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Ask L2: Navigating long-term disability and other income options

"Are there other income sources I should look into?"

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.

Do you have any advice for someone who is disabled and healing but out of FMLA and may not be granted long-term disability? Are there other potential sources of income I should look into?


First, I’m sorry that you’re in that situation. I’ve never personally been disabled, and I can’t imagine how it feels to not be able to do some of the most basic things with your body. I am wishing you the most speedy recovery and also the ability to be as gentle with yourself as you need.

It’s hard to recommend other sources of income when I am not sure what your skills or your interests are, but I will say that it’s way easier to make money from behind a computer screen than ever before. When I was just out of college, I ghost wrote on UpWork and made about 10K in a few months. I spent a couple of hours a day putting together pieces for people on the most random topics, but they paid me for them and I didn’t care to own the copyright.

There are sites that will pay you to do voice overs, transcribe audio, take surveys, you name it. Start by figuring out how much you can do. How many hours a day are you able to focus? Do you need to be laying down? Can you be in a desk chair? Can you work from the couch? Does working from a computer make the most sense? Does it have to be something you can do on a tablet or your phone?

Map out what you feel like you can do, and be conservative. You can always do more, but doing less when you’ve already committed is more difficult.

Once you know how much you can physically do, then start looking at what you are good at or what you would enjoy. Once you know that, you can take a look at some freelancer sites and see what is there.

It will probably start slow, but that’s okay based on where I think you’re at.

Of course, if you’re not physically able to do any work at all right now, you might want to look to your county, city, or state government and see if they have any short-term hardship support that you can tap into. There are often programs like that at different levels, though whether they have funding is a different story. You could also look into nonprofits and charities that focus on people with short or long-term disabilities.

I wish you well through this journey!



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