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Make money if you have a physical disability

MoneyMagpie team 17th Jan 2023 27 Comments

Reading Time: 12 minutes

If you’re physically disabled there are lots of ways to make money on the side in easy and unexpected ways, even if you’re not very mobile. (Keep an eye out for a new series coming soon that will cover other types of unseen disabilities and mental health.)

Here’s a list of just some of the many ways people with physical disabilities can make extra money, without loads of hassle.

Many of them are not only handy for bringing in the cash, they’re also fun to do!


How to make money if you’re not mobile

If you you’re not mobile you might be tempted to think there are no money-making opportunities for you/ But you’d be wrong!

There are loads of ways you can make some money from home – from online surveys to setting up a blog.

Here are some great money makers especially for you:


Make money with online surveys

make money with online surveysOnline surveys are great ways to make some extra cash, with very little effort required. Simply sign up to a safe, secure online survey site and you’ll be paid cash for filling out their surveys.

They don’t require a special commitment – you can fill them in during the ads of your favourite TV shows or whenever you have a spare half an hour.

Online surveys can make you up to an additional £50 a month.

At MoneyMagpie we like Nielsen Computer Panel UK. It’s great: all you have to do is download their app onto your computer and mobile devices and you’re automatically entered into prize draws.

Nielsen researches internet users’ behaviour and randomly selects users for monthly prize draws, as well as larger yearly draws. As long as you’re comfortable with the setup, Nielsen doesn’t require any active participation on your part. All you need to do is register, answer a few questions about your internet use and then you get rewarded for using them!

Check out the following of top survey sites:

See our article on MoneyMagpie-approved survey sites and start making money today.

Some sites let you swap your earned points for cash or great vouchers such as Amazon gift cards.

Just remember, never pay to sign up to an online survey site


Make easy money writing in to magazines

Earn money writing to magainesMagazines are often looking for true life stories from ordinary people – you can make a lot of money from telling yours.

Very few people actually write in to magazines with their true life stories, so there’s plenty of opportunity to contact features teams and sell yours.

You can make up to around £2,000 depending on how sensational or interesting the story is – in fact one MoneyMagpie reader earned £2,200 for her life story.

Stories can vary and you can talk about anything – magazines look for stories of tragedy, hope, inspiration or humour.

How to sell your story to magazines

The process is simple. Phone up or email a journalist (or contact the features team via email) and briefly outline the story you’re interested in selling. You can get your money in as little as two weeks!

Take a Break magazine offers up to £2,000 for true stories, and other magazines and newspapers offer between £200 and £2,000 depending on how good the story is.

You can make even more by including a relevant photo, which helps make your story more interesting!

If you have a life story you’d like to sell, target the magazines you know your story will be relevant to.

A friend of MoneyMagpie, journalist Mel Fallowfield, is always looking for true-life stories for various magazines and newspapers. She can often get a few thousand if yours is a really good story. Contact her on [email protected] and she’ll let you know how much you could get for your tale.

For example, a story of dramatic weight loss would be ideal for a magazine like Woman’s Weekly, but may not be great for Total Film!

Keep an eye out for magazine competitions too. You could win big prizes for doing very little.

Some magazines even reward cash for tips, recipes and star letters too. Check your favourites and see what they offer.


Have a sharp eye for detail? Make money reading…

Make money proofreadingIf you can spot grammatical errors from a mile off then proofreading is the perfect career for you.

To be a proofreader you must have an excellent standard of English and strong attention to detail, so you can spot all the errors in documents and manuscripts.

There are no set entry requirements for becoming a proofreader, but relevant experience is a bonus (and if you’ve got a degree in English, that won’t hurt either!). Proofreaders spot mistakes in texts and make changes.

Proof reading pays surprisingly well, with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders reporting that the minimum hourly rate for experienced and qualified proofreaders is £26.90.

For those with less experience, don’t fret. A talented newbie proofreader can still earn up to £10-£15 per hour. Not bad for a flexible job.

Another great thing about freelance proofreading is that you usually work flexible hours. You can plan your working day around deadlines and how long the manuscripts will take.

