How to Be Homebound


Many of us who are homebound have never been told there are resources or help available. If you are housebound, or bedridden, or have difficulty leaving your home, we hope something on this page may be helpful for you. You do not need to be on disability to apply for most of these programs.

Wheelchairs, Scooters or Medical Equipment

Common types of medical equipment in the home: Shower chairs, manual wheelchairs, electric wheel chairs, walkers, canes, mobility scooters, hospital beds, toilet rails, bath tub safety frames, bath tub lifts, bed pans, walk in bath tubs, and commode chairs. Learn more: How to Get Medical Equipment

Home Modifications 

Programs that help make changes to your home to make it more disability friendly. Some are available to renrters: How to Get Free Home Modifications

Home Aides and Caregivers

In some situations, you may be eligible for free or low cost home aide services. Home aide services may include personal care (bathing, eating, dressing), household help (shopping, cooking, cleaning), medication management, driving to doctor’s appointments, and mental health support. How to Get a Caregiver.

If You Are Already in a Home Aide Program 

If your caregiver is paid through a state home aide program (Such as a medicaid waiver or home and community based care or IHSS) there are a lot of helpful stories, tips and tools on this page: The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides.

If You Live with a Friend, Family Member, or Aide

If you live with a friend or family member who helps in your home, or you have a paid home aide who lives with you: Special Benefits If You Have a Live-In Caregiver.

Home Meals

Many areas have meals-on-wheels or similar programs that deliver low cost meals to you. Even if the program says it is for Seniors, you should still call them. Sometimes they will also help younger people with disabilities. Contact meals on wheels or your local area agency on aging to see if there is a program in your area.

Have More Fun in Bed

Check out this list of brilliant ways to use technology and devices to make life in bed more fun: Ricky Buchanan: geek-creative-disabled-bedridden-internet-citizen

Online Connection

It’s hard for homebound people to meet other homebound people! Here is a long list of Great Facebook Groups for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, Mast Cell, MCS, homebound people, bedridden people, natural healing, and many other areas. From Lori Madeira: How To Make Friends Online in the Chronic Illness Community

Home Nurses & Doctors

Both Medicare and Medicaid may provide home visits from doctors. Some other insurance programs will also pay for this service. As you may have figured out, it is not that easy to find a doctor who will come to your house! Here are some ideas for: How to Find a Nurse or Doctor who Can Come to Your House. This page also includes tips for getting eyeglasses.

Home Therapies

Medicaid, Medicare, and some private insurance will pay for home therapies under the right circumstances. How I Got Physical and Occupational Therapy at Home


More and more options for home delivery keep popping up every day: How to Shop Without Standing Up. If you have Food Stamps, options are not as great, but possible in a few places: How to Get Groceries Delivered with SNAP Food Stamps


If you are able to leave your house a little, but cannot manage public transportation some areas have para-transit programs that are free or low cost and will come to your front door and take you to any location. How to Apply for Paratransit. Also see options for: How to Get Free Transportation to the Doctor


If you are on disability check out: Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Disability. If you are not on disability (and want to be) check out: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

Affordable Housing

HUD has housing dedicated to people who are elderly and/or disabled. In many cases, you can apply even if you are young. Quality varies, but some readers here have found housing that is safe, nice, disability accessible and super affordable this way: How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment (for People with Disabilities)

Find Your People

Where do homebound people meet other homebound people? 26 Great Facebook Groups (Plus a Few Other Things)

Learn From the Pros

Tips from readers on how to make life easier at home: How to Get the World to Come to You

Veterans & Widows

If you are a veteran or survivor eligible for a VA pension, you may also be eligible for a special program called Aid and Attendance

Social Change

This is an important time for people with disabilities to be included. You can vote at home by absentee ballotYou can also make your voice heard. You do not have to leave the house, or even leave your bed! How to #Resist Without Using All Your Spoons.

Paperwork & Meetings from Home

Disabled people have a lot of meetings and paperwork! It’s like a job (for people too sick to work). No matter what you are applying for or what program you are in, you can always get a disability accommodation apply from home. Often all you have to do is ask. You can ask by email or phone. Here’s a few ideas for: How to Have a Good, Helpful, Pleasant, Reasonably Successful Phone Call With a Social Service Agency.

Did Someone Say No?

If you ask to apply from home, and someone says no, here’s a few: Magic Sentences That Can Turn a No to a Yes

Put it In Writing

Another option is to ask in writing. You can start by just sending a simple email stating you are homebound and would like to apply by phone, email, mail or home visit. If that doesn’t work, you can make a more formal written request. These pages are for housing, but you can make similar requests for any program:

Applying for Disability from Home

You can apply for Social Security disability from home. Your entire application can be done online or on the phone. If needed, you can even do a hearing by phone. The trickiest part is what to do if you are asked to go to a Social Security doctor. A few pages that might help:

Increasing Home Care Hours

If you are in a home care program, and you need more care hours. What do you want to take steps to protect the hours you already have. Check out:

Local Resources

Many areas have local organizations and groups that assist people in need. Your local area agency on aging (call here even if you are young). Also try contacting your Aging and Disability Resource Center (in some areas this is the same as the area agency on aging). You can also try contacting Centers for Independent Living in your area.

