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Disabil Rehabil. 2018 Dec;40(25):3022-3029. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1367039. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Labor market position after a rejection of a disability pension application: a register-based cohort study.

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a Research Department , Finnish Centre for Pensions , Helsinki , Finland.



To study labor market positions of rejected disability pension applicants and to examine which characteristics predict ending up in these positions after the rejection.


Nationwide Finnish register data was used to describe employment, unemployment and disability pension trajectories of rejected applicants (nā€‰=ā€‰5740) from four years before to four years after the rejection. Demographic, occupational and health-related determinants of labor market position after the rejection were examined among those employed and not employed at the time of the rejection.


The proportion of the employed steeply decreased and that of unemployed increased before the rejection of a disability pension application. Four years after the rejection, 30% of the rejected applicants were employed, 24% were unemployed and 30% received disability pension. Employment at the time of the rejection, younger age, shorter unemployment history, public sector employment and milder work disability increased future employment. Manual work, public sector employment and previous long-term unemployment predicted future unemployment. Apart from higher age, associations with receiving disability pension were relatively weak.


For many rejected disability pension applicants return to work is challenging. Special efforts should be targeted to support the remaining work ability and to promote employment opportunities of the rejected applicants. Implications for Rehabilitation Employment, unemployment and receiving disability pension were equally common labor market positions four years after the rejection. Rejected DP applicants with unemployment history need special efforts to increase their employability. As a disability pension application, even if rejected, clearly indicates some degree of work ability problems, rehabilitation should be targeted at this time point to support employment.


Disability pension; application; employment status; labor market position; rejection; unemployment

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