How to Manage Money while Living on SSDI — Social Security Disability Insurance

For individuals who learn more effectively through watching and listening, I have created a video presentation of this article. Here is a link to the video presentation: How to Create and Maintain a Budget while Living on a Fixed Income Video Presentation. I explain how to manage money while living on SSDI in this video presentation and the principles can benefit anyone living on a fixed income. What I would suggest for individuals watching the video presentation, is that you come back to this article to see the charts that I use to set up the budget.

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. You are always welcome around my table. As I shared in my article and video series, My Journey thus Far, I had a long history of getting and losing jobs. The impact of getting and losing jobs was that I experienced a tremendous amount of financial insecurity in my life.

Because I experienced ongoing financial insecurity in my life, when I was deemed to be unemployable and approved to begin receiving a monthly SSDI check, I made a decision to curb my financial insecurity.The way in which I curbed my financial insecurity was to set up a monthly budget and stick to that budget. I have been told that I should share the system with other people who are living on a monthly SSDI check.

Below, I will share how I set up my monthly budget. The success of any budget is that I need to adhere and maintain the budget and live with in my means. Consequently, I am prudent and frugal with how and when I spend the funds allotted to me by my monthly SSDI check. I hope by studying my system, you too will be able to curb any financial insecurity that you may be experiencing my friend.

At the beginning of each month I have my check deposited into my checking account. When that money is deposited into my account, I set up my monthly budget accordingly. I will use the below table (s) to show how I set up my budget. At the top of each of the columns I put the category or what I need to pay for as the bill comes due each month. With in each column I place the budgeted amount of money. 

General Food Savings Gas Rent Auto/Renter’s
This amount is not going to change each month. To avoid financial insecurity be prudent. Do not spend money that you do not have and Do NOT use credit cards unless you already have money saved up and budgeted for that purchase. 
When making purchases to pay for miscellaneous purchases, make sure to keep your receipts. By keeping your receipts from your purchases you can check for discrepancies when balancing your check book / register when you receive your bank statement.
I live with in my means and do not purchase items that I do not need, just because I may want them. I add to this section, as I am able to each month from my general section – for a rainy day. I approximate this amount from previous gas expenditures from the previous month. Deduct each gas purchase from this amount and pay attention to how much money is left for gas for the rest of the month. Contact your area Programs for Accessible Living. They helped me get connected to an agency called the  Neighborhood Development Program which helped to assist me with my rent. Apply for Housing Assistance with the Housing Authority in your area. I have this amount drafted from my checking account. Check with your insurance company – for your car – to see if bundling your car and renter’s insurance will save you money.

In the General section I put my monthly SSDI check. From that check I deduct my monthly expenses and the items that I budget for as I have a need. For sake of an example, say that I receive $800 SSDI check each month. When I have added together each of the amounts as shown below — to pay for bills and my budget — I then deduct the total from the monthly SSDI check that I have listed in my General section. Below is an example of how I add up my monthly bills and the money I allot for different budgets.

Bills                        Budget

Food Toiletries
Gas Automobile
Rent Shoes
Car / Renter’s Insurance Clothes
Utilities Sneakers
Cable Whatever else you would like to budget for to purchase in the future my friend
Gym Membership
Total Amount
Total Amount 

Once I add up my bills and my budget expenses, I then deduct the total amount from my General Section and my SSDI check. Once I deduct the combined bills and budget items from my SSDI check amount, I then place the figured amounts that I will need to pay for those expenses under the designated column to pay for my expenses and budgeted items. When a bill comes due or is automatically deducted from my checking account, I then deduct that amount from each of the designated sections. 

After I deduct my bills and my budget items from the General section – My SSDI Check – the left over money is used to pay for miscellaneous items during the month.With all my food, toiletry and  miscellaneous purchases made during the month, I save all of my receipts and place them in an envelop. I started this practice to check for errors that I may have made in my calculations when I receive my bank statement from the bank. By saving the receipts — if there is a discrepancy — I can check my records.  

As a note, although I may not be able to budget only $5 or $10 each month for such things as toiletries, shoes, sneakers and clothes, ect., by budgeting some thing each month – over a period of months – I am able to budget enough money to pay for those items.

Planning, Prudence and being Frugal minimizes financial insecurity.

