People with disabilities have a lot of expenses that people without disabilities do not. Although there are certain tax breaks the working disabled can get (e.g., Impairment Related Work Expenses), these are deductions, not credits. The overall outlay of funds for a disabled person is higher when all other things are equal. I’d like to presume that as a person with a disability I still deserve the same quality of life as my neighbor without a disability. In addition, I wish I could focus on doing more things, including helping others, instead of worrying about having to pay for my own needs. While I believe that it’s a choice to decide to change your life (and I am working hard towards saving for these things myself!), sometimes it’s fun to fantasize about what I would do if a random $100,000 fell into my lap.
Update (4/29/11) After originally posting this, a friend convinced me to put a donate button on the post, just in case a reader might feel generous. No hurt in asking, right?
1. I would pay off my accessible van.
Accessible vehicles can easily cost an extra $25-30,000. The remaining part of my vehicle loan is around $10,000. If I didn’t have to buy an accessible vehicle, I would no longer be on the hook for that $10,000.
2. I would get an accessible bath tub.
Taking a bath should not be a luxury. Unfortunately, slide-in bath tubs are expensive to buy and install. Putting one in my bathroom would be a top priority.
3. I would get a new wheelchair.
I have always relied on used wheelchairs or demo wheelchairs because my insurance would not buy the exact chair that would suit my needs. So far I have been lucky. But my current chair is starting to show signs of wear. It would be nice to get a new, serviceable, and fully-featured chair that would last me many more years.
4. I would go to physical therapy and tennis lessons more often.
I love physical therapy and tennis. Unfortunately paying for these services can add up quickly. Going once a week to PT and tennis could cost $130 a week out of pocket. My insurance covers a lousy 14 sessions of PT per condition per year. Putting away two years’ worth of PT and tennis expenses will add up.
Cost: $130 x 52 x 2 = $13520.
5. I would make my home totally accessible.
There are a few things about my house that are inconveniently accessible. It would be nice if there was an inside stair lift for my wheelchair to get up to the main level where my sister & her family live. It would also be nice to have outside accessibility to get to their area such that we don’t have to deploy a portable ramp. Between the lift and some minor construction modifications, it could be done for around $5,000.
6. I would save for medical expenses.
I would put away money for unexpected medical costs, long term care, and increased cost of insurance premiums. Although this won’t cover all the future expenses I expect, it will be a nice buffer to remove the immediate “worry” of having to think about where this money might come from.
7. I would donate to charity.
With the remaining $13,480 I would find some deserving charities to spread the money around to. I am fond of the Wheelchair Foundation, Smile Train, and of course the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I do like to donate to these places as often as possible, however with the additional expenses I have it’s difficult to give as much as I would like to.
It’s fun and interesting to think about what you might do with a windfall. What I like about my scenario is that $100,000 is not an unattainable amount of money to get if I put my nose to the grindstone, work harder, and save. This almost makes it more exciting to know that I don’t have to sit around and wait for $100,000 to fall from the sky. I can work and get the same $100,000 eventually and take care of all the things I need.
Of course I wouldn’t avoid trying to catch that $100,000 if I did see it falling!
I completely forgot to mention that I would get a new bed — one that was adjustable. I am thinking it would be something like the Sleep Number bed since I like sleeping on a soft mattress, but I cannot MOVE on a soft mattress. I need a firmer setup to be able to push off and sit up. If it’s too mushy I can’t move at all. I’d have to deduct this from my medical savings expense.