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4. Look Into Disability Assistance continued...

State disability assistance. Some states offer their own disability insurance plans. Requirements vary widely. Contact your state's department of employment for information.

Social Security disability. Social Security offers disability benefits. You may qualify if you are unable to do the work you were doing before your injury. You may also qualify if you can't do any other kind of work because of physical or mental impairment.

Medicare. If you are disabled and unable to work for more than 2 years, you qualify for Medicare. That's the case even if you are below retirement age.

Medicare can be particularly helpful if your disability involves ongoing medical costs.

Workers' compensation. Most sports injuries aren't covered by workers' compensation, which is typically limited to injuries on the job. There are exceptions, however. You may be covered if you're injured during an activity sponsored by your employer. And you might also be covered if the injury happened during an activity that your employer specifically encouraged you to do.

5. Review Your Household Budget

Even if you qualify for disability income assistance, you're likely to get less than your salary. State and federal programs cap payments at 80% of pre-disability income level, for instance.

Serious sports injuries often require extensive medical care. So you may now be facing large medical bills. Take these steps:

  • List all the bills you must pay each month.
  • Estimate how much you need for food and other essentials.
  • Then estimate how much money you will be taking in.
  • If your income falls short of your costs, look for ways to trim expenses.