WAO re-assessment offers minister hope

3rd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

3 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Half of the first 10,000 people whose WAO work disability pension has been re-assessed can return to work, Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus announced triumphantly on Thursday.

3 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — Half of the first 10,000 people whose WAO work disability pension has been re-assessed can return to work, Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus announced triumphantly on Thursday.

The WAO has been something of a white elephant in the Netherlands for years, with almost 1 million of the country's seven-million strong workforce claiming partial or full benefits for work-related illnesses.

Successive governments have tried and failed to reign in the system which is widely seen as being out-of-control.

Announcing the initial results of a wide-ranging re-assessment of the claimants, the Social Affairs Ministry said on Thursday that 300,000 cases in total would be re-examined. Inspectors hope to find out how many people are now fit to return to full-time or at least partial employment.

Under the government's plans, only claimants who are totally unfit for work will continue to receive the WAO. All others will have to re-enter the work market.

So far, 19,000 people have been re-assessed — 9,000 of whom are young people with disabilities from birth. People in this group are entitled to a special benefits payment. The other 10,000 are currently receiving benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Expressing great enthusiasm for the re-evaluation process, De Geus said "this is a result that one can only dream of as a politician. Unemployment can no longer be hidden in the WAO".

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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