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Money Mondays: Three Things to Ease Concerns about Job Accommodations

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Job accommodations are changes made to a job or work place. These changes allow someone with a disability to do their job duties. Accommodations may include supports such as assistive technology, changes to work settings, or adjusted work schedules.

A common concern is that job accommodations are costly. Read on to learn three things that can ease concerns of people with disabilities and employers.

  1. Data collected by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) suggests that more than half of all job accommodations cost nothing. A recent study run by JAN showed 57% of accommodations cost nothing at all, while the rest often cost only $500.
  1. Job accommodations have also been found to help employers. For example, the above study showed accommodations helped keep valuable employees, improve productivity and morale, improve company diversity – and even report financial gains.
  1. Tax incentives are available to help employers make workplace accommodations. Funds are also offered through a number of organizations.  Read JAN’s guidance on Tax Incentives and visit its funding links for further tips for employers and people with disabilities. 

For more information on speaking to your employer about workplace accommodations, visit the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).

If you or someone you know is a Social Security disability beneficiary who wants to work, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V); 1-866-833-2967 (TTY), or visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work to learn more.

Read money saving tips at #MoneyMondays!

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Money Mondays: Six Tips to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud Online

The Internet has become an integral part of daily life for many of us for both work and play. While we are using the Internet increasingly to shop and manage our money, we are also hearing more and more about data breaches and hackers stealing online financial information. While some data breaches are impossible to prevent, there are steps you can take to guard your financial information to reduce the risk of fraud.

You can use these six tips to help protect yourself against fraud and identity theft.

 

  1. Protect your information. Online or offline, start by not giving your financial and personal information – such as your bank account, credit card numbers, personal identification (PIN) number, social security number, date of birth, or address – to people or organizations you don’t know or trust. Use these tips to keep your personal information secure.

 

  1. Watch what you post. What you post online is widely available and forever exposed. Be careful of what you post, as those with malicious intent may be able to find it online for years to come. Note that Social Security will never ask for personal information on third party networks, such as Facebook. Do not post your Social Security number in blog comments or send it via email, and beware of phishing scams that ask for personal information. Think twice when a site asks you to enter a username or password. Here are more tips on how to protect your privacy online.

 

  1. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Although online banking and shopping websites often work to try to protect you from financial crimes, hackers can still sometimes gain access. Make sure to always use strong passwords, to change your passwords periodically, and do not use the same passwords for different accounts.  Use these tips to create secure passwords

 

  1. Keep your computer software up to date. Keeping your computer software – such as security software – up to date can deter a hacker and protect your financial information.

Watch this video from OnGuardOnline.gov for steps you can take to keep your computer secure

 

  1. Be wary of public wireless networks. Wi-Fi hot spots like those found in coffee shops, airports and hotels are often not secure. Do not log in to sensitive financial websites from these locations – including from your mobile device – if you can avoid it. Have your own wireless network at home? Use these tips to make sure your wireless network is secure.

 

  1. Know the signs to watch for. These signs may indicate someone is trying to steal your information.

 

Do you suspect someone has stolen your financial information? Follow these steps to report it. If identity theft strikes, take immediate action to help prevent the thief from doing more damage.

Remember, you can never be too careful with your financial information online. If you wish to discuss your personal situation in relation to your Social Security disability benefits and the Ticket to Work program, the safest way to do that is to call our Help Line at 1-866-968-7842/866-833-2967 (TTY) M - F 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM ET.

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Money Mondays: 4 Ways to Obtain Assistive Technology

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Assistive technology (AT) broadens the everyday possibilities for people with disabilities, especially in the workplace. For example, adapted keyboards make it easier for individuals who may not have use of one of their limbs to type and use the computer, while screen reader programs help people who are blind or have low vision access information.

From voice recognition software to hand tools with accessible features (e.g. hammers, measuring instruments), you can learn more about how AT can help you in the workplace in this fact sheet from AbleData.

We know that AT can sometimes be expensive. The good thing is there are a number of ways to help you get the AT you may need. Learn about some of these options:
 

  1. Health Insurance: If you have a medical need for assistive technology, such as a wheelchair, scooter, walker, crutches or a prosthetic device, your health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) may help cover the cost. You will need to get a prescription from your  doctor and make sure the device is considered “Durable Medical Equipment” by your insurer.

