Home Modification Resources for a Family Member with Visual Impairments

If a senior loved one is moving in with you, getting your home ready for them can be stressful, especially if they have a disability. If, for example, your loved one has a visual impairment, some of the needed modifications will quickly become obvious, but others may not be so obvious. In order to systematically address the full range of changes that need to be made to the home before the newest resident arrives, explore these resources to help the process:

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A Guide for Raising a Child with Special Needs

Whether you’ve undergone prenatal testing to determine genetic abnormalities or have inadvertently discovered a physical anomaly during a routine OB/GYN visit, finding out your child will be born disabled can quickly deflate your elation. However, there are plenty of ways to get yourself and your home ready so that your child has the best life possible. Continue reading “A Guide for Raising a Child with Special Needs”

5 Incredible Extreme Sports for Individuals With Disabilities

Are you interested in joining an extreme sports team? Would you like to play with peers who face the same disabilities and struggles as you do? If so, these five sports are worth looking into. Not only will they allow you to interact with other disabled athletes, but they will also provide the rewarding athletic experience you’ve been waiting to find.While your options are certainly not limited to these sports (there are dozens of extreme sports tailored to those with disabilities that are not discussed in this article), these are a great start.

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Common Sense and Confidence: Modifying your House for a Disabled Child

Parenting is a hard job, something that everyone has to learn as they go. As difficult as it is, being the parent of a child with disabilities is considerably more demanding. Our daily concerns extended beyond dressing, feeding and bathing to tasks that are essential to  a child’s well-being, perhaps his or her very survival. Mobility, access and personal safety were necessities that required us to make special arrangements. Many of these arrangements came down to simple common sense; others called for more extensive adaptations of the layout and interior structure of our home. These changes were made based on the nature of our child’s disability, though most disabled children require some kind of adjustment that requires a financial investment and diligent attention to every detail. Continue reading “Common Sense and Confidence: Modifying your House for a Disabled Child”

Budgeting for Parenthood When You Have a Disability

Raising children isn’t cheap. From buying diapers to paying for college, there’s a lot to cover when it comes to having kids. If you or your partner has a disability, that price tag might be even bigger than you imagine. Parents with disabilities face a number of obstacles when starting their family, and the solutions aren’t always cheap. However, it’s no reason to give up on your dreams of a family. You just need to know what lies ahead so you can plan and save accordingly.

Baby Supplies

New parents often receive many of the necessary high-dollar baby items at baby showers or secondhand through friends and neighbors. But if you have a disability, your friend’s old stroller or baby carrier might not work for you. Depending on your needs, you may need to buy a specialized product or pay for aftermarket modifications. Unfortunately, that means disabled parents often have to pay more for basic child rearing supplies than their friends and family members. Unless you have access to a network of parents with disabilities, expect to pay full price for a crib, changing table, wash basin, stroller, carseat, and other big-ticket items. Not sure what you might need? Check out this list of must-haves from The Mobility Resource.

Home Modifications

Up until now, you may have been able to scrape by in a home that doesn’t quite suit your needs. However, minor inconveniences quickly become major ones when you’re keeping up with a growing child. It’s important that you take care of overdue home modifications before starting a family so you can care for yourself and your baby safely.

Consider the everyday tasks you’ll need to do with a growing child. If your kitchen counters are slightly too high for comfort, now is the time to lower them so you can bathe your newborn safely. Have high thresholds that trip you up? Make them flush with the floor now so you never have to worry about falling while carrying your little one. Other areas to focus on are the entryway, bathroom, and bedroom, but any room could pose a hazard. As you prepare to start your family, make a list of home features you find cumbersome, then rank by priority and expense to determine which projects should top the to-do list.

Fertility Treatments

It’s not uncommon for couples with one or more disabled partner to require fertility treatments when starting their family. The availability of treatments like fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and others is an incredible resource for families. The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.

Unfortunately, these treatments can also be costly. Many couples incur costs that measure in the tens of thousands of dollars while trying to get pregnant. And while some health insurance plans might cover fertility treatments, only 15 states mandate that health insurance companies provide fertility coverage. Of those 15, only five mandate coverage of IVF. Unfortunately, that leaves most couples paying out of pocket for a procedure that averages $23,000 per cycle, according to a study by FertilityIQ.

