Why do you need money?
As an adult, you’ll need money to pay for all kinds of things, including:
- Heat, lights, telephone, television, Internet access
- Health care
- School (college, technical school, night classes, etc.)
- Leisure activities (travel, hobbies, club and team memberships, etc.)
Where do you get money?
There are lots of different ways you can get money.
- Work at a job
- Be self-employed (have your own business)
- Receive money from your parents or other family members
- Or you can apply to receive money (or services you would otherwise need money to buy). Different programs and agencies have different requirements you must meet in order to qualify for their help. Call them or check their web sites for more information.
- File your taxes each year and apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit or other tax credits.
- Internal Revenue Service information about the EITC
- The National Women’s Law Center Tax Credit Outreach Campaign Web site designed to help families receive the tax credits they are entitled to receive.
- Apply for financial aid (grants, loans, scholarships) to attend college or a university.
- Apply for a bank or credit union loan (to purchase a home or a car, for example).
- Apply for government benefits and services such as:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – these are monthly cash benefits for people with disabilities who meet certain eligibility requirements. The Social Security Administration web site offers information about both SSDI and SSI. The University of Montana Rural Institute produces Social Security Fact Sheets to help you understand the programs.
- PASS (Plan for Achieving Self Support) for people eligible to receive SSI…the PASS allows you to set aside money from your job or certain other sources to help you meet a work goal. The Social Security Administration provides information about PASS plans
- Social Security Work Incentives – Social Security offers lots of different incentives to help people who receive SSDI
or SSI to work. The Social Security Administration offers information about work incentives
- WIPA (Work Incentive Planning and Assistance) staff can help you understand and use Social Security work incentives. Learn about the Montana WIPA programs here or by contacting North Central Independent Living Center in Black Eagle, Montana, at 1.800.823.6245 Find a WIPA in another state here.
- PABSS (Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security) helps make sure that people who receive Social Security benefits are being treated fairly. PABBS staff can also share information about Social Security work incentives.In Montana, Disability Rights Montana provides PABSS services. To find the PABBS provider in another state click here.
- If you receive SSDI or SSI, the Social Security Ticket to Work can help you receive support and services so you can reach your employment goals.
- A variety of services for people who have physical, mental or developmental disabilities through the Montana Disability Services Division.
- Case management, residential, employment, transportation and other services for people with developmental disabilities through the Montana Developmental Disabilities Program.
- Weatherization to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home.
- The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) to help you pay your winter heating bills.
- The SNAP Program (food stamps) that people with low incomes can use to buy part of their food each month.
- Child Care Assistance to help families with low incomes pay for child care services.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides cash assistance for a limited time to low income families and certain low income pregnant women.
- WIC, which helps low income pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under 5 years old to buy healthy food.
- Individual Development Accounts – these accounts help people with low incomes save part of the money they earn
in special savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Every dollar in savings a participant puts into their IDA is matched by the Assets for Independence Project.
- www.GovBenefits.gov is a web site you can visit to see if there are government benefit programs that might be able to help you. The GovBenefits.gov online screening tool is free, easy-to-use, and completely confidential. You answer a series of questions about yourself, and then GovBenefits.gov returns a list of government benefit programs you may be eligible to receive along with information about how you can apply.
How do you make sure you have enough money to pay your bills?
It’s important to learn how to budget your money. Keep track of all your monthly bills and all your monthly income. When you are figuring out your monthly expenses, be sure to include money for medications, pet food, emergencies, and any other miscellaneous items you might want or need to buy. If the total amount of your bills is more than the total amount of your income, you need to either cut your expenses (for example, get rid of the cable television and eat out less often), increase your income (such as find another part-time job), or both.
- For tips on budgeting, saving and borrowing money, read There’s a Lot to Learn about Money
- Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management for People with Disabilities. This is a user friendly booklet from the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation on managing money.
What if my parents want to leave money to me when they pass away?
Your parents will need to do what is called “estate planning.” This is where they figure out the best way to provide you with money after they are gone. Families often decide to talk to an attorney for advice when they are planning their estates.
For more information about money (earning it, applying for it, spending it wisely, and saving it), check out these resources:
- Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids (Montana Parent Information Center).
- MonTECH – Montana’s comprehensive resource center for Assistive Technology devices, information, training, evaluations,and other AT related supports.
- My Money Educational Package – to help learn more about money.
- Pathways to Getting Ahead – talks about building assets for your future, including saving money.
- Jumpstart Reality Check – an online program to show you what it takes to live the life you want.
- Banking Basics – to introduce you to banks…what they do, types of bank accounts, etc.
- Quality Mall – an online center with lots of free information about person-centered supports.