McWilliams, Daniel F. and Varughese, Sneha and Young, Adam and Kiely, Patrick D. and Walsh, David A.
Work disability and state benefit claims in early rheumatoid arthritis: the ERAN cohort.
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.
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