Once you’ve finished your work, you’re done for the day. So, if you’re a fast and diligent worker, you could be earning a decent wage that fits around your social life.


Make a name for yourself online and make extra cash – or freebies!

Make money bloggingDo you have something you want to share with the world?

Have you got opinions people need to hear?

Consider setting up a blog.

Blogs can be about absolutely anything. They can be personal, like a kind of diary blog, or you could simply write about a subject you find interesting.

If you have something unique to say, write it. It’s very therapeutic and you can make good money on the side from blogging if it becomes successful.

Here are some useful tips on how to make your blog more popular:

Firstly, write about something you’re passionate about. It’s important you find it fun to do or you won’t be motivated, and people will find it less interesting to read. You have to ooze enthusiasm.

Publish your blog on a popular site like WordPress. The free version comes with lots of tutorials to help you learn more about running your website.

Remember to focus on promoting your blog in various ways. Word of mouth, telling your friends and family, and using social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are great ways to get your content noticed!

Finally, you could use your blog to sell things or advertise your own services.

See our article on how to make money blogging.


Make £15-£25 an hour as a Virtual Assistant

Make money as a virtual assistantVirtual assistant positions are a great opportunity to make money if you’re skilled on the computer but not very mobile.

To be a virtual assistant you must be computer literate and confident with major software packages. You can adapt your workstation with things like speech-to-text software if you have limited mobility in your hands, too.

There’s high demand for virtual assistants from small businesses who can’t afford full-time admin support. Some larger companies also employ virtual assistants to work from home: much secretarial work can be completely remote.

As a virtual assistant you’ll answer calls in a professional manner, reply to emails, and manage diary bookings. You’ll have to be proactive and work to meet deadlines, and you may be tested to see if you’re performing to a high standard.

You can find work as a virtual assistant by signing up to a decent free agency, and can earn up to £27 per hour.  Try Virtual Office Temps or the Society of Virtual Assistants has more information and lots of tips on how to get started.

How exciting would it be to work with clients across the globe and liaise with people from different countries?

Read more about becoming a virtual assistant here.


Make money calling companies

Make money as a mystery shopperIf you’re not mobile, there are loads of phone-based mystery shopper jobs. You call a given company and ask a list of questions. All you have to do is report their response.

Mystery shoppers are also needed in the online world. Your role will be to contact and send specific enquiries to websites. You’ll monitor the speed and contact of the response. Again, you’ll probably provide your feedback through a straightforward and simple questionnaire.

You’ll then be paid when you’ve reported your findings. Once you’ve done your bit, you will sometimes be paid within 24 hours of your assignment.

Pay rates differ for different agencies and companies. You can expect to earn £5-£25 per task plus expenses. However, for phone calling mystery shopper jobs the pay is much lower – £1-£5 for phone work.

This obviously won’t pay the bills, but it’s a fun way to earn a bit of extra cash. If you’re interested in taking part in mystery shopping, see our article for the best and safest mystery shopper agencies.

Never pay to join a mystery shopping agency. You are being paid for your service.

Make money chatting to people

Make money phoning people If you have a friendly, customer-focused attitude and excellent, professional telephone manner, working as a phone agent could be the ideal job for you.

There’s loads of home based call centre work for individuals who aren’t mobile. All you need is a computer, the internet and a phone, and your job is to simply answer customer service calls and deliver excellent service.

Customer service is increasingly branching out. Clients are contacting companies and making their queries via email, social media and online chats, so there’s more technical support work for those who aren’t very mobile.

Additionally, social media is all around us and dominating the internet. Many companies recruit individuals to be responsible for the social media of their company. It’s now crucial for promoting products or companies.

Keep an eye out for virtual social media roles on job sites as you can gain some excellent transferable skills.

Find out how you can make money from answering the phone here.

How to make money if you’re semi mobile

If you’re okay getting around, but can only put so much strain on yourself, try one of these ways to make extra cash…

Make money tasting food and watching adverts

Make money taking part in focus groups and researchFocus groups are a particularly fun and interesting way to make money on the side.

