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Adapation of assessment of working capacity

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This policy is part of the larger reform of Dutch disability benefits. This reform introduced a stricter definition of remaining earnings capacity, which effectively increased the barrier to be able to claim disability benefits and influenced the level of benefits to be received. A large group of existing benefits claimants has been ?re-assessed?, resulting in lower benefits or termination of benefits.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
  • social
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
since 2004
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Budgets: not applicable
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: 340,000 existing claimants of disability benefits in 2004, born after 1959. New claimaints are also confronted with the new regulations.
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
This reform is intended to stimulate labour participation of workers with occupational disabilities by introducing a stricter assessment of remaining working capacity. Since the level of and access to benefits are based on this capacity, the reform makes entry into the system harder. Also, existing claimants have been re-assessed, which resulted in changed benefits for a part of these claimants.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
part of long term programmatic reform of disability benefits in the Netherlands
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • liberalisation
Type of innovation
  • new/changed output and/or outcome
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • benefit eligibility (eligibility for benefits has become stricter, given a broader definition of ?working capacity?)
  • benefit level (benefit level has been lowered for workers with alleged higher working capacity. For other claimants, levels have not changed)
  • job guidance, coaching and/or counselling (for disability benefit recipients with changed benefits job guidance has been made available)
Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
The new criteria lead to stricter eligibility criteria in relation to earnings capacity. Criteria with regards to assessment of health as such have not been changed
Intended target group
First of all, existing disability benefit claimants were targeted. Secondly, new claimants were affected, given the stricter eligibility criteria.
Working age population
  • main source of income: social protection (recipients of disability benefits)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (unemployment agency UWV for implementation)
  • central state (regulation)
Intended output
  • benefit eligibility
  • benefit level
  • job guidance, coaching and counselling
  • subsidies/tax-credits
Intended and unintended outcomes
100% of the target-group has been re-assessed, 32% has been judged to have a larger working capacity. Prevention of inflow in disability benefits has not been quantified
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Outcomes have been measured only for the group of benefit claimants whose re-assessment has resulted in lower benefits. This amounts to 32% of the total group that was re-assessed, or 106,000 persons. Of this group 25% has started to work, mostly in parttime jobs. 34% was already working. The others remained unemployed. The group that started to work reported better health than the group who remained unemployed. Also, they made more intensive use of job guidance and individual re-integration budgets. 40% of the group that started working had an indefinite labour contract, the rest found atypical work (temporary, self-employed, etc.). With respect to income, 50% of the re-assessed group did not receive any form of public benefit after 40 months. 34% still received disability benefits, social assistance or unemployment benefit. / Evaluation of the WIA, the broader disability law, suggests that this innovation has moreover contributed to a much lower inflow of new disability recipients. / / In sum, this innovation has led to re-entry into the labour market of a substantial group of occupational handicapped and has prevented inflow of new recipients. Most re-assessed claimants who found work, depend on flexible, atypical work. With respect to income no data are available. However, the re-assessed group that has not found work is likely to have a lower income than before, given the fact that their benefits have been lowered.
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