We examined the impact of neuropsychological (NP) impairment on activities of daily living (ADLs) and quality of life in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-infected persons of low socioeconomic status (SES). Thirty-nine patients were stratified into one of three groups: cognitively normal (n = 13), mild cognitive impairment (n = 15), and moderate/severe impairment (n = 11). Quality of life was assessed with the Sickness Impact Profile and ADLs were evaluated via structured interview performed in the patient's residence. While there were no significant differences across groups on disease stage, drug use, depression, or estimated premorbid IQ, cognitively impaired patients were more likely to be unemployed and fail social planning and medication management tasks. Our study confirms a previously reported association between NP impairment and unemployment among HIV-1-infected patients. The data also extend this relationship to a low-SES sample with a high base rate of unemployment, and to instrumental activities of daily living other than work.