Register with companies such as Take Part in Research and you can earn up to £250 for sharing your opinion.

Focus groups vary from filling out paid surveys for a couple of weeks to going in and reviewing and assessing various products and even TV ads before their release!

It’s an exciting opportunity to make some good cash and meet people from all walks of life. It’s great for individuals who love testing products and talking to people. You’ll also get to share your thoughts on innovative products and services.

Sometimes, you’ll hit the jackpot and test foods. To find out more about how you can become a grub tester, read our article on getting paid to test food…yes, even chocolate.

If you aren’t able to get to a focus group then you can take part in online focus groups or even do an interview over the phone.

Make money with a punchy pun

Make money writing puns for greeting cardsFeeling creative?

Write messages for greeting cards for a bit of extra cash!

Although this is a very competitive market, a lot of money can be made from writing witty lines, and it’s an exciting industry to work in. A punchy pun could earn you up to £150!

The most popular cards are funny, likeable and witty puns. Who doesn’t like a clever joke that puts a smile on our faces?

However, other greeting card types include sentimental messages and traditional cards that use rhyming poetry.

The first step to getting your message published is research galore. Decide which type of message you’d like to write in greeting cards, and find out who publishes these types of messages.

It’s worth visiting a high street card shop such as Clintons. Spend time viewing the cards and note the relevant publishers that you want to contact. You can find the publisher on the back of each card.

Keep an eye out for niche shops that sell greeting cards, e.g. book stores, garden centres, craft shops and gift shops.

Also, visit greeting card trade fairs where you can gain publisher contacts and do some networking. You could even pitch to them and show them your example greeting card messages.

Golden Rules:

  • NEVER submit your work without reading the submission guidelines. Find them on the publisher’s website.
  • If you submit work and haven’t followed these guidelines, your work won’t get read.
  • If you can’t find their guidelines, write to the publisher to request them.
  • When you receive a response regarding your greeting card message, keep track of your contacts.

It may take a while to get going, but many people make good careers from greeting card writing, and it’s a very creative, interesting industry to work in. Check out the Greeting Card Association site for freelance work.

If you’re interested in making money on the side from fun greeting card writing see our more detailed article.


Make money selling your old stuff

Make money selling your old dvdsHave you got piles of used books, DVDs, games, CDs, and clothes cluttering up your room?

Sell them and make extra cash!

As they say: tidy house, tidy mind and you’ll be a good bit richer.

Sell on sites like Ziffit, Amazon and eBay. On Ziffit you can simply type in the barcode and find out how much cash you can get.

Visit our Clear Your Clutter section to find out more about getting paid for your old stuff. 


Make money if you’re mobile but have other disabilities

If mobility isn’t a problem but you have other health issues which may hinder your ability to find employment, here are some great money makers to try.

Earn £60 an hour dog walking

Mobile disabled people can make money dog walkingIf you’re mobile and enjoy being out and about in the fresh air, dog walking could be for you.

Dog walking is an enjoyable, lively job that pays surprisingly well. You can make up to £50 an hour if you’re brave enough to walk four dogs at the same time. Some people can take even more, so it can be a lucrative business idea.

If you want a slightly easier dog walking experience, you can earn up to £10-12.50 an hour walking one furry friend at a time. This is the perfect job for animal lovers.

You can go about dog walking by joining an agency such as Tailster for immediate work. Tailster is free to join and advertises you to hundreds of people in need of a dog walker.

Of course, the advantage of working with an agency is that they do the hard work of getting the jobs in. The disadvantage is that they take a cut of the money.

As an alternative, register with Petpals as a dog walking company and apply for jobs on there. You can also simply put an ad out in your local area – on noticeboards, through people’s doors, on local websites – advertising your services. Quite often you can also find new clients while you’re out walking the dogs. Make sure you take a stack of business cards while you’re out.

For more details on how you can get work as a dog walker see our article.

