More health checks will slash invalidity benefit bill

uwv office unemployment jobsThe government could save millions of euros if people claiming invalidity benefit were given more frequent health checks, Trouw reports on Thursday. The paper bases its claim on calculations from the benefits payment agency UWV.

The agency’s figures show that 6,500 people went through reassessments in 2013. In almost a quarter of cases, benefits were either stopped or reduced because the claimant’s health had improved sufficiently to enable them to work.

This, the UWV says, shaved €16m off the annual benefits bill. Over 40 years, that would amount to €270m.

Two weeks ago, UWV doctors hit the headlines when they said some 150,000 people are receiving invalidity benefits which they are not entitled to because of the lack of reassessments.

The UWV will carry out 32,000 reassessments this year. ‘This is far too few,’ spoksman Wim van Pelt told Trouw last month. ‘It can happen that someone who, for instance, undergoes an operation and recovers receives benefits for ten years,’ he said.

Elsevier magazine reported last month that 820,330 people in the Netherlands are considered unable to work and are receiving some form of invalidity benefit. The total Dutch working population is 7.2 million.

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