Funding: Dr Shanahan was supported by an NH&MRC research scholarship.
The effect of rheumatoid arthritis on personal income in Australia
Article first published online: 20 NOV 2007
© 2008 The Authors Journal compilation © 2008 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Internal Medicine Journal
Volume 38, Issue 7, pages 575–579, July 2008
How to Cite
Shanahan, E. M., Smith, M. D., Roberts-Thomson, L., Esterman, A. and Ahern, M. J. (2008), The effect of rheumatoid arthritis on personal income in Australia. Internal Medicine Journal, 38: 575–579. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2007.01546.x
Potential conflicts of interest: None
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 20 NOV 2007
- Received 20 May 2007; accepted 9 September 2007.
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- health economics
Background: The aim of this study was to estimate the effect of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on the personal income of a cohort of individuals with RA in Australia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of a sample of 497 working age people with RA in Adelaide, South Australia was carried out.
Results: The average personal income of an individual with RA in our cohort in 2003–2004 was $A22 400 compared with the Australian mean annual income of $A38 000. When standardized, the income of our cohort was 66% that of the average income of the Australian population. Overall one-third of the RA cohort relied principally on the social security system for their income and more than 75% of the cohort estimated they had lost greater than $A10 000 per annum in personal income as a result of their disease. Individuals with RA who were not working had annual incomes on average of more than $A20 000 less than those who continued to work.
Conclusion: The personal income loss associated with RA in Australia is of enormous significance. It reduces a large population of individuals to relative financial poverty and potentially limits their access to a range of services including private health services.