Top 5 tips for disabled people looking to find work

  • top tips for disabled people looking for workLook for the Disability Confident symbol, which can be found on job descriptions online. It indicates that the employer is committed to employing disabled people.
  • If you’re a young disabled person looking for work after school look at the apprenticeship scheme run by the Government.
  • Go to your local job centre and find your disability employment advisor. They will assist you in your job search and tell you about relevant courses you can do to improve your experience and skills. They can also teach you interview skills.
  • The Work and Health Programme is another fantastic government-funded scheme that helps disabled people find employment and stay in work through free courses.
  • Access to Work offers grants for current workers and those about to enter employment. They can pay for specialised equipment and even offer help travelling to and from work. Both employees and self-employed people with disabilities can apply to the scheme.

Work and Benefits

If you get benefits such as PIP, DLA, ESA or Universal Credit you need to be aware of how starting a new job or earning extra money might affect your claim. As a general rule, PIP and DLA are not affected as they are not means tested but any work you take on could trigger a reassessment.

Always check with your local JobCentre Plus, Citizens Advice or look at DisabilityRightsUK and Scope for more information. It’s a good idea to inform government agencies or departments about what you are doing regarding work as you may be fined for not doing so.

The rules are different for each type of benefit and also according to how many hours you are doing or how much you are earning.

The government has a page of useful numbers to ring to find out more about how you might be affected: Disability Service Centre.

For more information about Universal Credit contact the helpline on 0800 328 5644 or for ESA queries contact JobCentre Plus on 0800 169 0310 or Textphone 0800 169 0314.

If you are in any doubt at all about if or how any work you take on might affect your benefits – ask an expert.


Are you disabled and looking for work? Tell us about yourself in the comments below. Let’s see if we can help you in your quest to make money!

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John Lewis
John Lewis
5 years ago

Having a disability should never prevent you from making money. And you prove that all too well in your article. That is the great tip for anyone who has someone making money. Thanks for sharing this.

Jasmine Birtles
5 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Thank you!

6 years ago


Jasmine Birtles
6 years ago
Reply to  RACHEL

There are some helpful ideas here https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/work-people-living-disability-or-health-conditions. You can work when receiving PIP but it’s just ‘permitted work’. See what they say at Disabilityrights.

3 years ago

There are not restrictions on earnings and amount of time you work for in relation to PIP, as it isn’t a work related benefit. Other benefits like Universal credit or ESA will be subject to restrictions and have a permitted work policy associated with them.

6 years ago

Been trying everything on here for over a year now. You may as well try to look for change in your couch, you will make about the same. Not exagerating all that much either.

Thea Ramsay
Thea Ramsay
6 years ago

Know what you mean, Teresa. I can’t sit or stand for long because of 5 or 6 different painful conditions all hammering at the same muscles, joints, etc. Plus, I’m totally blind. Busking and piano tuning is out because of my mobility issues, (even my hands are stiff and painful), same with busking, as I can barely walk and use a wheelchair I cannot push myself. I don’t have fam or friends that can help me with any of these things either. Also, the surveys I’ve tried ask questions about things I haven’t a clue about, such as cars, and… Read more »

Teresa Langrel
Teresa Langrel
6 years ago

I am 62 years work part time but not sure how much longer. I have multiple disabilites Cerebral Palsy,Scolosis,back problems,Osteoarthritis,and Congestive Heart Failure.But it is my legs that I worry about. They are weak and I hope I can find something to do from home in case it gets to the point I cant work. I cant sit or stand for a long period of time. any suggestions.thank youTeresa loangrel.

6 years ago

I have a right shoulder that sometimes comes completely out of place – not to mention that my ribs get compacted causing me to have limited breathing. No help – no benefits – and i lost my job since it’s not considered good to sit and scream in pain at work. sometimes I can’t do anything at all – not even move around on my own . . . how am I going to do any of the jobs that people suggest? It’s frustrating – especially since I lost my job due to this injury. Very depressing too . .… Read more »

