Realistic At-Home Work Opportunities for People with Chronic Illness

Marisa Zeppieri avatar

by Marisa Zeppieri |

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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.


Suzanne Zeleznik avatar

Suzanne Zeleznik

You talk about physical disabilities/flares affecting one's employment. What about cognitive issues; memory issues--what some refer to as Lupus Fog--affecting employment. My Dept Chair must have thought I had beginning Altzheimer's! I was dismissed from my job after forgetting I had posed the same question a couple of times.

Shaly avatar


I was dismissed for pretty much the same situation after having a letter from the doctor and only worked remotely FOR A DAY then I returned the computer equipment and said "we'll be in touch" where are you now in life?

Lilia Stoyanov avatar

Lilia Stoyanov

Hello Marisa,

My admirations for this article! It is so important for the people with chronic illness to be given an opportunity to continue their lives and be valued.
Transformify ( was founded two years ago in an attempt to provide work from home opportunities to disadvantaged people, including people with chronic illness and people on the Autism Spectrum. You can find more information in the article below:

It will be great to stay in touch.

Warm Regards,
Lilia Stoyanov
CEO, Transformify

Errin Fox avatar

Errin Fox

First and foremost thank you for writing this article. It is inspiring to know that someone else out there knows about work from home jobs that do not want to be on disability and encourage people with diseases like lupus to work.
I found a work-from-home seasonal position as a customer care agent from Sykes and I am currently still employed by Sykes.
It has helped me tremendously with depression. I feel like with this work-from-home job I'm getting back to myself at least somewhat. I encourage anyone that does not want to be on disability to find work from home do not give up on the search! And more importantly do not give up on yourself!


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