• Sweden edition

Sick benefit reform puts people back to work

Published: 14 Jul 2010 19:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Jul 2010 19:10 GMT+02:00

The reforms placed a limit on the time people could be on sick leave. People who have been on state sick benefits for more than 180 days are now forced to either apply for work or training, or to seek lower sick benefits from Sweden’s social insurance agency.

Of the 18,000 people who passed the 180-day limit since the beginning of the year, only 6,000 have applied for continued sick benefits. the remaining 12,000 have either got work or have started a training programme run by Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish state labour exchange.

“Most of the people who came to Arbetsförmedlingen at the start of the year are either still with us in some sort of programme or are in a job with support. We think it is positive that so many people have taken the chance to get out on the job market again,” said Henrietta Stein, Arbetsförmedlingen’s head of rehabilitation.

Social Insurance minister Cristina Husmark Pehrsson said the reform had been successful:

“Twenty percent are in work of some sort and 40 percent are still in a programme at Arbetsförmedlingen. Previously, 100 percent were on sick insurance benefits,” she said.

But the Social Democratic of the Riksdag’s social insurance committee, Veronica Palm, said it was “a completely cynical and nasty policy where people have to lose their insurance to be given the right to support from Arbetsförmedlingen. This is far too high a price for many people to pay,” she said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:04 July 15, 2010 by apostolos1975
I have leaved in this country for 8 years. I am aware of cases of people (friends) working black while collecting unemployment benefits. Or mammaledig while abroad (I am not sure if this is illegal though) or sick leave for almost for ever due to slight discomforts that they feel (3 cases of people that their lives are normal externally) or ... I can continue like that, you get the point.

A lot of people in this country seem to forget one vary basic fact. All these forms of social support (bidrags) that some fellow citizens are enjoying come from the rest of us in the form of taxation (some times VERY heavy taxation) due to the social contract that all of us undersigned by being members of the society. It is of high importance that this contract is not breached by either side.

So society SHOULD always make sure that the collected money are spend wisely. Therefore, every one that benefits from the system must be able to prove at any single moment that he/she needs this support. White checks are not the ethical or moral way to go here. If one disagrees with that then better move to another country. The only argument I hear from the other side is their dignity being hurt if they have to prove every time that they need support. Well, what about the dignity of the ones footing the bill (Please bear in mind here that I am only referring to the long time beneficiary of the system, not the short time ones, we will all at some time need some form of help).
21:14 August 3, 2010 by Russ Cobleigh
now if only there was more work! Tell these factories to start up production and start hiring people.
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