In the Lives Interrupted form, when a user fills the income fields, the program calculates the following:
Income adjusted for inflation
We wanted to produce a conservative but easytoproduce 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 25yearold brought in in 2020 to the 76K the average 45yearold 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:

USA – CPI values from “Historical Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPIU): U.S. city average, all items, index averages” at https://www.bls.gov/cpi/tables/supplementalfiles/

UK – RPI values from Retail Prices Index: Long run series at https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/timeseries/cdko/mm23

Canada – Annual CPI values from “Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted” http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tablestableaux/sumsom/l01/cst01/econ46beng.htm
 Australia – Annual average calculated using All Groups CPI data from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/priceindexesandinflation/consumerpriceindexaustralia/latestrelease#datadownload
Since we don’t have the complete CPI/RPI data for the year 2022, income adjusted for inflation and losses is calculated until March 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 = (188.9184)/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 parttime 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 parttime since becoming ill : 3
Years working fulltime since becoming ill : 2
Program calculations explained below:
Total years worked = Years worked parttime/2 + Years worked full time = 3/2 + 2 = 3.5, rounded to 4
Income when illadjusted for inflation (up to 2022)
= (CPI at 2022)/(CPI at 2002) * Income the last year before the person became ill
= 284.123 / 179.9 * 65000 = 102657
The projected annual yearly income, if the person had not become il, is $102657
Minimum Current Annual Income Loss
= (income adjusted for inflation at y2) – (present income)
= 102657 – 60000
= $42657
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  4.854  102655  Average CPI value used for 2022 is until March 2022 
Sum of income adjusted for inflation from 2007 to 2022 
1380997 
Total economic losses for years not worked is the sum of losses from 2007 to 2022, which comes to $1,380,997.
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 ^{[1]} ^{[2]}, 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 parttime since becoming ill: 1
Years working fulltime 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
= 284.123/172.2
= $65708
Minimum current annual income loss
= 65708 – 60000
= $5708
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 = 223 = 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  4.854  65709  Average CPI value used for 2022 is until March 2022 
Sum of income adjusted for inflation from 2007 to 2022  1019441 
Total economic losses for years not worked is the sum of losses from 2004 to 2022, which comes to $1,019,441.