 # Lives Interrupted Calculations Explained

In the Lives Interrupted form, when a user fills the income fields, the program calculates the following:

We wanted to produce a conservative but easy-to-produce figure of potential economic losses due to having ME/CFS. Noting that (except for the rich who have done much better than others) incomes have generally kept pace with the rate of inflation over the past several decades, we used the rate of inflation to project what a person’s income might have been had they remained well.

Because this did not take into account expected income gains as people age, our calculation considerably undercut possible losses. For instance, compare the 38K the average 25-year-old brought in in 2020 to the 76K the average 45-year-old brought in. Still the calculation did allow us to take a stab at a persons economic losses due to the disease. We used the Consumer Price Index (or Retail Price Index (RPI) to calculate inflation rates.

Income adjusted for inflation (now) = Consumer Price Index (CPI)(now)/CPI(before) * Income(before)

Because the rate of inflation is different for different countries our CPI/RPI source data is taken from different sources:

The income adjusted for inflation and losses is calculated until 2022.

## Minimum Current Annual Income Loss

Next, we wanted to calculate the minimum income loss due to a person having to work fewer hours or from not being able to work because of ME/CFS. First, we determined what a person’s income would have looked like if they had kept working until the present (or until they retired) – and their income had kept pace with inflation.

y1 = The year a person’s illness started.
y2 = The date used to produce a person’s final income figure. If a person was still working or had to stop working because of illness (but was younger than 65) we used the current year (2022). If a person had retired, we used the year they retired. If a person was over 65 and still working, we used the year the person turned 65 as the last year worked. Each case is shown below in a table.

Income adjusted for inflation y2 = (CPI or RPI at year y2)/ (CPI or RPI at year of illness, y1) * Income produced since becoming ill

Work status

y2

Minimum Current Annual Income Loss, or Minimum Annual Income Loss at Retirement (in case of retirement)

Still working

If age >=65, y2 = year at 65, otherwise y2 = current year (2022)

= (income adjusted for inflation at y2) – (present income)

Retired

y2 = year retired

= (income adjusted for inflation at y2) – (income when retired)

Not working now, not retired

Same as still working

= income adjusted for inflation at y2

(as present income = 0)

On disability

Same as still working

= (income adjusted for inflation at y2) – (income from disability)

## Total Economic Losses for Years Not Worked

The total economic losses figure due to ME/CFS was created by first calculating the rate of inflation between the time a person came down with ME/CFS and the present date (unless they had retired or were over 65). The Inflation rates were manually calculated using the CPI/RPI data used to calculate losses. We retained 3 decimal places.

For example, for year 2004, inflation rate for USA is calculated using:

= (CPI for 2004 – CPI for 2003)/(CPI for 2003) * 100 = (188.9-184)/184 * 100

=2.663

First, we used the inflation calculator to determine what their annual income would have been if their income had kept pace with inflation.

We then added up the total years they’d worked since coming down with ME/CFS – counting years worked part-time as a 1/2 year worked. We used the inflation calculator to determine their total working income over time.

Then we determined (again using the inflation calculator) what the total income for the years not worked would have been if they had been working. Then we substracted the total years of actual worked income from the projected total years income to come up with a conservative figure of total economic losses due to having ME/CFS. (For simplicity, we removed the decimals by rounding each year’s loss value.)

Total economic losses equal the sum of the economic losses for each year, starting from the year (t1+1) till year t2, where:

t1 = Year of illness -1 + Years worked
t2 = Current year for age <65, or year when turned 65 for age >=65

## Example

Assuming the user entered the following data in the form:

Age (as of 2022): 44
Location: USA
Year of illness: 2003
Work status: Still working

Yearly income before illness: \$65,000
(This would be the income in 2002)

Present annual income: \$60,000

Years working part-time since becoming ill : 3
Years working full-time since becoming ill : 2

### Program calculations explained below:

Total years worked = Years worked part-time/2 + Years worked full time = 3/2 + 2 = 3.5, rounded to 4

Income when ill-adjusted for inflation (up to 2022)
= (CPI at 2022)/(CPI at 2002) * Income the last year before the person became ill
= 292.655 / 179.9 * 65000 = 105740
The projected annual yearly income, if the person had not become il, is \$105740

Minimum Current Annual Income Loss
= (income adjusted for inflation at y2) – (present income)
= 105740 – 60000
= \$45740

Total Economic Losses for Years Not Worked:
Year of illness = 2003
Total years worked = 4
Years since becoming ill (including year of illness) = 2022 – 2003 + 1 = 20
(Note: If the user’s age is 65 and above, the year when the user turned 65 would be considered instead of the current year)

Years of work lost = 20 – 4 = 16

Total economic losses is the sum of losses for each year, starting from year (t1+1) till year t2, where:
t1 = Year of illness -1 + Years worked
t2 = 2022

Here, t1 = 2003 -1 + 4 = 2006 and t2 = 2022 (Current year for age <65)

Therefore, t1 + 1 = 2007

Total economic losses would be the sum of losses for each year, starting from 2007 till 2022.