Utilities Cable Gym Toiletries Automobile Shoes
I approximate this amount each month, based on the previous month’s bill. If it is more I take the amount from my general section to make up the balance. Basic cable and internet. No frills, movies or services. I can watch TV shows online through Hulu, Fancast or other similar free services. The YMCA that I work out at has a program to help individuals with low incomes. Check into similar programs that your local YMCA or YWCA. By doing so you may find that you can afford to work out at a gym on a regular basis. I am glad I checked into the program.
When you go to purchase these items and you are also buying food items, when you get to the register separate the toiletries from the food items. Then ask the person at the register / check out to put your food items on one receipt and your toiletries on another receipt. By doing so, when you get home, you will be able to deduct your food items from that section and your toiletries from your toiletries section.
Sneakers Clothes Budget Item Budget Item Budget Item Budget Item

In the event that you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask those questions my friend. All questions are good questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

As you listen to, watch or read my articles and questions come to mind, please send those questions to mind. All questions are good questions. In the event that you would like to leave a comment,  I would love to hear from you.To do so, please use the below contact form. I will respond to your comments and questions.

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0 thoughts on “How to Manage Money while Living on SSDI — Social Security Disability Insurance

    • Hi Alyson,
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me and for your question. I understand I believe. Change is definitely hard for me too. When I started receiving SSDI I was receiving a monthly check on $531 a month I believe and my food stamps went down to $10 a month. I am not sure how I lived on that amount of money, but God provided for me. I sought out various programs that I could apply for that would help me to make ends meet — so to say Alyson. In the area where you live contact your social services agency and schedule to meet with a worker to search out programs that you may apply to that you would be eligible to receive benefits through those programs.

      The programs are set up to help people like you and myself who legitimately have needs because we are not able to work because of our traumatic brain injuries and invisible disabilities. Sitting down with someone who could help you to manage your finances may also help to stretch the money that you receive each month to make ends meet my friend. Consequently, you may also like to search for a financial planner — whom you trust — that could help you to manage the amount of money that you receive each month to make ends meet and reduce your anxiety surrounding financial insecurity concerns Alyson.

      In my experience, I have found that if I do not ask, I do not receive what is possible my friend. As a friend of mine used to say to me, Nothing ventured, nothing gained. My experience has also taught me that life is best lived by doing the footwork, not projecting outcomes and trusting a loving God with the process. My experience has also shown me that more will be revealed in time.

      I hope the above has been helpful to you my friend.

      Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
      Second Chance to Live

      Sharing Hope in the Face of Adversity

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      Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but to build us up.

      • Craig,

        I am single, disabled and am bored a lot everyday. I have tried to work so I can get back to full time and get off of SSDI and have failed every time. I have gone backwards from what my nurses suggested. They always told me to volunteer first, part-time and full-time. I am now volunteering.

        This morning I am just messing around on the internet and came across your website. I enjoyed it. I do have Facebook and do always get what I will call advertisements from “businesses” that help those in need of SSDI or SDI get their money. Comments are left by so many who are upset with the government because they get so much less from the government than they feel they need. I don’t think many understand how many programs are out there.

        Lucky for me, I have. I did have a decent position before my disability hit me. Having no wife or family hurts, but it does cost less for me to survive. I do earn $1500 a month. Looking at your budget is good for me because I should spend less. I am doing better. I will make sure to start to follow you on Facebook, Twitter and any other place that I can. Individuals such as yourself really do help those on disability understand how many other government programs are out there that they need to find and apply to. The government is there to help.

        We continue to become a more socialist nation in my own opinion, which I am not happy about, but it will take a while for that to happen. I am a strong republican and wish I wasn’t taking advantage of this program, but I have no choice. Thank you again for your webpage and for the information on it. It can be very helpful to all that are on disability from the government. Even those that earn average or above.

        Bill Porter

        • Hi Bill,
          Thank you for writing and for what you shared with me. I have learned that life is a process and a journey, not a destination. What I learn along the way is what becomes life. I am thankful for my set of circumstances — although I do not always like them — because they give me the freedom to be able to use what I have to give in ways that work for me. As you have shared, I too do not have a wife or children; not because I do not want a wife, but because I am waiting for the right woman to come across my path — in God’s timing, plan and purpose. In my experience, I have found that the “traditional” ways of working and “volunteering” have not worked for me. God knows that I have tried to make these avenues work for me. In my experience, I have found a way to use my passion to encourage, motivate, empower and share hope, through my own experience, strength and hope, through Second Chance to Live. Was a long process in finding this “medium” through Second Chance to Live. If you would like you can read my detailed about page through clicking on this link:

          I am thankful for the opportunity that we do have in the USA to be able to benefit from the programs that have been created to help people like you and me who would otherwise be dissolute and on the streets. Thank God for these programs!!! I am glad that God has the Big Picture. More will be revealed in time. I look forward seeing how God is going to connect the dots. A wonderful tapestry and puzzle. Check out this page

          If you would like to subscribe to Second Chance to Live to receive updates in your email — as I write and publish new articles and create video presentations — you may visit this link and enter in your email address

          Thank you again for writing to me Sir.

          I will say so long for now. Have a great day.


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