Jobs for disabled people | When mental illness leaves you jobless

Living with mental illness is a challenge on its own that only those who live it and their family members can truly understand its ups and downs. Although most of us can live normally with mental illness and function in society, there are times when we become so overwhelmed and stuck because the path to healing is oftentimes not linear. For some people, it takes years to find the right medication or treatment to manage their symptoms, and others might get lucky and find what works for them in a month. Nevertheless, mental illness ranges from depression to schizophrenia and they all can be debilitating and life threatening at times.
I was one of them and ended up having to leave my job following the hospitalization due to psychosis. I decided to write an article to share some helpful resources and job options for those of you who might be either going through what I had to go through or simply having a hard time finding/keeping a job due to your mental illness. Unfortunately, I didn’t have these resources at the time and I was jobless for months, which left me to struggle financially later on. I hope this article helps even just one person find something that can generate income while battling mental illness.
Jobs for disabled people

File for Disability Benefit


This should be the first thing to look into if you are currently disabled due to your mental illness. The filing process takes some time and to be determined disabled is not a guaranteed thing. So please be patient with the process. Your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the benefit and you can do so by visiting your state’s website. For example, California residents can visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/Disability_Insurance.htm for more information. Next step should be to find a licensed psychiatrist who does disability. Some psychiatrists do not do disability so it is wise to make a phone call first to see if they do before making an appointment. Once acquainted with the right psychiatrist, then you can be evaluated for your symptoms and its severity and finally get started to file for your disability.

What if I didn’t qualify for disability?


Some people do not get qualified for disability and that can potentially mean going into deeper debt. Most jobs out there require working closely with co-workers and customers and this can be very hard and impossible for those with severe mental illness. But what if there is a job where you get to work for yourself and there was minimal contact with people?
After I got discharged from a mental hospital, I lost my job and I could not find any jobs that I could do as I was still having some severe symptoms. I stayed jobless for months until I got better with the treatment and therapy. Now that my head was more clear and feeling more stable, I was on the search for jobs that were the least stressful and manageable. That is when I found these jobs as a food delivery driver.
Jobs for disabled people
With Doordash, you set your own schedule and work whenever you want to. Flexibility with time and schedule was huge for somebody like myself who was still getting better and recovering from psychosis. I had days when I just could not work but I was able to simply unassign myself from the scheduled slot and take the day off without having to worry about losing the job. Another thing I absolutely love about this job is the fact that I spend most of my time driving and not having to report to my boss or dealing with co-workers. As an additional bonus, I can even listen to meditation music most of the time while driving! These are all luxuries that I didn’t have when I worked a regular 9-5 job.
Lastly, I would also like to introduce Lyft. Lyft is more for people who don’t mind interacting with people and love driving to any places. Because you often don’t know where your destination is, this might not be a choice for those who struggle with severe anxiety or other mental illness where interaction with others is a challenge. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue working for Lyft but I wanted to share it with you to at least provide you with one more job option.

What if I can’t drive?


Some people are unable to drive either due to their anxiety or their financial situations. If you are completely stuck at home, these are some things you should consider. Although these options don’t generate as much income as Doordash and Lyft, they are still legitimate ways to put some money in your wallet.
Swagbucks – Swagbucks is a platform where you can earn points by simply watching a short video, taking a survey, and even playing a game. You can then redeem those points into PayPal credits or Visa gift cards. One thing I do want to remind you is that it can take some time and efforts to earn points so this will not be for someone who needs to come up with quick cash.

Inbox dollars – Inbox dollars is a very similar platform as Swagbucks where you can earn money by watching videos and completing surveys. The only difference is that they offer you an option to read emails to earn money as well.
Jobs for disabled people

More options to consider


There are some apps on Android/iPhone that let you earn rewards by simply uploading grocery receipts. Here, I would like to share a couple of my favorites.
Ibotta – With Ibotta, all you have to do is install the app on your phone and select offers to upload the receipt. They cover most major grocery stores and list variety of offers to give us cash back, which are very helpful. Because of its ease of use, this is my favorite one and I’ve been using this app for a few years now.
Receipt Hog – Receipt Hog is even simpler than Ibotta. There is no selecting of offers and you simply upload receipts to receive coins. Then, you can redeem those coins for PayPal credits, Amazon and Visa gift cards.