To avoid taking out a large loan to fund IVF, most couples have to save for treatments. While not everyone has years to plan, the best strategy is to start putting money away well in advance to finance fertility procedures. After your child is born, you can direct those monthly savings to college or retirement funds instead.

You shouldn’t let your disability stop your dream of starting a family, but you should head into parenthood with open eyes regarding the hurdles ahead. Taking care of an infant is hard work, and while some challenges won’t reveal themselves until you’re in the midst, assessing obstacles in advance saves stress and struggle once your baby has arrived.

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Entrepreneurs With Disabilities: Finding Funding

Small businesses need access to capital to succeed, but if you’re just starting out, you may not have the cash flow to fund major expansions and capital improvements. If you’re an entrepreneur with a disability and you’re seeking funding to start or grow your business, consider tapping into these lending opportunities:

Loans for Business Owners With Disabilities

Keep in mind that the term “disability” can cover a variety of conditions, including limited mobility, PTSD, or autism. Do your research about what kinds of disabilities your preferred lending service caters to, but don’t rule out that you may be qualified even if the nature of your disability isn’t physical.

  • Accion offers small business loans in amounts ranging from $300 to $100,000 to business owners who may struggle to access typical capital sources. The nonprofit provides disabled business owners with funds for typical business expenses as well as to help with the costs of assistive technology, accessible workplaces, and adaptive work vehicles. They also tailor services to veteran business owners seeking to start or grow a business.
  • The Abilities Fund is a nonprofit community development organization that works to increase the access to entrepreneurship for people with disabilities. While their microlending program is currently only available in Nebraska, they offer a suite of resources customized for people with disabilities pursuing self-employment.

Other Lending Opportunities

While there aren’t many business loans designed just for people with disabilities, disabled entrepreneurs can access financing through a variety of organizations. Online lenders and microlenders are a great option for new business owners and business owners with less-than-stellar credit scores.

  • Kabbage offers loans of $2,000 to $100,000 to business owners with poor credit (500 or higher) and at least $50,000 in annual revenue. Since it serves business owners with poor credit, the annual percentage rates are high at 24 percent to 99 percent. However, it can be a good option for a business that needs quick access to cash it can repay quickly.
  • OnDeck offers small business loans of $5,000 to $500,000 from 9 to 99 percent APR. To qualify for a term loan from OnDeck, a business must have annual revenue of at least $100,000. OnDeck’s qualifications are easier to meet than a traditional bank’s, but required daily or weekly repayments and higher interest rates mean it may not be the right choice for everyone.
  • StreetShares is a veteran-founded lender for small businesses with low revenue ($25,000 or more), a minimum 600 personal credit score, and at least a year of business history. Streetshares’ term loans range from $2,000 to $100,000 and 9 to 40 percent APR. Since the maximum funding you can qualify for is 20 percent of your business’ annual revenue, StreetShares loans are best suited to short-term cash flow needs rather than major expansions.
  • SmartBiz offers one of the lowest interest rates of online lenders (8 to 8.7 percent) on loans from $30,000 to $350,000. To qualify, a business must be in operation for at least two years, have at least $50,000 in annual revenue, have a personal credit score of at least 600, and meet the Small Business Administration’s lending requirements. Unlike Kabbage and OnDeck, SmartBiz loans require more paperwork and time from application to dispersal, but they are a cost-effective option for established businesses seeking growth.
  • Small Business Administration loans can also be obtained through traditional bank lenders, and while business owners may face a lengthy consideration process, the lower interest rates of 6 to 13 percent can make it worth the wait. Business owners can apply for 7(a) loans to start or grow a small business through a participating bank, or a microloan of up to $50,000 through a nonprofit lender. Veterans can benefit from the SBA Express Loan Program, which waives upfront guaranty fees for veteran borrowers. For more information on how to apply, contact your state’s SBA District Office.

Before you start searching for a small business loan, do your homework. Get your paperwork in order so you can demonstrate why you need financing, how you plan to use it, and how it all fits into your business plan. Research banks, online lenders, and microlenders to find the best lender for your needs, and don’t forget to consider non-traditional lending sources like crowdfunding. The better prepared you are before you start looking for funding, the better your chances of finding the capital your small business needs.