Restricting the influx of disability beneficiaries by means of law: experiences in Norway

Scand J Soc Med. 1998 Mar;26(1):1-7. doi: 10.1177/14034948980260010401.


Objectives: To study effects of restricting eligibility criteria for disability pension in Norway 1991.

Methods: Documents of 288 applicants from 1990 and 1993 in one county were analysed for social and medical variables as well as for the determination and its causes.

Results: Incidence of applications for disability benefits during a three-month period was 223 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1990. The focused group of 'medically imprecise' musculoskeletal diagnoses concerned 26% of all applicants, while 'precise' musculoskeletal diagnoses were given to 15%, 'imprecise' psychiatric diagnoses to 7% and 'precise' ones to 6%. The number of applicants fell by 39%, surprisingly about the same in all social and diagnostic groups. Denial rate increased from 8% to 21%. Denials mostly struck women, middle-aged, those living alone, those with short education, and applicants with 'medically imprecise' diagnoses.

Conclusions: Restriction of disability benefits affected applicants with the least resources the hardest, and seems to contribute to the on-going process of marginalizing the weaker part of the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Eligibility Determination / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Norway
  • Social Security / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Socioeconomic Factors