Get creative


There are many ways we can earn money. We don’t always have to work regular 9-5 jobs if we don’t want to. Although some of the options I shared in this article do not generate massive income, they are all helpful resources when it comes to being disabled or stuck. I would like to encourage you to be creative if none of the options in this article does not work for you and your situation. There are more things you can look into such as donating blood/plasma for money, selling your own arts on Etsy, and doing random gigs on Craigslist, etc…
I hope this article gave you enough options to get you through the toughest time and if you happen to know other awesome ways, please share them in the comment section below πŸ™‚
Jobs for disabled people

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Comments

  1. Caleb

    Wonderful article! I too have been diagnosed with mental illness, so I can sympathize with the pain that others like ourselves are feeling. I think you’ve done a great job here of listing a number of useful resources that can help people no matter what their current situation is. You provide links to get help if a person cannot help themselves and you also provide links to places where the more able of us can find resources to work our way up. Healing is non-linear, as you say, and each person must find their own path. But they don’t have to find that path alone, and they don’t have to walk it alone either! Once again, great article! Thank you for sharing it with us!

    1. Caleb,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and I am so glad you found this article helpful. I really wish I knew and had these resources right after I got discharged from a hospital but I am happy that I can share these with others now so they won’t have to go through what I had to go through. You are absolutely right, we do not have to go through pain and growth alone. I created this community so that people like us can help and encourage each other through our own unique journey. Thanks again for stopping by πŸ™‚

  2. Colleen

    Thank you for the great suggestions! My daughter was working for Grubhub this summer when she came home from college. She loved the freedom that it gave her. In fact, that was the only job she could find.
    I had a question regarding the apps where you upload your receipts too. What is the purpose of that, and how are you rewarded? Do you make quite a bit in relation to how much money that you spent on the receipt? Thank you and good luck in your recovery!

    1. Colleen,

      You are very welcome! With Ibotta, they list offers so you select what you purchased if it is in the offer. And then you upload your receipt showing that purchase and you get your cashback once they verify it. Check out this link if you would like to read a step by step on how this works πŸ™‚ Each offer ranges from $0.20 – $6.00 or so and they can add up to good numbers if you are consistent with it.

      Thank you so much for your kind word πŸ™‚ I hope I answered you question and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

  3. Jim

    Thanks for writing this post. After a series of family tragedies, I went into a deep depression where ultimately I was fired for under performance from a sales position. Luckily, I had a good savings built up and decided to take some time to myself to heal and re-define my world. This journey made me realize that I needed to go back in business for myself. You are right, we don’t have to work regular 9 to 5 jobs if we don’t want to. I do think you have to be creative. I think it would be great if there were more “real” opportunities out there. It seems like there are a lot of scams out there. Thank you.

    1. Jim,

      I am so sorry you had to go through that. I know it was not easy. I couldn’t agree more on wanting to have more real opportunities though. People like us sometimes do better being our own boss but jobs like that are pretty limited. I came across some but like you said, I found a lot of scams targeting those people like us or just people struggling with money. I hope things are better for you today and thank you so much for sharing your story with us πŸ™‚

  4. Love ur article I myself suffer from severe anxiety which makes it hard to work around people but I manage it but I’ve been looking for alternatives to a normal job and im glad that I came across your article you have some really great suggestions thanks for sharing have a good night.

    1. Casey,

      I’m so happy you found this article helpful. That’s amazing that you are managing your anxiety well at work. I know it can be very challenging at times. You might not need to now but it is always a relief to know that there are other jobs we could try if we are not able to work a regular 9-5 jobs πŸ™‚ It takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders, doesn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Casey.

  5. Thank you for sharing this; it takes courage. It seems that mental illness is on the rise, and advice from sufferers is crucial. Your shared experience has the potential to change lives.

    1. Fernando,

      I agree. Mental illness seems to be on the rise for the past few years and it is alarming. I worked at a medical office and noticed that about 80% of the patients all experienced and were diagnosed with some type of mental illness. Although I am still learning many things about myself on my journey, it really is my passion to share what I know that could be useful to others who are going through the similar experiences. Thanks for your kind words and I’m glad you found this article helpful πŸ™‚

  6. Michael

    Your article meant a lot to me, it was great to read. I go through periods of  having anxiety, and it can cause me to close up, and sometimes become unreachable. It’s during these times that I find gems like the ones you have in your article to do on my spare time. I like how you went into great detail about each and every service offered because a mental illness isn’t easy to get past, so being informed that there are so many opportunities out there for one is awesome to hear about. I have family members who have a mental illness, and so these would definitely help them a ton! The next time I see them, I’ll have to share your article with them. Thank you very much!

    1. Blue

      Michael,

      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ It really is helpful and puts us at ease to have these resources. I really wish I knew these ones when I got discharged from the hospital. I would have been in a much different financial situation then. I’m glad you found this article helpful, Michael.

  7. David

    Hi Blue 

    Thank you for a very informative article – much appreciated.

    More so, thank you for the courage to set up a website for people like you and me who have suffered disability and are trying to get back into the workforce…you are an inspiration!

