What kind of work is out there for a person with severe muscular dystrophy? Need about $200/mo. extra money.
May 30, 2010 1:24 AM   Subscribe

What kind of work is out there for a person with severe muscular dystrophy? Need about $200/mo. extra money. I have extensive general computer knowledge, sort of a jack of all trades, master of few.

In terms of functionality the disability means: effectively no muscle use but for eye and very small hand movements; okay at speaking but very poor stamina for it; mentally I'm normal to above average. It would be very difficult for me to work from anywhere but home.

Only need to make $200-250 or so per month. And I'm curious how that much income affects SSI/Medicaid funds.

No highschool diploma or equivalent. No real past job experience.

Skills, knowledge:
- Extensive general computer knowledge from over 17 years of daily use. Mainly Windows systems. (MSDOS/Win 3.1 to Windows XP) Some knowledge of Linux and Mac systems.
- Good awareness and unrderstanding of PC hardware, but no physical ability to assemble components.
- HTPC and audio/video equipment setup.
- Use of Word, Excel, Photoshop, Acrobat Pro and other common office software.
- Minor experience with MySQL, CPanel, phpmyadmin, PHP, and Apache.
- Moderate knowledge of HTML and a little CSS.
- Experience using VNC, PCAnywhere, Telnet and SSH to access remote systems.
- Experience administrating and securing small home networks.
- Cleaning up virus and spyware laden systems.
- Good at working with video. Converting, capturing, encoding, editing, demuxing, resyncing, subtitling, complex DVD authoring.
- Understands E-mail clients, Usenet, FTP, IM clients, IRC, web browsers, P2P apps very well.
- Conversion of almost any audio/video/image/document formats.
- Excellent at web search with Google/Yahoo/other engines.
- Knows legacy databases such as DBase and FoxBase.
- Batch file scripting, AHK scripting.
- Use of virtualization software. VirtualPC, VMware, Bochs, Basilisk, various mobile device, computer, console emulators. Various disk image formats.
- Very minor knowledge of Python, TCL, Perl, x86 assembly.
- Very minor (software) reverse engineering knowledge.
- Can speak passable Spanish and beginner level German.
- Many other things!

Note that despite the above, I cannot type in great quantity or do any of these things very quickly.
posted by MrFish to Work & Money (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Start a business of converting home VHS tapes to DVD. Just plug a VCR into something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-VC500-Touch-Capture-Device/dp/B000VM60I8/ref=pd_cp_e_3

Advertise on craigslist or with posters at a local supermarket.
posted by glenno86 at 1:54 AM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Contact your state's Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (or whatever they call the vocational rehabilitation program in your state). You should be eligible for adaptive technology, education resources, career counseling, and job placement services.
posted by availablelight at 2:29 AM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest looking in to Crossloop, where you can offer remote computer help to end users for a fee (seems the going rate is around $45 per incident.) Your yearly cost for an account with them would be $99.50.

While I have not personally offered my services through Crossloop, I do know that a few of my colleagues have used this method to generate additional income.
posted by biggity at 2:34 AM on May 30, 2010

Your state Vocational Rehabilitation Services is your best bet.

If you don't want to go through VRS, though, you could post on Craigslist and offer to do video work, or website work for small businesses. My husband made a little money on the side by doing work for a guy who had a business making videos, basically just helping him out with big projects.
posted by christinetheslp at 2:52 AM on May 30, 2010

Is it worth considering being an IT consultant to others with disabilities? Set people up with, for example, alternative mousing options, predictive-text keyboarding softwares, screen readers, voice control etc? I would imagine users would be grateful to have somone helping them that is aware of how the capabilities of their computer can offset the limitations of their bodies. Could also expand to helping people with, for example, memory problems set up google-accounts that utilise all the reminder and calendar functions, memory-training softwares, password recall systems and what have you. Ideally people living with their own issues will be open to having a more flexible timescale, or using varied communication methods that would let you perform in the way that works best for you. Assistive Technology Consultant has a nice ring to it.
posted by Iteki at 6:36 AM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could offer video editing services to a small company that does weddings -- during busy times they could probably use a hand logging footage or doing rough cuts.
posted by xo at 7:15 AM on May 30, 2010

I second the Crossloop idea. Or, if you don't want to tie yourself into a service like Crossloop, then use something like Instant Housecall.

