting & Keeping Your Benefits" by David A. Morton III, M.D. This book may be found locally at your nearest book store or online. Call your local book store and ask if they have it in stock. For online searches, use the book title and you'll get several sites with offers ranging from $11 to $40 depending on if the media is paperback or e-Book. 
The other is "How To Get SSI and Social Security Disability: An insider’s Step by Step Guide" by Mike Davis. Again, do a search on the whole title and you'll get a list of site to order from. For this book, you can click on the image at the right and it will take you to where the book is listed at around $10.

Here’s hoping this article will be helpful to anyone dealing with the effects of stroke in the early stages. As time goes on and life settles down, you may want to consider the job of applying for long-term disability.

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