    I had a couple of questions:

    1. Can you shed some light about the earnings that can be made with the options you suggest?  I started looking into some online surveys (from different organizations than the ones you highlight) and it was a bit of a nightmare…often got screened out as the wrong demographic…and would get paid a peasley amount, especially given the suggested time to fill out the surveys always was far less than the actual time (and I don’t think I am slow).

    2. Do you know whether Australia is covered by these options?

    Thanks again

    David

    1. Blue

      David,

      Thank you so much for your words.  You’re so kind πŸ™‚

      How much money you can make from them kind of depends on a person but here are some ideas I can give you from my own personal experience:

      Doordash – Each order ranges from approximately $5 – $10 and above. So depending on your region, you could make some good money if the customers tip you.  But realistically, I would say the total money you make is slightly more than minimal wage. 

      Lyft – I only tried it for a short while but again, each ride ranges from $2 – $80 and even higher.  It all depends on the distance and you will not know your destination until you pick up your customer.  I believe you can make a pretty good income doing this if you commit to it full time.

      Swagbucks and Inboxdollars – These ones pay out much lower compared to the above options, ranging from cents to a few dollars payout depending on what you do.  You are right about the surveys though. It could take you 30 min to complete a survey and the payout could be only $1.50, which doesn’t really balance out.  However, if you absolutely have no source of income, this could add up and really help with some bills.

      Ibotta – Each offer ranges from $0.20 to a few dollars. This one can also take some time to earn significant amount but it will add up pretty quick if you grocery shop often.

      Receipt Hog – This one might be the slowest one to earn points and money.  It takes 1,000 coins to get $5 Visa gift card.  If you have a lot of receipts laying around, you can make this happen pretty quick πŸ™‚

      I hope this helped understand a little bit better, David.   If you have more questions, feel free to ask me anytime.  And I do not think they are available in Australia but Swagbucks and Inboxdollars might be. I would suggest try searching Australian companies that might be offering the same type of service. 

  8. Kenny

    Hi thanks for creating this article. There are many forms of mental illness and finally our society is waking up to that fact and that life and work don’t always help this situation. We need people like you to keep creating good pieces of work like this to ensure we understand the full extent of the challenges someone with mental illness faces, and offering encouragement to people who might otherwise feel overwhelmed at times. Many thanks, Kenny 

    1. Blue

      Kenny,

      I’m glad you found this article helpful. With the increase in people suffering from mental illness, we notice that there is more awareness in the community but we can always keep improving to provide more resources for people in these type of situations because not everybody qualifies for disability.  I appreciate you stopping by and leaving us a comment πŸ™‚

  9. Steve T

    Thanks for your great article, Blue, and for actually doing something to deal with this growing problem. People with emotional challenges are too often ignored, stigmatized or shut out of contact, when they need and deserve a helping hand.  I’m fortunate that my emotional issues have not interfered with work or daily functions for more than a few days at a time, but we all have emotional and mental challenges, and I’m no exception.  I have friends and relatives that have lost jobs and marriages due to depression, PTSD, schizophrenia and addiction, so I relate with these challenges.

    I particularly appreciate your recommendation of Doordash, as it seems ideal for working before these problems are fully resolved.  I’ve driven lyft and Uber, and I think they are good for many people but not for most folks who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, or who struggle with pressure on the job.

    You might also consider recommending AirBnB for those with access to real estate they could rent; some who do this never meet their tenants, but handle everything online. Another option might be writing articles or code on fiverr.  I’ve done some projects on fiverr, and while it isn’t the fastest way to earn money, it is possible and flexible.

    Thanks again for making a difference.

    Steve

    1. Blue

      Steve,

      You’re very welcome and thank you so so much for suggesting those options for the other members and this community πŸ™‚  I just looked into those and they both are the great addition to the list!  I really appreciate other members’ input and insights because I created this page to be a community where people can exchange tips, encouragement, info, etc.  I do not always have all the great answers but I know that when we have more people we can accomplish great things together.  Thanks again for stopping by and sharing us your thoughts!

  10. Todd P Matthews

    Excellent article with excellent ideas. It’s great to know that there are job options out there for anyone and even those who may not be able to be around people long. I’m an agoraphobe so I can relate in a sense, as when places get too crowded, especially toward the evening for some reason, I can get extremely uncomfortable. Not a fun feeling, but I’ve been lucky to work in a gym most of my life which is a comfort zone.

    For anyone struggling with mental illnesses of any kind, this article provides solid options few people know about which will provide both income and also a lot of hope. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Todd,

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’m happy you get to work at a place where you feel comfortable because that means everything to some people with challenges like mental illness. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate you all.

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