In this paper we study the system of disability pension in Norway. We present an overview of its recipients, and how cost cutting and policy changes effect these and new applicants. While there is an improvement of people's health in Norway, the number of people granted this disability pension has inexorably increased each year. Our source of data is a registry of the entire Norwegian population, including information on disability pension (“FD trygd”). We focus on those granted and denied this pension in 1993 and 1997, presenting their differences and similarities.
Compared to the general Norwegian population aged 18 to 66 in 2004, therecipients of disability pension are more likely to be women, have an income below the median, and be more than 55 years old. 30 % have a mental illness and 15 % have a musculoskeletal disorder. However, over the last years the mean age for new recipients has been decreasing, and there has been an increase in percentage granted disability pension on the grounds of mild mental illness, whereas the self-reported psychiatric health in the population has become better.
For both years, 1993 and 1997, we find an odds ratio of about 1.5 of being denied disability pension if your income is below the median. While the diagnosis is of importance, this seems to be a result of recent policy changes and trends only, as one was more likely to be denied disability pension with a musculoskeletal disorder in 1993, and more likely to be granted it in 1997 with the same diagnosis.