Aims: Study objectives were to investigate how changes in social insurance legislation influenced the incidence of disability pension. Methods: The study included 295,636 male construction workers who attended health examinations between 1971 and 1993, aged 20-60 years and without previous disability pension. Via the Swedish National Insurance Agency national register we identified 66,046 subjects who were granted disability pension up until 2010. The incidence rates were calculated and stratified according to age and diagnosis. Results: The incidence rate of disability pension was fairly stable until the 1990s when large variations occurred, followed by a strong decreasing trend from the early 2000s to 2010. Trends in incidence rates, stratified by age and diagnosis, showed a consistent decrease in cardiovascular disease for all age groups. In subjects aged 30-49 years there was a high peak around 2003 for musculoskeletal diseases and psychiatric diseases. For the age group 50-59 years, musculoskeletal diagnosis, the most common cause of disability pension, had a sharp peak around 1993 and then a decreasing trend. In the 60-64 age group, the incidence rate for psychiatric diagnosis was stable, while incidence rates for musculoskeletal diagnosis varied during the 1990s. Conclusions: There are considerable variations in the incidence rate of disability pension over time, with different patterns depending on age and diagnosis. Changes in social insurance legislation, as well as in administration processes, seem to influence the variation.
Keywords: Disability pension; construction workers; social insurance legislation; time trends.