For People with ME or “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

Ways to conserve energy, avoid crashes and feel better by doing less: How To Save Spoons. Facebook group for people who are homebound or bedridden, and their caregivers: Facebook Group for Severe ME. Global, grassroots network for people with ME and CFS. Participate from home: #MEAction

More Tips!

Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

Bradley Simmonds has created this list of Activities for Housebound People.

Sarah Stanton has a created this great Severe ME Bedbound Activity Masterlist

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons

27 thoughts on “How to Be Homebound”

  1. Does anyone have resources on what it takes to be declared homebound for insurance purposes? Some docs say, “You came into the office, so I can’t delare you homebound.” Thanks.


    1. What kind of insurance purposes? The only insurance I am aware of that requires being homebound is Medicare in order to get Services in your home. If this is what you were looking for, google the definition of homebound for Medicare. You are allowed to leave your house for medical appointments and other important events and still be considered homebound under Medicare. You can print and show the definition to your doctor.

      Medicare requires homebound status in order to get caregivers and nurses in your home. However, I should warn you that their caregiver services are awful and you will not be happy. If you are serious about wanting caregiver services, look into the Medicaid program and how to apply for that. That is the only good helpful program for people with disabilities. Even if you are not on Medicaid now, there can be ways to qualify.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently found out about medical assistance for employed persons with a disability program. It only requires someone to make net $65/mo and you’re allowed to keep your whole SSDI check, regardless of amount. Are there any groups out there of disabled folks that are doing this? I’m trying to come up with creative ideas for someone who doesn’t have a car.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of our readers are in this program while homebound or bedbound. Mostly it is people who are self-employed and running a small biz at home. Making art or other items and selling them on Etsy and/or selling to friends, family and neighbors. Or things like babysitting, tutoring, or eldercare at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t figured out how to make money while sick. I’m trying for disability, of course, but have no income otherwise. I know others sell crafts, but I have no skills and I don’t know anyone I can sell them to. There must be some way to make money if your sick, housebound, and don’t know anyone, right? I can’t seem to figure it out.


  3. So grateful foe all who assist with this site in getting relevant info to those of us who are in need of it. Thank you all! 🙂


  4. Thank you for all the great resources! I use your site often. On of your articles or links mentioned an app to lower the master volume of a phone but I can’t find it again. Do you remember what it is?


  5. You’ve covered so many areas of living here but what about caring for children? I became disabled (mostly bedridden) as an adult and have two young children who I’m unable to take care of. I was able to get my states childcare subsidy but that still leaves a lot of time they’re at home. I’m looking into an au pair as the most affordable live-in option but I don’t know if I will be able to afford this. My children are suffering and I will probably have to give them away if I don’t find help soon. Any suggestions? Thanks for all you do.


    1. For your consideration, Pieces: You have housing, a resource you can barter. An older woman on a fixed income or a college student would welcome exchanging childcare for all or some of their rent. Get creative with the space you have so you can accommodate another person; then put an ad in Craigslist-Housing-Rooms/Share; put “childcare exchange available” in the title. Make sure they have experience + do a background check. Stay business-like: what is the value of the space? What is the hourly rate for childcare in your town? Keep track of hours. Figure an accurate exchange every month. Best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into providing this information. My mom was diagnosed with a pineal germ cell brain tumor on Dec. 15th. It is the reality that at some point in the near future she will be home bound a good portion of time as I will be caring for her alongside a new baby, toddler, teens, my mother in law etc. We have one car for my husband and I to share and it’s not rare that I myself are home bound 5 or 6 days of the week since my husband works so much. I look forward to seeing how to support my mom during this time as well as myself and not have to rely on running around like a crazy person on my husband ‘s one day off to get everything done that we think requires us to leave the house but in reality there may be a way to handle it online or via mail and I just didn’t know about how it works. I appreciate your work. Thank you again.


  7. In case anyone needs entertainment–I just wanted to remind everyone that many libraries offer books-by-mail programs because I LOVE mine.

    My library used to say it was for elderly people and they’d pick a few books for you from a local branch, but after I explained my situation (young disabled person, fluctuating health, want to pick my own books) they set it up so I can check out materials in person or by mail with free postage, get extra bags sent in case I get very sick and need to return a book from home, get DVDs, giant textbooks, or even rare, antique books via interlibrary loan by mail, etc. I have them send me the library book club book early every month just in case I can make it that week (unlikely, lol).

    Their website now says it’s for “any resident who has a disability, illness or lack of transportation that prevents access to a branch.” Highly recommend seeing if your library has one.


    1. Libraries are great and most also offer instant download ebooks and audiobooks through the OverDrive or Libby apps.

      If you have visual or physical issues that prevent reading text in book or ebook form, you can sign up to the Library of Congress program for the blind to get free access to every book or audiobook ever published. They also loan devices like tablets, brail machines, even assistive pillows and such. You have to have a doctor sign their form and sign up through your state’s program.


  8. I truly appreciate the information you have provided. I am working on informational materials for first responders on how to assist individuals with disabilities during an emergency. I just happen to stumble on to this website. In this field we seldom include the right planning partners so I cherish your ideas and insights. Thank you.


  9. I run an onlinet group and I directed a house bound patient to this website. My deepest thanks for your work. It may have saved her life. We offer support but I can’t do it all


  10. Thank you for the info. I absolutely love this website. It’s been helping me a lot for info on disability. I have so many pages saved


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s