Financial Coping Strategies of Mental Health Consumers: Managing Social Benefits
Mary Ager Caplan
Community Mental Health Journal
May 2014, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 409-414
Mental health consumers depend on social benefits in the forms of supplemental security income and social security disability insurance for their livelihood. Although these programs pay meager benefits, little research has been undertaken into how this population makes ends meet. Using a qualitative approach, this study asks what are the financial coping strategies of mental health consumers? Seven approaches were identified: subsidies, cost-effective shopping, budgeting, prioritizing, technology, debt management, and saving money. Results illustrate the resourcefulness of mental health consumers in managing meager social benefits and highlight the need to strengthen community mental health efforts with financial capabilities education.