MANILA - Managing finances is difficult for families who have members with disabilities, requiring more planning, according to an advocate for disabled persons.
Jeana Manalaysay, a dentist, was paralyzed from waist down due to an accident. Her family went through financial hardships that prompted her and her husband to study laws that can extend financial help to persons with disabilities or PWDs.
“For parents of children with disability, they opted not to work because they have to look after their kids, di ba 50 percent or 100 percent of income capacity of families are affected. What they can do is, we are now starting with bugging the government, kasi we do have the budget it's just that we don't know how to access it,” Manalaysay told ANC’s On the Money.
Manalaysay shared the following tips on how PWDs and their families can handle their finances:
1. Save up
PWDs incur medical bills and have to spend on a wheelchair and hearing aid. Manalaysay advises saving up for needs and do away with wants. Managing credit card use can be one of the tricks save money.
“What we did was we pay it full before the due date so we are not incurring charges, if we cannot pay it in full, we do balance transfer for lesser interest,” she said.
2. Know your rights
Manalaysay and her husband found out that there are a lot of government programs targeting PWDs but most people don’t know how to access it.
“In 2009 after my son graduated college, I have to send him to school, two months after my husband and I attended training to know what we can do about the sector,” Manalaysay said.
She also recommends studying the privileges extended to PWDs like the VAT exemptions under RA 10754 or the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.”
3. Look for an affiliate organization
Moving in groups will yield better results, said Manalaysay who is part of the Las Piñas Persons with Disability Federation. Benefits can be accessed faster by organizations compared to “individuals who can get benefits but only in small amounts,” Manalaysay said.
4. Coordinate with your local government
Manalaysay said, LGUs have financial allocations for PWDs depending on their total gross annual appropriation.
Persons with disabilities can inquire with their local health office or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office in their area. The Department of Health (DOH) also offers free medicine for indigents and PWDs given on a monthly basis.
5. Invest in your studies
For those who can afford it, it is important to invest in education despite disabilities.
“If you cannot afford the private ones, you can go to TESDA alternative learning. Also, do not give weight on your age,” Manalaysay said.
6. Find ways to reduce hospital bills
Hospital bills are recurring with PWDs, so it is wise to find ways to lower charges. One way is to pay government contributions such as Philhealth and SSS.
“Get a hospital stock if you can and pay your SSS and make it higher for maintenance when you get old ,” Manalysay said.