Friday, February 05, 2010

The growth in incapacity isn't just a factor of an ageing population

Excuse me while I attend to a comment from SPC over at Frog blog;

"LM claims little expertise on the matter of SB and IB – their rates are increasing worldwide."

Never have I made a secret out of Australia, the UK and the US grappling with the same issue. Does that make it acceptable? I have blogged about all at some time or another. I have also mentioned more than once the OECD's observation that reliance on incapacity benefits is the medicalisation of labour market problems.

"Indications are that the levels on these benefits will continue on a rising trend whatever government policy is in place to manage the numbers down. This is a factor of the aging of baby boomers, a higher retirement age and over the last 20-30 years long periods of unemployment and poverty (consequences include addictions and mental health issues) and health problems resulting from smoking and dietary trends (which while reversing have left many in poor health)."

While I won't argue with any of that MSD says;

This paper reports on research that uses the Ministry of Social Development’s benefit administration data to advance our understanding of the growth in the number of people receiving the Invalid’s Benefit over the decade to 2002. It investigates the growth in inflows of people to Invalid’s Benefit, as this was the main cause of growth in recipient numbers. Some of the growth in inflows can be explained by population growth, population ageing, and the effects of the rise in the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation. However, more than half cannot be accounted for by these factors and is explained instead by an increase in the proportion of people aged 15–59 taking up Invalid’s Benefit. (my emphasis)

Next is an MSD graph which shows which age group is increasing its reliance on sickness benefits;

2009 would show a further increase in the 18-24 year age group.

What I don't understand is why commentors want to make excuses for - or legitimise - the problem of people increasingly relying on these benefits. A great deal of the incapacity claimed could have been avoided. A great deal of the incapacity claimed is self-inflicted. Changing the rules to sanction self-inflicted incapacity was definitely a factor in climbing benefit numbers.

(There is also some confusion about dole numbers after Radio NZ reported 168,000 on the dole. There are 168,00 unemployed. Two different things.)


Rimu said...

So from 2004 to 2008 there was an increase from 1.4% to 1.6% (or thereabouts, hard to tell from the graph).

Is a 0.2% increase statistically significant? i.e. could that just be random chance or statistical 'noise'?

Anonymous said...

It was inevitable that the growth would take place becuase we don't kill off those who have been on the benefit for a given period, or perhaps denign futher help. The solution is to put a fence at the top of the cliff instead of moaning about the increasing number of ambulances at the bottom. One should ask why do people need the benefits and educate the masses to avoid that result of their actions. Stop them jumping off the cliff. jcuknz

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Jcuknz - another lefty I see.

Nope. The solution is to stop all welfare.
That is the only proven way to stop welfare dependency.

If people choose to jump of a cliff it is morally evil to encourage them by offering any help whatsoever.