With Instant Housecall, you could find an IT company in your area (or not) that offers remote support to their clients. Offer to contract as a virtual help desk or as a tier 1 support level. I've been testing Instant Housecall with my clients. It has a chat client and a very good usage portal/reporting function.

I'd set up some standard macros to use with the chat client to minimize your time on the phone, a basic web page or dropbox account to store software tools you could access from their machine, and a couple of standard email "templates" to use to report your time to the IT company.
posted by disclaimer at 8:50 AM on May 30, 2010

Response by poster: @bigggity, that is interesting, though I disfavor the idea of jobs that have you paying them to let you work. But maybe if you work enough it comes out to your advantage.

@Iteki, do you know anywhere especially good to offer such services, beyond like Craigslist?

Same question for the freelancing ideas in general. Though maybe I should search for that myself.

Helping myself a bit, I found out about Amazon mechanical turk. Looks feasible, though the pay is mostly very poor. I'm still hoping for any further suggestions people might have!
posted by MrFish at 8:56 AM on May 30, 2010

Not specifically, but off the top of my head I would contact local organisations like the ones mentioned by other replies here, local advocacy programs or rehab-centers, become active in online communities catering to specific issues that you could use. Note the difference between active and spammy mind. Make a simple website, buy a couple bucks of google ads. Considering that if somone needs your skills in this area, they aren't techy themselves, make it easy for them and clear. Create a couple of "packages" where you either optimise their system for visibility issues (high contrast, screen magnifiers, screen readers) or for motility (there's a million interesting freewares for mouse and keyboard minimisation). Get creative, but keep it simple. Offer say a setup package for X bucks, and also offer the option of some sort of subscription service, of say, X/2 dollars a year for up to an hours support a month both on the settings you install and perhaps general troubleshooting. Disclaimer, IAMNABusinesswoman, just some stuff off the top of my head.

Mechanical Turk is not a good fit for you most likely. I haven't used it in an age mind, but what was profitable was the stuff that was short and repetative, where you could work really fast. So, a penny each, but you can optimise your workway to make it a 15 second process, and they have 30,000 tasks available... then you can make some money. 20 minute task, there's only 5 available and they are paying 50 cents? Not so much.
posted by Iteki at 9:59 AM on May 30, 2010

You might want to see if you can work as a research assistant with a professor who either runs studies on computers or needs to have data coded (e.g., in this negotiation transcript, what did the buyer offer the seller?). If you made the right connection, I think a psych professor with an active lab could easily have $200 worth of work/month available that could be done on a computer from home.
posted by eisenkr at 10:53 AM on May 30, 2010

On the flip side of the assistive technology consultant idea, you could offer usability testing services to web and software developers who need to make their products more accessible. (Web accessibility testing is part of my job.) You'd have to familiarize yourself with the standards and regulations involved - WCAG 2.0, Section 508, state law if applicable. Most people's starting point the first time they consider web accessibility is blind people using screenreaders. But there's a whole lot of people with mobility issues, repetitive stress injuries, fatigue, etc., and your expertise would be very valuable in this area. Email/MeMail me if you want more information.

As you alluded to in your question, you should thoroughly investigate what effect any income you make would have on your benefit levels and eligibility. I'm not sure where the best place to start on that is - maybe your local SSI or Vocational Rehabilitation office.
posted by expialidocious at 11:01 AM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I do notice that Amazon mturk is for the most part not the sort of thing I had in mind, after browsing the offered work more. Thanks for these suggestions given so far.
posted by MrFish at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2010

kind of hard to understand your limitations. You mentioned only been able to do small hand movements, but most of us relate to computer work. Are you able to do computer work for any length of time?

Email me. I know somebody who needs lots of work done with DVDs. I'm not sure it pays a lot but it might provide a lead.
posted by chinabound at 1:06 AM on August 20, 2010

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