How to Pay Your Bills When You Can’t Work

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For many of us, the pursuit of happiness is strongly connected with money. That’s why we put strenuous efforts to earn more, often sacrificing our free time for our jobs, hoping that we’ll be rewarded with a raise. However, you never know when your chase will be cut short by an unexpected accident or an illness. 

If your condition is severe, you might be unable to work, which will put you in an adverse financial situation. Without a monthly paycheck, you won’t be able to pay your bills or for necessities. Therefore, you should quickly figure out how to make ends meet. 

Depending on your circumstances, you might be entitled to sickness and disability benefits, help from your employer, a claim on insurance, or compensation from the party responsible for your injury. Moreover, you could negotiate the terms with your utility suppliers, create a budget, and eliminate unnecessary expenses. 

After an accident, financial problems might be the last thing on your mind, but they will quickly catch up to you. Read this article to learn how to manage your finances when you can’t work.

Lawsuits and Settlements

You might want to consider filing a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your injury. According to experts from, if they were found guilty in court, they would usually be ordered to pay you financial compensation. The amount of money that they’ll need to pay depends on several factors, including:

  • What counts as a “serious” injury varies from state to state but generally refers to one that prevents a person from working for more than six months or permanently affects their ability to do so in the future;
  • How much medical expenses you’ve accumulated and whether or not you’re able to return to your previous job;
  • What other sources of income you have available;
  • The defendant’s income and what they may have previously paid to others in similar cases;
  • The amount of time that the trial took. 

If you’ve reached an agreement with the person responsible for your injury, you can file a lawsuit to enforce the terms of their settlement. However, if you didn’t reach an agreement or feel that it wasn’t fair, you might be able to sue them in court. Be aware that if you go to court but lose, you will be responsible for the costs of the defendant’s lawyer. 

Disability Insurance

Depending on your job, you might be covered by an insurance policy that provides you with a monthly income in case of a disability. For example, if you have been a veteran, you might be entitled to disability insurance, which you can use a calculator here to work out just how much you could be entitled to. Depending on the state of your health, you may receive a percentage of your usual salary or a certain amount.
However, it’s important to know that disability insurance doesn’t pay for the injuries caused by accidents. Instead, it’s designed to cover the expenses caused by your inability to work. As such, you should inform your employer about your situation and quickly file a claim.

State Disability Insurance

If you don’t have disability insurance, you can apply for state benefits. These payments are paid by your state’s Department of Labor and will replace part of your income. Moreover, you may be eligible for other benefits like Medicaid and food stamps, which can help you pay for the necessary medical treatments and groceries. Work with your doctor to find out whether you need any additional procedures or medications. 

If you have other sources of income or assets, you might be required to contribute to the cost of your disability benefits. If you don’t have any savings or other resources, apply for social security disability benefits as soon as possible. 

Short-Term Disability Income

In some cases, your employer might offer short-term disability income. This is a separate policy that will pay your salary in case you can’t work due to an injury. However, this type of insurance is relatively rare and usually comes with a large deductible. 

Since short-term disability income will only pay if you’re unable to work for less than six months, this type of insurance is most suitable for employers who expect their employees to stay out of work for a small period of time. 

If you can afford it, opt for a long-term disability income. This option will provide you with a constant replacement for your income without any time restrictions. Moreover, it will often include catastrophic coverage that will pay for any related medical expenses. 

Workers’ Compensation

In some states, you could be eligible for workers’ comp if your injury was caused by accident at work. A worker’s compensation policy will provide you with a percentage of your usual salary while working and will cover your medical expenses and rehabilitation costs. 

However, since workers’ compensation is designed to cover the expenses caused by work-related injuries, it won’t pay if you get hurt outside the workplace. If your injury was caused by accident elsewhere, talk to your employer to learn more about how they will handle the situation. 

If they refuse to help you or give you a bad deal, contact an attorney who can help you negotiate with them and get the money owed to you. Remember that in many cases, an employee can sue their employer for negligence if the latter fails to provide adequate safety measures for employees. 

Insurance Claims

If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, try to file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance policy. Most policies have personal injury protection (PIP) clause, which covers the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation after an accident. 

Remember that if PIP covers the costs of both physical and mental injuries, be sure to mention it to your doctor and lawyer so that they can determine whether it applies to your situation. If PIP doesn’t cover all your medical expenses, you can submit a claim against the negligent party’s insurance company. 

Depending on the circumstances of your injury, the responsible party might also be liable to pay you compensation under a different policy, such as auto liability insurance or general liability insurance.

Negotiate With Utility Suppliers

If you can’t afford to pay your utility bills, negotiate with your provider. If your disability is permanent and you’re unable to return to work, you might be able to get your service provider to reduce the rates they charge to your account. In most cases, the utilities will only do this if you’re permanently disabled but still living in the same house. 

If you can’t make payments on your current electricity and gas bill, you can request a deferred payment plan. This means that you’ll have a certain period of time to pay off the bill without paying any interest charges. If you fail to pay it off within that time period, the utility company will charge you with late fees and interest charges. 

In some cases, a utility company may refuse your request and suggest that you contact a nonprofit organization that can help you pay off your bill. They might also suggest that you look for another provider who can offer better service at a lower price.


After an accident, you might find yourself in a difficult financial situation. Your main goal is to regain your health and return back to work as soon as possible. However, if that is not possible, it’s important to know how to make ends meet until you can get back on your feet. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding whether or not you qualify for benefits, contact a disability lawyer or other professional who can help you understand the state of your current financial situation.