Liz Templar
Liz Templar
6 years ago

The frustration I face is that you simply don’t dare to do anything that might earn you any money at all while on benefits. I’ve suffered with CFS and depression for years now and am unable to work. I have a thirty-year-old novel manuscript that I tinker with when I can, but motivation to complete it is low since I wouldn’t be able to even self-publish it on Kindle because of being on ESA. Their attitude would be ‘if you can write a book you can work’. Ditto if I tried blogging. What they call ‘permitted work’ has to be… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles
6 years ago
Reply to  Liz Templar

That sounds awful..and stupid. It does annoy me that the benefits system stops people working to help themselves. I would keep on with the novel though. You never know…it could do well and then you get another commission and another etc etc. Go for it! As for the equity release though. I think you’re too young to take it out. You get less money and it could run out early. I can see the attraction but equity release works better when you’re older. If you possibly can, wait until you’re at least 70. Also, before you even think about talking… Read more »

7 years ago

A vast majority of paid online surveys do appear to discrimminate against those who are either unemployed or on a significantly low-income compared with those on salaried incomes if my own individual experiences are anything to report. I haven’t signed up to all of the above recommended ones, yet may look into these if my confidence not yet totally knocked by previous unfortunate encounteres with these things. You are allowed and entitled to work up to 16 hours a week whilst in receipt of benefits, whether or not you are entitled to all oof them, so nothing illegal here for… Read more »

Sarah Cotterill
Sarah Cotterill
7 years ago

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who is looking for part time work that could become full time work in the future. I have over 16 years experience of working in health and social care. This was mainly in housing, mental health and homelessness. I have two degrees in Criminology and my last job was a service manager for a national mental health charity, from which I was made redundant. I am currently a volunteer for the citizens advice bureau and would like to get back into work. I have a driving licence and car and live in… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles
7 years ago

Wow, Sarah, i’d have you come to work for us if I had the job for you. You sound amazing!! There are a few things I would suggest: – Firstly, you’re doing exactly the right thing volunteering for Citizen’s Advice. While you’re there make sure you let everyone know that you’re actively seeking work as you never know who might have something for you. – Make sure that your LInkedIn profile is up-to-date and that you’re posting items regularly, writing articles and joining relevant groups to increase your connections. – Go for jobs around the country, not just in your… Read more »

Sarah Cotterill
Sarah Cotterill
7 years ago

Many thanks Jasmine for your support and helpful suggestions, I will start work on them shortly and see what comes from them. I had not considered writing a blog or setting up a twitter account. Do you have any suggestions for how I could do this as I am unsure of how to go about creating an online profession/career? Any suggestions would be welcome.

Kind regards

Sarah Cotterill

7 years ago

great stuff! thanks!

7 years ago
Reply to  Chris

hi, my name is Stuart and i have got some mental health problems, i take some meds and i am stable just now so i was hoping to do a bit of work while i feel i am able, could you tell me if i can do some work without it affecting my benefits? i would like to do some work pet sitting/walking but i have been told that i am not allowed to do this, is this true? and is there anything else i could do? i like to help others.

Jasmine Birtles
7 years ago
Reply to  Stuart

Very good question Stuart and that’s one we should do a whole article on. I will check and get back to you. There are certainly things you can do and it’s important to get out there and do them – including voluntary work – but there are restrictions on how much you can earn if you’re on benefits. I’ll get a benefits expert to answer you.

7 years ago

Hi Stuart, just like you I am also a mental-health sufferer yet a highly creative and immensley articulate and very educated individual. Most of my employment years have been spent and lost in jobs well below my actual skills-level that consequently led to very low self esteem and fear of trying to apply for anything that came my way with a salaried opportunity. I have worked on the Railways that I had to pass acute listening tests as well as difficult passenger scenarios and track safety awareness, yet bullied out of my role, I was unable to contest with my… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles
7 years ago
Reply to  Stuart

Hi there Stuart. I checked with DWP because the rules are different depending on what sort of benefits you have. This is what they said: “Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants can work for fewer than 16 hours per week and earn up to £115.50 per week for up to 52 weeks, without it affecting their benefit entitlement. After the 52 week period has been exhausted, a claimant must wait for a further 52 weeks (or leave the benefit completely for at least 12 weeks) before being able to work at this level again. This work is called Permitted Work… Read more »

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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