How to Make Money at Home if You’re Disabled

Many people start freelancing with a disability due to the flexibility of working hours, workload, and workplace it can provide. In this article, you’ll find out how to make money working from home with a disability, and what freelance and remote jobs are a good fit. Start enjoying the freedom to work when, where and, how you want!

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What Jobs Can a Disabled Person Do From Home?

Freelancer – Flexibility Heaven

Even if your disability doesn’t allow you to do strenuous physical work, remote freelance jobs that are less stressful on your body may be an option. Perhaps you have experience in writing, editing, translating, or working on transcriptions. Or maybe you’re interested in building and designing websites, coding, digital design, or marketing. You can do all of these jobs from home on a freelance basis – and plenty more.

If you have disabilities, pain and fatigue can impact your productivity levels or even ability to continue your current task. As a freelancer, you can push your productivity harder on better days, while pacing yourself or even taking a day off on more difficult ones. When you require extra rest, it’s incredible to be able to take some time to regain your energy. This also means that you have the freedom to organize your workday around things like medical appointments, besides your general physical or mental needs.

Below you’ll find the best jobs you can do on a freelance basis if you have disabilities and what skills you need to acquire for them.

Transcriptionist – Write Your Way Up

Transcription jobs involve listening to audio, such as from videos or the booming podcast sector, and converting it into text format. To offer transcription services you’ll need transcription software, proper typing techniques, a good grasp of grammar – and you’re good to go!

You may also have to pass an internal typing speed test before getting hired, but only if required by your client – you can use a site like MonkeyType to practice your typing. Budding transcriptionists will also benefit from improved grammar and vocabulary knowledge.

You can seek freelance transcriptionist positions directly from companies that produce their own audio or video content, although you may prefer working with transcription agencies to provide you with a consistent range of smaller jobs. Transcription jobs are generally laid back and can be quite interesting particularly if related to an interest of yours. Good luck!

Graphic Designer – Design Guru

If you like visual storytelling and communicating information through combining graphics, images, and words, graphic design might be a choice for you. You’ll use design programs, apps, and equipment to create graphic elements, such as shapes, colors, lines, and textures.

Graphic design is a profession that offers a variety of interesting projects. Everyday creative tasks and no place for boredom combined with the potential flexibility of working hours and workplace can help you maintain a satisfactory work-life balance.

SEO Copywriter – Search Intent Expert

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copywriters create content to help webpages rank as highly as possible in the search engine results. They do this by writing copy that will get readers interested or taking action, while simultaneously optimizing these texts with keywords for Google to pick up on.

To offer SEO copywriting services all you need is a laptop for writing, an internet connection, and knowledge of SEO along with your writing skills. Technically, your potential client pool is any company with a website or online store that needs to level up its online presence.

We’ve already prepared a started guide on how to become a freelance SEO copywriter. You’ll find out which first steps to take to get into this role, and some tips to help you along the way.

Computer Programmer – Coding Wizard

If you’re interested in writing and testing code for software applications, programming may be the job for you. You can work in countless industries including gaming, e-commerce, mobile applications, web development, and many more.

A good language to start out with to get the basics of coding is Python. It will clue you in on most of the primary concepts you should keep in mind when it comes to computer programming. You can then apply these same concepts to other languages going forward. Aside from technical skills such as knowing how to code, you will need critical and lateral thinking, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail.

It’s important to note, however, that software development is far from easy, with frequent challenges and stress. On the plus side, experienced programmers are always in high demand, which results in often competitive pay.

We’ve also compiled a high-level overview of other top freelance jobs and how to skill up to them. Read more about the best freelance professions including:

  • Marketing
    • Copywriting & Content Marketing
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Digital Advertising Specialist
    • Graphic Design & Video Editing
    • Social Media Managing
  • Web Development
  • Translating
  • Virtual Assistant.

Benefits of Freelancing With a Disability

Discrimination at work is an unfortunate reality for disabled people. Thankfully, freelancing can provide more equal opportunity than traditional jobs. As long as you have the will and can pick up the skills necessary, you have a lot more control as a freelancer than a regular employee. Additionally, many freelancers I know rarely (if ever) interact with their clients on voice or video calls, with all communication happening via email or chat messages, which can make life even easier.

As the owner of your freelance business, you have control over accepting or declining projects. Always remember that you have a right to equality, fairness, respect, and understanding in relation to any of your current or potential clients. Having this kind of control over your work time, workload, and client relationships can be very empowering and offer incomparable flexibility.

Freelancing also generally eliminates the need to commute, which can benefit you especially if you have disabilities impacting your mobility. It gives you extra time to juggle work, family, and medical appointments more easily.

Additionally, a home setting that’s more comfortable and suited to your needs than a traditional workplace can offer you improved well-being and motivation. To be able to freelance with success, you’ll have to master your skills such as time management and productivity while working from home.

Apart from the many perks freelancing has, there are also some substantial disadvantages for people with disabilities. In many cases, freelancing can mean that you’re working without the assurances of full-time employment, while expenses and risks are offloaded onto you. Living with a disability carries extra costs, including higher medical bills or costs of hiring personal assistants or using assistive devices.

Late payments from clients can also happen every now and again, which can put you in a stressful situation. Also, you yourself bear the responsibility for any accidents or mistakes associated with your freelance work. This doesn’t mean that the benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks, however, you should be aware of them so you can be prepared.

Below, I’ve prepared a summary of the pros and cons of being a freelancer with a disability.

Advantages of Freelancing With a DisabilityDisadvantages of Freelancing With a Disability
More comfortable work environment – possibility to modify your workspace for comfort and mobilityAdmin responsibilities
Possibility to alter your working hours around medical treatments or fatigueNo paid annual leave or sick pay and no other employment benefits
No commuteLate payments from clients
Control over your workload and ability to have additional time for rest or recoveryKeeping up to date with regulations
Deciding your own pricingHarder to sustain work-life balance

If you decide to start your freelance business, your first step should be choosing a suitable business structure. You can choose between sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Note that each one of these has different characteristics, as well as distinct advantages and disadvantages. Check out the business structures most freelancers operate through: sole proprietorship vs LLC.

Or you’re currently employed but looking for a more flexible work setup and a side income? In this case, setting up as a sole proprietor may be an option to consider before you leave your employment. It is a less formal and less costly way to determine if your business idea is what you want to do. Besides, before taking any further steps, check first whether you can do freelance work while employed and avoid costly issues.

FAQ – Work From Home for Disabled People

What are the advantages of being self-employed if you have a disability?

The main advantages of being self-employed if you have a disability are the flexible working hours, own workspace, and control over your own workload.

You can schedule your working time to attend medical appointments, rest when you need it the most, or simply have the time to take care of your needs. Your home office will often be much better equipped and prepared to meet your needs. In summary, running your freelance business means that you get to make your own decisions. Read more about the pros and cons of freelancing with a disability.

What challenges are there for disabled freelancers?

The main challenges for disabled freelancers involve no guaranteed income and late payments from clients. Simply, if you cannot work, you aren’t getting paid. This can be a real headache, especially when you have extra expenses such as medical costs or other necessities.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can also be tough – while a lack of it can lead to increased isolation. Check out our ideas on how to avoid loneliness as a freelancer or simply while working from home.

Can I start my own business while on disability?

In general, it’s possible to start freelancing while receiving disability benefits. However, starting your freelance business has implications for your disability benefits. In some cases, it can even result in you not meeting the requirements to obtain them anymore. Contact a local lawyer experienced in disability benefits to calculate your income and keep access to your benefits.

If your goal is to be self-employed while receiving disability benefits, often you’ll need to include a detailed business plan with your application to your Social Security office (or non-US equivalent). Note that you can get help to write your business plan and include any costs for this help within your plan. If you’re still unsure what kind of freelance work you want to do, find out which jobs a disabled person can do from home.