Realistic At-Home Work Opportunities for People with Chronic Illness

Marisa Zeppieri avatar

by Marisa Zeppieri |

Share this article:

Share article via email

Ask anyone with a chronic illness, such as lupus, about some of the biggest challenges they face on a regular basis. One of the biggest issues you will hear about is employment. Working is tough – on one hand, we never know when a flare is going to occur and we need to be realistic about how much we can push ourselves physically. On the other hand, we need to support ourselves and many of us need funds for out-of-pocket expenses, treatments, shelter, food, etc.

Over the years, employment has been a “thorn in my side” when it comes to battling a chronic illness. There is frustration in knowing I am mentally capable of having an incredible career in journalism, yet my body doesn’t want to play along. A few years ago, I left the freelance journalism world and was hired by Gannett as a reporter. It was a tough interview process and I was thrilled to make the cut. Not even six months in, my body was basically waving the white flag and I was barely hanging on by a thread. The constant go-go-go nature of journalism and reporting took its toll.

After a major flare, an outbreak of shingles and back-to-back hospital visits, I gave up. It crushed my spirit and left me in a state of depression for a season. When I speak with other people who have lupus or another chronic illness, I hear similar stories. Stories about amazing careers and having much-needed skills, but being unable to keep up with the physical demands of the job.

For others, it’s having employers or coworkers who refuse to acknowledge that some people with chronic illness actually have an illness and may need accommodations. And, for another set of people, it is finding employment that can be fulfilled, despite physical limitations — and not earning too much money that it is counted against them if they are on Social Security Disability.

It’s a tricky situation for many, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution because every one with lupus is affected in a different way. One area where people have had success is finding remote or telecommuting work. This is a hot employment area that has grown in leaps and bounds the past few years.

There are many legitimate companies that hire both part and full-time employees in a variety of areas. Below, I will talk about a few top name companies hiring right now, but before I do, I want to mention something about disability. For those on disability in America, if you earn more than $840 per month in 2017, those earnings will trigger a “work period month.” Men and women on disability for lupus or another chronic illness are allowed nine trial work period months within a 60-month period before Social Security makes a decision if benefits will continue. You can learn more about this here.

For anyone interested in flexible at-home work opportunities, here are a few companies I found via online searches and also (an amazing website loaded with telecommuting positions). There is a small fee to join Flexjobs, but it is well worth it if you are actively looking for an at-home position.

  • LoveToKnow – Do you enjoy writing and/or consider yourself an expert in a specific area? LoveToKnow employs writers who wish to work from home and have at least one year of professional writing experience. Pay varies per assignment but most articles pay between $25 to $60 upon acceptance. Learn more here.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) – From Member Care Coordinators to Customer Service Advocates, BCBS has a wide range of full-time telecommuting jobs available. Plus, they offer great benefits! Learn more here.
  • Walden University – Help more than 47,000 students finish their bachelors, master’s or doctoral degree. Jobs are remote and range from academic coordinator and faculty positions to academic advisors and human resource roles. Click here to find out more.
  • TeleTech – TeleTech is hiring work-from-home employees right now for the upcoming holidays and seasonal customer service support for a variety of well-known retailers. Search here for opportunities.
  • Convergys – Convergys is hiring numerous work-at-home customer care representatives for food and gift retailers. View open positions here (work-at-home open spots by state can be found on the left side).
  • Williams-Sonoma – Can anyone say yummy? Depending on your state, work-from-home telephone agent positions are available for the holidays. Pay starts at $11 per hour and overtime is available. Click here to search by state.

These are just a few at-home work options. You also can look on job sites such as Indeed, Flexjobs and Snagajob and search “freelance,” “remote,” or “virtual.” Have you found success in working remotely? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.