Losses for year 2007 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2006) * inflation rate for 2007
Losses for year 2008 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2007) * inflation rate for 2008
Losses for year 2009 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2008) * inflation rate for 2009
and so on…

The annual inflation rate for 2008 is calculated using the formula:
(Annual CPI for 2008 – Annual CPI for 2007) / (Annual CPI for 2007) * 100

 Year Annual Inflation Rate(%, rounded to three decimals) Income adjusted for inflation (USD, rounded) Notes 2002 65000 6500 is the income before illness, here considered as income preceding the year of illness (2003) 2003 2.279 66481 2003 is year of illness 2004 2.663 68251 2005 3.388 70563 2006 3.226 72839 2007 2.848 74913 2008 3.84 77790 2009 -0.356 77513 2010 1.64 78784 2011 3.157 81271 2012 2.069 82952 2013 1.465 84167 2014 1.622 85532 2015 0.119 85634 2016 1.262 86715 2017 2.13 88562 2018 2.443 90726 2019 1.812 92370 2020 1.234 93510 2021 4.698 97903 2022 8.002 102655 105737 Sum of income adjusted for inflation from 2007 to 2022 1384079

Total economic losses for years not worked is the sum of losses from 2007 to 2022, which comes to \$1,384,079.

## If a Person’s Illness Began in College

If a person was going to college for their bachelor’s when they got ill, their expected salary would have been when they graduated. Using historical average starting salary data from NACE’s website  , we consider the yearly income before illness as the average starting salary for the year the person would have graduated.

For calculating income losses, the next year after graduation is assumed as the year of illness.

Currently, due to limited available data, this question appears only for those who select their location as the United States in the form.

Example:

Assume the user entered the following data in the form:

Age (as of 2022): 44
Location: USA
Year of illness: 1997
Work status: Still working
Were you attempting to get a bachelor’s degree in the United States when you became ill? Yes
What year were you in? Freshman
Present annual income: \$60000
Years working part-time since becoming ill: 1
Years working full-time since becoming ill: 2

In this example, 1997 is the year of illness and since the user was in the freshman year, the starting salary would be for the year 2000, which is \$39824. This is taken as the income before illness and for calculations, the year of illness is considered as the next year, which is 2001.

Income adjusted for inflation (up to 2022)
= (CPI at 2022)/(CPI at 2000) x 39824
= 292.655/172.2 x 39824
= \$67681

Minimum current annual income loss
= 67681 – 60000
= \$7881

Total economic losses for years not worked
Total years worked = 2.5, rounded to 3
Year of illness for calculating income losses = 2001
Years since illness began = 2022 – 2001 + 1 = 22
Years of work lost = 22-3 = 19

Total economic losses is the sum of losses for each year, starting from year (t1+1) till year t2, where:
t1 = Year of illness -1 + Years worked
t2 = 2022

Here, t1 = 2001 -1 + 3 = 2003 and t2 = 2022 (Current year for age <65)

Therefore, t1 + 1 = 2004

Total economic losses would be the sum of losses for each year, starting from 2004 till 2022.

Losses for year 2004 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2003) * inflation rate for 2004
Losses for year 2005 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2004) * inflation rate for 2005
Losses for year 2006 = (Income adjusted for inflation for 2005) * inflation rate for 2006
and so on…

The annual inflation rate for a year, say 2008 is calculated using the formula:
(Annual CPI for 2008 – Annual CPI for 2007) / (Annual CPI for 2007) * 100

 Year Annual Inflation Rate(%, rounded to three decimals) Income adjusted for inflation (USD, rounded) Notes 2000 39824 This is taken from the historical average starting salary data, and is the income before illness. 2001 2.846 40957 2001 is considered as the year of illness for calculations. 2002 1.581 41604 2003 2.279 42553 2004 2.663 43686 2005 3.388 45166 2006 3.226 46623 2007 2.848 47951 2008 3.84 49792 2009 -0.356 49615 2010 1.64 50429 2011 3.157 52021 2012 2.069 53097 2013 1.465 53875 2014 1.622 54749 2015 0.119 54814 2016 1.262 55506 2017 2.13 56688 2018 2.443 58073 2019 1.812 59125 2020 1.234 59855 2021 4.698 62667 2022 8.002 67682 Sum of income adjusted for inflation from 2007 to 2022 1021414

Total economic losses for years not worked is the sum of losses from 2004 to 2022, which comes to \$1,021,414.