Decrease in disability benefits slowing down

In August 2011, 825 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming a disability benefit. Nearly half of them received a benefit because of mental health problems or a behavioural disorder. More and more women are also claiming a disability benefit.

Disability benefits January 2000-August 2011

Disability benefits January 2000 - August 2011

Continuous fall in disability benefits

The number of disability benefit claimants approached the one million mark in January 2003, when it peaked at 993 thousand. Since then the number of benefits has fallen almost continually, although the decrease has become a lot slower in recent years.  Stricter legislation, especially the ‘Gatekeeper’ Act  has been an important factor in this decrease. From June 2010 to January 2011 the number rose again slightly, but the increase did not persist. Since February 2011 the number of claimants has been decreasing again.

More and more benefits because of mental health problems

Mental health problems and behavioural disorders are the most common reasons for people being declared unfit to work. In August 2011, these problems accounted for half of disability benefits, in 2000 this was only a third. The second most common reason for not being able to work is a musculoskeletal disorder. Nearly one quarter of claimants receive a disability benefit for this reason.

Disability by diagnosis

Disability by diagnosis

More and more women claimants

Traditionally more men than women claim disability benefits. However, the number of women claimants is rising. The share of female claimants grew from 42 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in August 2011. The share of women claiming a disability benefit is rising slowly in all disability schemes. One of the main reasons for this is the increased labour participation among women.

Disability benefit claimants by sex

Disability benefit claimants by sex

Harrie Hartman