Holiday presents, decorations and entertaining enhance the season. These extra expenses can strain anyone’s budget, though, especially disabled people who live on a fixed income or face high medical and other expenses. Consider 10 discount and money-saving tips that help your disabled loved one reduce financial strain and save money during the holidays and year-round.
A one-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania costs an average of $759 reports BestPlaces. For a disabled person, paying rent each month can be challenging.
Disabled individuals may qualify for a housing voucher through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Also known as Section 8, this savings option allows your loved one to retain independence and save money on housing costs.
Your loved one may also benefit from house sharing. A roommate pays part of the rent and other housing costs and provides invaluable companionship.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that the average adult spent between $166-$372 on groceries per month in 2014. When money is tight, even the most basic groceries can be too expensive for your loved one to afford easily.
Depending on income, your loved one may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It provides money each month for food purchases at many grocery stores, discount stores and even farmers markets.
Research assistance through local food banks and the Salvation Army, too. Also, nearby churches and community organizations may also offer free community meals and other resources that stretch your loved one’s food budget.
Even if your loved one receives rent assistance, he or she may be responsible for gas, oil, water, trash, phone and electric bills. These costs add up quickly.
Receive financial assistance for utility bills through several organizations.
With these resources, utility bills and financial pressure decrease.
With a landline or cell phone, your loved one stays in touch with family, friends and doctors. A phone bill can be expensive, however.
That’s where the Lifeline discount comes in handy. It’s a $9.25 credit for landline or cell phone service and is available to anyone who meets certain income requirements or receives Medicaid, food stamps, SSI or Section 8 Housing. Your loved one can use this discount to stay connected.
5. Medical Treatment
Programs such as Social Security Disability and Medicaid can provide invaluable financial resources for medical treatment. However, your loved one may not be eligible for these programs or may be responsible to cover copays, prescriptions or specialized treatment.
Research available help from several organizations.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation
- Catholic Charities
- Patient Services, Inc.
- Dental Lifeline
Prescription medication and copay assistance for qualified patients
Medical bill assistance
Insurance premium and medical bill assistance for patients with certain conditions
Dental care for disabled seniors
These resources can assist your loved one in receiving quality medical treatment or financial assistance paying medical bills.
6. Reading Resources
Reading provides numerous brain and entertainment benefits. Your loved one gains access to novels, biographies, non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines and audiobooks for free through several organizations.
- Library Ask about free mobile librarian service to a residence and free online audio book downloads.
- National Library Service (NLS) Receive free braille and talking books in the mail or via downloads through this service provided by the Library of Congress.
- NFB-NEWSLINE Read daily newspapers, explore retail ads and discover the weather forecast through this free service provided by the National Federation of the Blind. The material is accessible online, through a mobile app or on portable players.
Your loved one may long to explore the United States or visit a local theater, museum, theme park, zoo or aquarium. Admission prices may exceed your loved one’s budget, though.
The National Park Service offers a free Access Pass to U.S. citizens with permanent disabilities. It provides the pass holder and everyone in his vehicle with free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites and includes discounts on camping, swimming and other facilities and services.
Additionally, you can ask other recreational sites if they offer a disability discount, which allows you to save money as you enjoy a variety of entertainment and recreation.
Many people with disabilities are able to drive, but transportation costs can add up when visiting loved ones, friends or medical professionals who live or practice far away. In these cases, discounted travel can stretch a budget and enhance your loved one’s quality of life.
Explore Pennsylvania or the United States by train. Amtrak gives disabled adult passengers a 15 percent discount on rail fare, and disabled child passengers receive the regular 50 percent child discount plus the 15 percent disability discount. Additionally, one travel companion receives a 15 percent discount.
For medical treatment transportation, ask the nonprofit hospital or medical transportation organization if they participate with Southwest Airlines' Medical Transportation Grant Program. In 2017, it provided $4 million in free transportation.
Local public transportation may also offer discounts to disabled people, and the doctor's office in some areas provides concierge service with free or discounted transport to medical appointments. With these transportation discounts, your loved one can afford to see the country, travel for medical treatment or visit beloved friends and family.
The Statistic Brain Research Institute found that 81 percent of consumers access online banking at least once a year. This feature does make banking more accessible to someone with a disability and is usually free.
Find additional free banking resources through Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo. These free services include:
- Braille and large print statements
- Raised line print checks
- Talking ATMs
- Audio recordings of printed material, including statements and terms of service
- Online bill pay
- Access to reader services
When your loved one utilizes these free banking resources, he or she gains financial empowerment.
10. Home Modifications
Your loved one may wish to retain independence at home. The house may need a long list of modifications, though, before it is safe and supportive.
Several organizations in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. offer free or reduced home modification assistance. Access these grants or loans to afford important home improvements like wheelchair ramps, doorway widening, grab bars and handrails and assistive technologies that support your loved one’s independence.
These resources are a few of many programs that offer free or discounted services that improve your loved one’s quality of life and independence. We also provide invaluable home modification assistance and stand ready to support your loved one. Contact us today by calling (610) 518-2221 or using our online contact form. for more assistance and additional tips and discounts that ease your disabled loved one's financial strain during the holidays and year-round.