Social Insurance Agency ‘too generous’: report

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) has labelled itself too generous in handing out early retirement pensions on grounds of sickness since tougher rules were introduced in 2008.

Eight out of ten people who were denied benefits after the agency revised its policies in July 2008 would have also been turned down before that date, according to it’s own report on the subject.

The agency claims that handling officers have not been too harsh in their assessment of applications and rather have been “a bit to generous.”

“We need to improve our processes so that we follow the law and applications are not at risk of being judged differently,” said report author Ingeborg Watz-Forslund from the agency to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The report, which has been submitted to the government, reviewed around 3,000 applications for benefits the agency refers to as permanent sickness compensation, previously known as an early retirement pension.

Applicants were rejected in 1,132 cases. As a comparison the selected applications were tried against the old system and concluded that eight out of ten would have also been denied.

Watz-Forslund suggested that handling officers should sometimes “do what they did earlier.”

The report revealed in every fourth to fifth case, the decision to grant benefits was made on insufficient evidence.

It also stated that officers occasionally took circumstances such as the applicant’s social situation, personal motivation and the employment market into consideration.

According to the law all assessments must be made strictly on medical grounds.

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