Prediction of succcessful application for disability benefits using the Health Assessment Questionnaire for people with arthritis
Memel, D., Kirwan, J. R., Langley, C., Hewlett, S. and Hehir, M. (2002) Prediction of succcessful application for disability benefits using the Health Assessment Questionnaire for people with arthritis. Rheumatology, 41 (1). pp. 100-102. ISSN 1462-0324
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Background: Many eligible people with arthritis do not receive disability benefits. Application forms are lengthy and complex, and doctors and nurses are often unsure which patients would qualify. Aim: To investigate how severe disability on the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) relates to successful application for disability benefits by people with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Method: RA patients attending a hospital out-patient rheumatology clinic and patients with OA or RA in two general practices completed an HAQ and were asked about receipt of disability benefits. Those scoring 2 or more on the HAQ (severe disability) and not in receipt of benefits were offered professional help to complete applications for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA). Results: Eighty per cent of patients with an HAQ score of 2 or more were already in receipt of benefits. Seventy-nine per cent of the new applicants applied successfully, the average benefit being in excess of £2580 per annum. Conclusion: This initial study suggests that people who score 2 or more on the HAQ should be encouraged to apply for disability benefits. A test of the generalizability of these findings and the success rate associated with lower HAQ scores should be undertaken.