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Working With Arthritis: How Long Can I Continue?

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Alison Rodin
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Many people in Massachusetts suffer from arthritis. Perhaps you are one of them. This common condition can cause the sufferer more than just pain. When arthritis becomes severe, simple daily activities seem impossible, let alone trying to go to work every day.

Most people would like to continue working as long as they can. A good job cannot be replaced by any kind of disability benefit. Studies show that over half of rheumatoid arthritis patients stop working in the ten years following their diagnosis. But of course, how long you work depends on the kind of job you have.

You are expected to maintain a level of productivity on the job. If you work in the construction industry as a carpenter, this level will be more difficult to maintain than if you manage an office and do a great deal of desk work.

If you are able to adapt your work environment to your condition, you have a much better chance to stay on the job longer. Here are some ways to do this if you have a good relationship with your employer:

  • Change your desk or chair height, or even relocate them to an easily accessible space.
  • Change the location of office supplies and things that you use frequently.
  • Use mechanical items when you can, for instance, an electric pencil sharpener.
  • Adjust your work schedule to your needs. Maybe you can start later, or adjust your lunch schedule.


Because arthritis is a degenerative disease, a doctor is the best person to determine when you need to stop working. Ask your physician when you might need to start looking into Social Security disability and be sure he or she is documenting your disease.

When you are ready, please call Keefe Disability Law toll free at 1-800-776-2929 for a free case evaluation. We have helped many New England workers make the transition out of the work force. We can help you, too.

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