University of Hertfordshire

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Work disability and state benefit claims in early rheumatoid arthritis: The ERAN cohort

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  • Daniel F. McWilliams
  • Sneha Varughese
  • Adam Young
  • Patrick D. Kiely
  • David A. Walsh
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Original languageEnglish
Article numberket373
Pages (from-to)473-481
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


Objective. RA is an important cause of work disability. This study aimed to identify predictive factors for work disability and state benefit claims in a cohort with early RA. Methods. The Early RA Network (ERAN) inception cohort recruited from 22 centres. At baseline, and during each annual visit, participants (n = 1235) reported employment status and benefits claims and how both were influenced by RA. Survival analysis derived adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% CIs to predict associations between baseline factors and time until loss of employment due to RA or a state benefits claim due to RA. Results. At baseline, 47% of participants were employed and 17% reported claiming benefits due to RA. During follow-up, loss of employment due to RA was reported by 10% (49/475) of the participants and 20% (179/905) began to claim benefits. Independent predictors of earlier work disability were bodily pain (aHR 2.45, 95% CI 1.47, 4.08, P = 0.001) and low vitality (aHR 1.84, 95% CI 1.18, 2.85, P = 0.007). Disability (aHR 1.28, 95% CI 1.02, 1.61, P = 0.033), DAS28 (aHR 1.48, 95% CI 1.05, 2.09, P = 0.026) and extra-articular disease (aHR 1.77, 95% CI 1.17, 2.70, P = 0.007) predicted earlier benefits claims. Conclusion. Work disability and benefits claims due to RA were predicted by different baseline factors. Pain and low vitality predicted work disability. Baseline disability, extra-articular disease manifestations and disease activity predicted new benefits claims due to RA. Future research on interventions targeting these factors could investigate job retention and financial independence.


Copyright The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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