Disability benefits down by 175 thousand in the space of ten years

30/10/2013 15:00

At the end of June 2013, 818 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming a disability benefit, 175 thousand fewer than at the end of December 2002, when the record number of claimants was recorded. The decrease is almost all accounted for by the fall in the number of men claiming disability benefit.

Legislation change main underlying cause of decrease

At the end of December 2002, nearly 1 million people in the Netherlands were receiving a disability benefit. Since then the number of claimants has decreased every year. The steady decrease in disability is mainly the result of changes in the legislation and regulations concerning these benefits.

Disability benefits

Disability benefits

Fewer men claiming disability benefit

The decrease in the number of disability benefits paid was almost entirely caused by the decrease in these benefits paid to men. Conversely, the number of women claiming disability benefit rose slightly. As more women are active on the labour market, more of them are also entitled to disability benefit. At the end of June 2013, 48 percent of disability benefits were being paid to women.

Share of young claimants increased

The share of people younger than 25 years among disability benefit claimants has increased from 2.9 percent in 1998 to 8.5 percent in June 2013. The main reason for this was the large inflow into the disability scheme for young people (Wajong) regulation from 2007 onwards. The share of 35-54-year-olds fell by just over 7 percentage points, the share of over-55s remains the largest (39 percent).

Disability benefit claimants by age

Disability benefit claimants by age

Shift in diagnoses

At the end of June 2013, mental disorders accounted for nearly half of benefits paid to people unable to work. In 1998 this diagnosis was given for just over 30 percent of disability benefits. The share of ‘general disorders’ and ‘disorders of the musculoskeletal system’ (backache, etc.) de-creased in the same period.

There are large differences in diagnoses between men and women. Men are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than women, although this gap has narrowed. For women the incidence of cardiovascular disease has risen by one quarter in the last fifteen years, while for men it has fallen by more than a third.

Disability benefits by diagnosis

Disability benefits by diagnosis

Ton van Maanen