What to Do If You Become Disabled: 10 Steps to Take

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Did you know that 61 million American adults have some form of disability?

Life works in mysterious ways, and there’s no telling when misfortune will strike. Most of the time, it’s when you’re least prepared for it. But what matters more is what you do afterward.

Don’t give up!

With this guide, you’ll learn about the important steps to take if you suddenly become disabled. Read on and find out more.

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  1. Take Your Time Coping as a Disabled Person

Unexpected accidents or illnesses ending in disabilities can make you feel like your life has ended. It causes you to undergo sudden and drastic changes. This can leave you overwhelmed, frightened, and frustrated with your life.

That’s why when it comes to dealing with any disability, your first step is to deal with these emotions. You must make peace with your anger, grief, and other negativity you may feel. Don’t let anyone rush you into springing back into action before you feel ready.

Taking all the necessary time to process your disability is critical to your future wellbeing. Set your terms and recovery timeline. Deal with the consequences of the tragedy at your own pace.

  1. Check Disability Assistance

Both companies and government agencies come with various types of disability assistance programs. This holds true regardless of whether the company is public or private.

These programs are there to help you with all the emotional, physical, and financial hurdles your disability provides. Here are some examples of assistance you might consider:

Workers’ Compensation

Check this if your disability happened because of a workplace accident. That way, you’ll find out whether you’re qualified to get medical, cash, and long-term disability benefits.

Social Security Disability

SSDI or SSI disability benefits come from the government. If you can’t work because of your disability, you get a set monthly amount to ensure you pay for your living expenses.

Take note that these aren’t the only ones you can use. Consider other types of assistance by checking the local and state programs available in your area. For example, the New York Mayor’s Office has available resources related to housing, transportation, and other social services for people with disabilities.

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  1. Get Legal Assistance

People who unexpectedly become disabled require legal help. This is to ensure that they can easily get all the requirements processed. That way, the application process for different programs and benefits goes smoothly.

You’ll need lawyers to help you look for disability benefits. This includes both income and medical care. It’s crucial to find the right attorney since they’ll deal with the cause of your disability and the issues caused by it with the utmost efficiency.

For example, you could get a lawyer to help file a lawsuit implicating the cause of the disability. This is to ensure that you get proper compensation for the damages done to your body. You also need a lawyer if you want to appeal an undesirable decision for your Social Security, insurance, or workers’ compensation.

No matter what you need, a legal advocate’s assistance is necessary. That makes adjusting to your new normal more comfortable. Check out this guide to see if you’re eligible to receive SSDI for your disability.

  1. Make a Financial Plan

One of the most pressing concerns of disability is the dramatic change in financial situation. People that unexpectedly become disabled undergo a significant change in their finances. It’s understandable since they can’t work like they used to, meaning they lack the income and resources needed to maintain their living expenses.

That’s why it’s critical to make a financial plan. It must deal with both short and long-term financial necessities, including healthcare and living expenses. Make a household budget to know specific areas that can have reduced spending.

To make the most out of this, discuss your financial situation with a professional financial planner. This helps you know the best methods of covering expenses. They also know the right resources to use first while you think about your choices and get disability benefits.

  1. Take Care of Your Mental Health

Did you know that 40 million American adults suffer from depression every year? That’s why developing any type of disability can become a stressful and anxiety-inducing situation. It matters not whether the disability is short-term or long-term.

Many people who get unexpected disabilities deal with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. With this, you must find the time and effort to deal with these illnesses. Make it a priority to care for your mental wellbeing.

A good place to start is to find a counselor, a therapist, or other professionals specializing in mental health. They play an important role in dealing with all the associated emotional consequences resulting from disabilities. You can also deal with the stress by meditating, discovering new hobbies, or getting involved in a community.

  1. Develop a Support Network

No one expects you to know what to do when you end up becoming disabled. No matter what circumstances you’re in, you must seek help. Get a support network composed of individuals that give you advice, emotional and physical aid, and other assistance necessary to deal with your condition.

Your support network can be anyone you trust, like family members, friends, others with similar situations, therapists, and more. These people can save you from the many issues you’ll experience before you adjust to your condition. Whenever you encounter new hardships, they’ll be there for you.

After finishing your tribulations, give back to the community. Become a part of another person’s support network. Give them the support other people gave you when you first got your condition.

  1. Consult Medical Professionals for Work Eligibility

You must ask for your doctor’s professional assessment to see whether you’re ready to return to your work. They’re likely to examine your current physical situation and compare it with the responsibilities your work requires. They’ll decide whether it’s safe to return to work, making documents guaranteeing your fitness if you are.

Throughout your leave, make sure to maintain contact with your employer. Keeping them apprised of your recovery progress lets them prepare necessary accommodations for your return to work.

Also, talk to your lawyer before you get back to work. Doing this helps you understand your company’s policies regarding long-term disabilities and any laws related to it. That way, you can protect your rights and avoid discrimination.

  1. Make Sure You’re Ready to Work

It’s always necessary to make a realistic assessment of whether you can do your previous duties without making your health deteriorate more. If you go back to work too early, you’re likely to compromise your recovery, leaving your employer in an undesirable position.

After doctors clear you for work, you must also think about whether you’re mentally and emotionally ready for the work routine. Make the necessary accommodations to ensure your transition becomes more tolerable. It’s overwhelming to go back to work after a traumatic injury, especially if it happened at your workplace.

That’s why you must give yourself more quiet breaks to contemplate. If your work allows for it, ask if you’re eligible to work from home until you’re ready. That way, you can ease back into the workplace at your pace.

  1. Use Your Entitled Accommodations

Organize your medical documents and keep them close. This makes it easier for you to inform your employer and clarify what you can do at work. This also allows them to give you reasonable accommodations for the things you’ll need.

Talk to your employer and make clear the possible issues you’ll encounter while working with a disability. This allows both parties to make compromises to resolve issues.

Never hesitate and ask for assistance whenever possible. Remember, your employer wants you to succeed since it benefits them too.

  1. Update Your Resume

If it’s impossible for you to go back to your previous work because of your injuries, it’s time to move on. The first step is to update your resume, including any skills you gained during the time you were out of commission. If you took online courses or acquired other skills or training, be sure to include the details.

Review your skillset after getting any disability. This is important because it helps you make the necessary adjustments to your resume. Think about how these disabilities impact your physical and mental skills.

For example, if your disability impacted your physical abilities the most, shift your resume focus. Highlight your mental strengths like communication and problem-solving skills. This ensures that you remain well-qualified for work.

Learning to Cope If You Become Disabled

These are things you must remember if you unexpectedly become disabled. These steps apply regardless of the circumstances involved.

We hope that this guide helped you prepare for the worst-case scenario and leads you to better days ahead.

Did this post help you? If so, we encourage you to read our other articles for more valuable information.