RA, mobility impairment and employment

Hi everyone,

We all know that RA besides being painful can also be a disabling condition, which can lead to significant loss of functioning and mobility. That, in turn, can affect your employment situation and future opportunities. It can also affect the way others see a RA patient regardless his/her real ability to work. Unfortunately, many people judge by appearances. What do you think are the chances for a person with similar problems to get a real job?


14 Replies

  • The way the job situation is at the moment employers have their pick of people, so in my opinion if they have to choose between someone with RA that needs regular hospital appointments or a healthy person I know which one they would feel was more reliable!!

    Having said that it is totally unfair and we are supposed to be protected by the disability act.

    Even people working while being diagnosed with RA seem to have a hard time hanging onto their job.Not just with their employer but with other colleges!

    You are right many people do judge by appearances it's the society we live in, unless they actually suffer with RA, or any other disability they will never understand.

    I haven't worked since my diagnosis 17yrs ago, and if I were able to return to work I'm sure it would be extremely difficult.

    The advice I try to give to people when diagnosed with RA is to do whatever they can to remain in their current employment, you are supposed to have more rights this way and employers are supposed to help you in any way they can. But, as we all know it doesn't always work out that way!!

    Take care

    mand xx

  • I agree with Mand.i was already employed when i was diagnosed and i am very lucky that my employers look after me well letting me reduce hours when needed and time off for medical appointments.i would really not like to take my chances in the job market at the moment .Although it is illegal to discriminate how could you prove it?

  • I'm trying to find a job at the moment after my DLA was turned down this time round (after previously getting DLA for 6 years). In order to see a Disablitity Employment Advisor I had to apply for Jobseekers Allowance and now seen her 3 times. Waiting now to hear from Remploy who I finally got referred to. If they'd done that in the first place I may have had some progress by now. A main problem is references. Because I've been out of work for 7 years I don't have previous employer references yet the jobcentre keep expecting me to apply for jobs that require these. Most of the jobs are employment agencies and they won't take me, they say because having been out of work for so long. The goverment seem hellbent on forcing disabled people into work yet they are cutting most of the services aimed at helping disabled into work. It's very hard and frustrating.

  • Hi Shelly, why were you turned down this time for DLA ? I am having trouble at work at the moment, i now have to apply for a job that i have been doing for 2 years because they have decided to merge 2 admin jobs into 1 and give it a new title ! And they have made it quite clear that they need someone reliable for this new position i.e not me !

  • Got turned down because I can walk unaided, can cook a meal for myself and don't need care in the night. That was the reasons I was given in a letter. The goalposts seem to have been moved since I last applied. It's awful that your employer thinks you are unreliable. That surely is discrimination. I know a lot of perfectly healthy people who have a day off at the slightest sign of a cold.

  • It's terrible that we have to go through all of this stuff and fight for everything, jobs, money, the right treatment.

  • I got made redundant 2yrs ago and i would find it difficult to get work now. I am stiff in the mornings and tired in the afternoons, so i can't win either way. Who would take me on like that. Remploy are doing away with a lot of their centres too. Employers seem to think that we are stupid and will keep people on who are healthy rather than the disabled. I was more reliable while i was recovering fron knee replacement, i went back sooner than i should, but i felt it would be better for me and my employer. Didn't matter as 2mths later i was made redundant.


  • But are things different for a patient with mobility disabilities who at the same time has a MA and Ph.D in Philosophy? Do they still discriminate? I mean what are the prospects for him/her? Do people still discriminate in academia or the education sector?


  • I am still employed however Ive taken a hell off a lot off time off sick!

    But even though my consultant has said he can sign me off work I want to work and all this goverment crap scares me out off taking the risk.

    I cant imagine how hard it would be to get a job with my sickness record, even though the previous 16 years before RA I had a fantastic sickness record.

    If you request a copy off the NRAS work related guides they have some fantastic info in them both for the employer and employee both well worth a read.

    They tell you all your rights and what your employer needs to do to help keep you in employment.

    So Kaz they cant legally give the job to another person on the grounds off your timekeeping as this is disablity descrimination!!

    I intend to hold on to my job as long as I can!

    Good luck with the job serch and take care

    Julie x

  • Hi Julie, they have not said that the new role is because of my RA but that they only need 1 person doing the combined role of myself and another lady, they say that it is a full time role and they need someone reliable. I work 29 hours and the other lady does 25 hours, we work in a school where the maximum hours per week are 32, there is no way 1 person can do the role on there own. They have said if i don't get the new role i will have to go back to the classroom supporting students, i can't get up the stairs or scribe for them any more since i have had RA and have been doing admin for the last 3years, they know this so i think they are doing this so i will leave !

  • Hi Kaz,

    What I was tryin to say is that when your current employers are considering you for either another job or redundancy etc they are not allowed by law to take your sick days into accountt that are due to your ra.

    Take care

    Julie x

  • I am self employed with RA for 6 years. I have managed to expand during this time and I have 6 employees. Would I employ someone with RA? NO. I know this sounds bad, but I struggle every day, have loads of time off, especially when the infusions dont work. Its really hard being a small employer, with holiday pay, sickness, NI contributions etc, etc.etc.

  • I am self employed with RA for 6 years. I have managed to expand during this time and I have 6 employees. Would I employ someone with RA? NO. I know this sounds bad, but I struggle every day, have loads of time off, especially when the infusions dont work. Its really hard being a small employer, with holiday pay, sickness, NI contributions etc, etc.etc.

  • I have read all the above comments- the ones about being turned down for dla are shocking but given the present economic and political climate not suprising. I am awaiting to hear if i have been awarded it- i think i won't be although this does not mean i do not think i should get it. Before April I was working 17 hours a week self employed as a cleaner (suits working around my daughter whilst at school). Due to my health i have cut it down to 5. A huge drop in money! I know that if I went for a job that it is unlikely I would get it. I know that being self employed is the best option for me as it gives me flexibility, but the downside is if i don't work- i don't earn.

    No easy answer!


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