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Work. 2014;49(2):335-41. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131663.

Prevention of disability: the opinion of claimants applying for a disability benefit.

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Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UMCG-UWV-VUmc, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



A great number of workers suffer from problems to continue their work due to chronic health conditions. This leads to a large number of workers applying for a disability benefit. In order to prevent the application of a disability benefit, insight in the background of these applicants is needed.


To assess the expectations of Dutch claimants applying for a disability benefit, the rationale behind these expectations and the value of these expectations in the process of evaluating disability.


Applicants for a disability benefit were invited to participate in the study.


Claimants for a disability benefit filled out an internet questionnaire. The questions focused on the expectation of being granted a disability benefit and the rationale behind these expectations. Additionally, data on claimants' characteristics and responses to the first question of the Work Ability Index (WAI) were collected. The actual outcome of the application for a disability benefit was also recorded.


Of the 206 claimants, 84% expected to receive a disability benefit, while 72% of the claims were assigned. Low education level, higher age and a low WAI score were correlated with the expectation of receiving a benefit. The combination of a low WAI score and expectation of a disability benefit actually predicted the outcome.


Patients are capable of predicting the outcome of their application for a disability benefit. Application for a disability benefit could be prevented if information on the WAI score and the expectation of a disability benefit is known at an earlier stage of the sickness absence process.


Secondary prevention; Work Ability Index; disability assessment; internet questionnaire

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