Starting a business is hard enough when you have everything going for you. If you’re already living with a disability, the obstacles you face can stack up even higher. 

Fortunately, there are ways you can more easily overcome these barriers to achieve the success you dream of. From balancing disability benefits with work schedules to finding funding opportunities, the future is open to you. 

Just as others have navigated their disabilities and work demands to succeed as entrepreneurs, you too can navigate the challenges of starting a business. Here’s what you should know. 


Everyone encounters barriers in their professional endeavors. Unfortunately for all of us living with a disability, it can be more difficult to juggle medical needs with all the work it takes to run a business. A few powerful obstacles make things harder. 

While every person’s situation is different, the following challenges are common barriers to success. Here’s what you need to know about them.


Acquiring the financial overhead to start your business is rarely easy. After all, you might be on a fixed income through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and have trouble paying your bills as is. 

Finding the funding to start your entrepreneurial journey can be an exercise in frustration. Resources are limited and knowing where to look requires knowledge of what’s available. Fortunately, however, there are options. 

Securing Benefits

Working with SSDI can further complicate matters. Owning a business and working even a little bit can affect your eligibility. 

There are limits to how much money you can make and still keep your benefits. For employees, substantial gainful activity is capped at $1,310 per month—not a lot of money to make your dreams come true.

For self-employed individuals, three tests will be applied to gauge your income. These are the Significant Services and Substantial Income Test, the Comparability Test, and the Worth of Work Test. In essence, if you’re making any more than $1,310 a month from your business, you could very well lose your SSDI benefits.

Making It Work

Then, there’s the difficulty of actually making a business work while juggling all your other concerns. The idea of starting a business alone is enough to cause anxiety and stress, but when you add all kinds of other barriers to making your business work, it can be overwhelming. 

The physical and mental health obstacles of running a business while managing a disability can be a lot to deal with. You’ll have to have effective strategies for reducing anxiety and managing stress, such as breathing exercises or practicing mindfulness, to reap all the benefits of entrepreneurship. 

But don’t be disheartened by these barriers. With some investigation and consideration, you can still find opportunities to run a successful business. 


You aren’t alone in your disability. As many as one in four people live with some form of disability, and the awareness of the issues faced by this massive segment of the population has led to the creation of helpful resources. 

Taking advantage of the opportunities available to you can help you overcome the challenges you face. These are some of the resources you can use when starting a business. 

Special Funding Sources

Luckily, there are grant and loan programs designed specifically with entrepreneurs with disabilities in mind. The U.S. Small Business Administration even keeps a list of these resources available to you. These include:

  • Self-employment guides
  • Starting a new business resources
  • Tax help
  • Program information

By exploring all the help at hand, you can more easily secure funding that might otherwise seem elusive. Apply to all relevant programs to help get your business off the ground. 

Employment Support on SSDI

Balancing your SSDI benefits with your business ambitions can be the scariest part of getting started. After all, SSDI often serves as a safety net. If your business doesn’t go as planned, you don’t want to be left without the resources you depend on. Fortunately, however, there are ways you can keep your finances secure while starting a business on disability income

First, there are the Trial Work Period (TWP) and Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) programs. These offer starting entrepreneurs the chance to test their working ability while still receiving benefits. Over a 60-month period, only months in which your income exceeds $940 count against the nine-month trial before you lose eligibility.

After that, the EPE kicks in and ensures you receive benefits anytime your monthly income falls below $1,310 within the next 36 months. 

The Gig Economy

Finally, the growing gig economy presents its own benefits for entrepreneurs with disabilities. Opportunities for freelance and remote work mean starting a business can happen on your time and with your needs accounted for. 

Time and time again, enterprising individuals with disabilities have proved they can complete quality work and offer untold value to clients even when working from bed. The gig economy makes these opportunities more accessible, so explore the new economy to find what might be right for you.

Despite the challenges of starting a business when you have a disability, these strategies and resources can help you overcome them all. Explore your options and gather the help you need. You’re not alone and you have what it takes to succeed.