Disability – Schemes and insurance

Disability is a broad concept. The core is that, as a result of illness, accident or other cause, you can no longer participate in the labor process in whole or in part. There are various schemes and special disability insurance policies for disability. The legal regulations relate to the right to a benefit, often a percentage of the last earned wage.


The Disability Insurance Act (WAO) applies to disabled people who became ill before January 1, 2004. After January 1, 2004, the new Work and Income according to Labor Capacity Act (WIA) applies. The two laws provide for disability benefits. It takes two years before a disabled person can qualify for benefits. Until then, the employer simply pays out 70% of the salary. Many collective labor agreements stipulate that this is 100% for the first year.

Statutory benefit

After two years it is determined whether someone is eligible for a statutory benefit. To receive WIA benefits, someone must be more than 35% incapacitated for work. With the WIA, this is done on the basis of a medical examination and a conversation with an employment expert to determine whether a benefit applies. The medical examination determines what physical and psychological complaints there are and what activities the person can still perform. The conversation with an occupational expert will reveal which actions a person can still perform if he or she is partially incapacitated for work. With the WAO, an insurance expert first assesses whether someone has an illness or disability and an employment expert then examines what work a person can still perform. Two schemes apply to the WIA benefit. For complete and permanent disability there is the Income Provision for the Completely Disabled (IVA), for partial disability the Return to Work for the Partially Disabled (WGA). There are intermediate schemes within the WGA, such as a wage-related benefit, a wage-supplementary benefit and a follow-up benefit. For the IVA, 70% to 75% of the last earned wage is paid out.

Amount of WAO benefit

The amount of the WAO benefit depends on six variables, including age and length of service, determined maximum daily wage and percentage of disability. The application for a WAO benefit must be submitted by the employee no later than 13 weeks before the benefit commences. The application for a WIA benefit must be submitted to the UWV no later than 3 months before the benefit commences.

Disability insurance

There are various disability insurance policies. This covers certain financial risks. An amount to be insured is agreed with an insurer and the percentage of disability at which payment will be made. Insurance coverage depends on personal preference, needs and financial capacity. However, wanting to insure a high percentage of disability often raises questions for insurers. How much of the insured amount is paid out in the event of disability depends on the degree of disability. For most insurance policies, the lower limit is 25% to 35% (payout is 30% of the insured amount), the upper limit is 80% to 100% (100% payout of the insured amount). There are various providers of disability insurance.