A large number of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis have been studied in order to better delineate the sociomedical problems experienced by patients with this chronic disease. Two hundred forty-five respondents were surveyed by use of a detailed questionnaire and interview, and the results indicate that major losses in the areas of work, finances, and family structure are extremely common. The majority of workers were totally disabled as a result of their disease. On the average, subjects in the group were earning only 50% of the income predicted for them had they not had arthritis. Sixty-three percent experienced a major change in their psychosocial status as a result of their disease. Work disability appears to be the most important sociomedical impact of rheumatoid arthritis since it is associated with significantly greater income and psychosocial losses. This evidence of numerous and serious sociomedical problems in persons with rheumatoid arthritis raises questions of emphasis and approach for physicians involved in the clinical care of chronic rheumatic disease patients.