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Money Mondays: Expenses to Consider Before Attending a Vocational Program or College

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Are you preparing to start college or a vocational program? If you are, it is important to begin to learn about financial matters, like creating and managing a budget and saving for emergencies. In order to manage a budget, it helps to know what to expect.

Here are some common expenses for students in college or a vocational program:

  • Tuition: Tuition will probably be your single largest expense, ranging from a few thousand dollars per year for an in-state college to $35,000 for private colleges.
  • Books & Supplies: The cost will vary depending on the course you’re taking. A good estimate for your book budget is about $500 per semester. You will need a constant supply of pens and paper, especially if you do not have a computer or tablet, as well as other items such as a backpack, organizer, binders and highlighters. Today, many find having a computer or tablet and a printer essential for schoolwork and research. Computer labs at schools are also available for students, but hours and space are limited.
  • Housing: Most colleges have student residences or off-campus housing that range in price. If you are considering living off-campus, you will need to budget for monthly utility bills. The most cost-effective choice is to live at home and commute, if that’s an option.
  • Food: Most colleges have prepaid meal cards that you can use to buy food on campus. However, you should still budget money for when you go off campus to purchase food or additional snacks.
  • Entertainment: It is good to estimate how often you plan to go out with friends to movies, concerts or restaurants.
  • Clothing: Take into account climate, seasons and the fashion culture of the school you will be attending.

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Money Mondays: Summer Round-up for Young Adults in Transition

As part of our focus on Youth-in-Transition this month, we have compiled a round-up of previous Money Mondays posts related to young adults in transition, as well as general financial tips for people with disabilities.

If you are entering the workforce after graduating from school, it is important to get your finances in order so you can successfully make the transition to work. It is also important to understand the expenses and resources available to you if you are thinking about attending college. To that end, we have compiled a list of past Money Mondays posts to help you get started on your path to financial independence:

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Money Mondays: Personal Finance Tips for Youth-in-Transition

For those who are graduating from high school or college, now is the perfect time to make some important financial decisions to start your summer on the right track!

Many graduates decide to enter the workforce after school, and it is important to get your finances in order so you can successfully make the transition to work.

One way to minimize the stress of transitioning from school to employment is to organize a budget so you know how you will spend and save to pay for your expenses and reach your goals. It will also prepare you for when you start making more money at your new job!  

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Money Mondays: Self-Employment as a Work Option for People with Disabilities

For people with disabilities, self-employment can provide increased flexibility and opportunities to meet career and financial goals, but there are also challenges one should consider.

Self-employment can bring you increased income while allowing you to set your own working hours and decide where to work. If you have the right skills and a good business plan, self employment can be a great path to a better self-supporting future.

But, starting a business can be risky for anyone, and as a person with a disability you may also confront additional barriers when attempting to start your own business. You may have a hard time getting the seed money needed to start a business, and it may be harder to get the information and resources needed to develop an effective business plan.

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Money Mondays: More Tax Resources for People with Disabilities

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The deadline to file your taxes is Tuesday, April 15! Last month we listed a number of resources to help you or someone you know with a disability prepare and file their taxes. We know tax forms can seem daunting. You can use this information to help make filing taxes easier.

Did you know that many people with disabilities are eligible for special deductions? A deduction lowers your taxable income, meaning you pay less in taxes. Look at this list of tax credits and deductions for individuals with disabilities to see if there are any that apply to you!
 

  • Do you want help understanding what deductions you can make? Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects are community based organizations that provide advice to disability beneficiaries. Here are some  questions about taxes and benefits that WIPAs hear a lot.
  • If you find yourself unsure where to begin, the Interactive Tax Assistant  will walk you through a number of questions to help you determine how you can file, what you can deduct from your income, and whether you’re eligible for certain tax credits.
  • If you have a tax question that can’t be answered by phone or online, free Taxpayer Assistance Centers can provide you face-to-face assistance.
  • If you are looking for specific forms in text or braille formats, take a look at this list of all accessible IRS documents.
  • Finally, whether you prepare your taxes yourself, with a professional, or using an online service, make sure you deal only with people and organizations you trust. You can use these 10 tips to help protect your privacy while online.  If you decide to file online.

We hope you find this information helpful as the deadline to file your taxes approaches! If you need more in-depth counseling, you can always call the IRS directly.  

#Money MondaysRead more money savings tips and financial wellness at #MoneyMondays!

 

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