While the number of ethnic Danes on incapacity pensions has dropped considerably over the past 20 years, the number of non-westerners has increased dramatically.
Since 1990, the number of immigrants from non-Western countries on incapacity pensions has risen from 2,979 to 27,375, according to a Rockwool Foundation Research Unit report in Berlingske today.
Rockwool Foundation Senior Researcher Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen says part of the explanation is that immigrants tend to work in the cleaning sector and as social workers, jobs in which chances for early work-related problems are greatest.
At the same time, refugees with war traumas also affect the figures.
“It is clear if you look at the refugee nationalities that these are a large part of incapacity pensions. We know from those who process them that, of course, it is some of the war traumas that result in them having incapacity pensions,” Schultz-Nielsen says.
The figures show that 41 per cent of non-Western immigrants between the ages of 55 and 59 are on incapacity pensions, while the figure for ethnic Danes is 13 per cent.
In the wake of the report, the Danish People’s Party says it wants the rules for refugees to be tightened.
“Refugees are given protection and help, and then they get financial benefits over and above that. That is unreasonable for Danes and the immigrants who come here to work,” DPP Foreigner Spokesman Martin Henriksen tells Berlingske.
The party is suggesting that there should be no exception from the length-of-stay rules for refugees.
The new report has surprised both the Liberals and Conservatives, with the latter rejecting any changes in the rules but the Liberals wanting more information before deciding on the DPP proposal.
“We have to dig a bit deeper. What are the diagnoses that result in the group getting so many incapacity pensions,” Liberal Labour Market Spokeswoman Ulla Tørnæs tells Berlingske.
The Social Democrats, however, do not believe changes are necessary for refugees.
The government is proposing the removal of incapacity pensions for those under 40 and the introduction of a rehabilitation team.
“The idea of a rehabilitation team is that irrespective of whether a person has social, health or educational problems, the team must be able to solve the problem,” SDP Labour Market Spokesman Leif Lahn tells Berlingske.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood