The financial impact of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)

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This page describes the financial impact your teen's JIA can have on the family.

Key points

  • It is important to communicate with your employer about what your situation is.
  • Governmental assistance for medical coverage may be available to you and your family.

When your teenager has JIA, the financial impact on your family may be quite significant. The expected and visible expenses include:

  • paying for medications and equipment
  • expenses related to medical appointments such as transportation, parking and meals
  • paying for childcare
  • lost wages from work because of a teenager’s medical appointments or a flare-up.

There are other “hidden” costs that may not initially seem financial in nature. They can cause a financial impact over the long term. For example, if you use up all of your vacation time from work to care for your teenager, you may not have vacation time left to be able to take “fun” time off for yourself or for your family. This can lead to increased stress, depression or other physical and mental health issues, which can come with their own financial costs. Other financial costs could be if your teen is missing many days of school, you may need to hire a tutor or spend extra time speaking with staff at their school to discuss and implement accommodations.

Coping with work and the financial impact of your teenager’s JIA

Some employers are more flexible than others when it comes to allowing time off to care for a sick teenager. Here are some tips for coping with work:

  • Communicate with your employer to see if there is a way to negotiate time off work without loss of pay. Your job might allow make-up time on weekends or working an hour later each day to take time off, with pay, for an appointment.
  • Your employer might allow you to take sick time to care for your teenager.
  • Your workplace might let you do some of your work from home via computer.
  • If available, ask to see your human resources representative to let them know what’s going on. Your human resources representative will know what can be done in your workplace to best accommodate your needs.
  • If you are having problems with your employer related to your teenager’s JIA, ask to speak with the social worker or counsellor attached to your teenager’s health-care team.
  • You can also call the Ministry of Labour. They can clarify your rights as an employee and will inform you of your employer’s legal obligations.

Accessing other potential resources related to medical costs

There may be other financial resources available in your area, such as governmental assistance with medication coverage if you do not have private drug coverage. Speak with your doctor or other members of your health-care team.

You may want to check the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn about which medical expenses you may be eligible to claim as medical tax deductions. You can access the website at This website discusses what you are eligible for in terms of claiming medical expenses. You may also want to keep receipts (for parking/food costs) from hospital stays and hospital appointments to see which receipts you are eligible to claim. For example, if you are a certain distance from the hospital, you may be able to claim parking expenses.

Last updated: January 31st 2017