Capital Area Parkinson's Society

Parkinson’s and Your Finances

A Parkinson’s diagnosis can have wide-ranging impacts, including on personal finances. Expensive medications, ongoing doctor visits, assistive devices, lost income—the list can go on! Because each individual’s medical and financial situation is unique, there are precious few “one size fits all” solutions when it comes to managing your money while managing Parkinson’s. For that reason, it’s vital to understand all options available to you and your loved ones.

Here are a few examples of less common but potentially important financial resources that may be worth considering as you develop your financial plan for living with PD.

  1. Home Equity: Homeowners can turn to their primary residence to help cover costs associated with Parkinson’s. Options include:
  • A home equity loan, which provides a one-time, lump sum payment that is typically limited to 80% of the equity you have in your home (where equity refers to your home’s market value less your mortgage). Home equity loans are ideal for generating funds needed to cover a one-off project. For folks with PD, such projects could include remodeling the home to make it more accessible.
  • A home equity line of credit (HELOC), which sets a maximum amount that you can borrow against your home’s equity. Whereas a home equity loan pays out immediately upon closing, you may draw against the HELOC as needed. Interest charges only apply once you begin that draw. A HELOC is thus best suited to help cover ongoing expenses. Think of weekly in-home care services, for example.
  • A reverse mortgage, which is available to those 62 and older. These can be structured as lump sum payments, lines of credit, or periodic payments of fixed amounts.
  1. IRAs: Typically, withdrawals taken from an IRA before age 59½ are subject to a 10% penalty. However, if you are younger than 59½ and have medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income in a year, you are allowed to withdraw funds penalty-free (though not tax-free) from your IRA. This is worth consideration in years marked by both heavy medical expenses and limited income.
  1. Accelerated or Living Benefits: Some life insurance and annuity policies offer unique benefits to policyholders who develop chronic illnesses and/or long-term care needs. These benefits often appear as “riders” on a contract. Policyowners who qualify can access a portion or even the entirety of their contract’s value while they are still alive to help cover medical costs.

All these options come with pros, cons, and costs, so carefully consider your needs and options before making any financial decisions. And remember that the CAPS Cares program can help address unexpected and immediate financial needs if they arise. Anyone can apply for assistance, so please reach out if we can lend a hand!

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