Norway is one of the countries in the world with the best average health in the population. However, the proportion of disabled people is growing.
Recent figures from Statistics Norway show that the proportion of disabled people in 2020 was as many as 370,000 people.
In 2013, Erna Solberg set out with a goal that we should have fewer disabled people and more disabled people in part-time work. This goal has not been achieved.
Today, 10 percent of the working-age population is already disabled. The figures show a particular increase in the younger generation.
– It’s a system error if Norway gets 50,000 more disabilities in 8 years, and not least it’s a system error if so many young people under 30 are written off as benefits for disability. It is an important social problem, says representative of the Storting for the Labor Party Nils Kristen Sandtrøen.
Corresponding figures from NAV show the same trend.
The NAV report shows that by the end of 2020, there were 357,563 disabled people. This is an increase of 51,675 from 2013, where 305,888 disabled people were surveyed at the end of the year.
According to Statistics Norway, this number was 60,000 in the same period. The reports have used some other calculation methods, but both show a clear increase in the number of constraints.
– These figures are worrying for the welfare state of Norway. We need the population to work to secure the resources of the welfare state through income, health care and pensions. Today, there are so many outside the labor market of working age that it can not be supported for welfare in the long run, says Sandtrøen Nettavisen.
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More young people
According to figures from Statistics Norway, the group between 25-54 years is the reason for the marked increase. The figures show that there is a decrease in the proportion of disabled people between 62 and 67 years, and a stable development among the population between 51 and 61 years.
Sandtrøen tells Nettavisen that more young people are struggling to gain a foothold in the labor market. He believes that the country should have a better policy, where more people are committed to following young people and ensuring that they gain work experience.
– Today’s society prescribes disability benefits too often for young people with mild mental disorders. Work is the best medicine for young people in this group, says Sandtrøen to Nettavisen.
He also adds that he thinks the numbers are unnaturally high.
– Norway is one of the countries with average health among the population. That’s why it’s weird that so many people suddenly can’t work. Therefore, it is obviously a system error, says Sandtrøen to Nettavisen.
Sandtrøen believes that the whole system for the disabled needs to be changed so that more is invested in young people sooner. In addition, he emphasizes that NAV needs to be better equipped so that it can help young people at risk. In this way, the Labor Party wants to provide a system in which those who fall outside get a foothold in working life, Sandtrøen concludes.
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Relatively few unemployed
The current government is largely to blame for the increase in the number of disabled. However, the representative of the Storting for the Conservative Party, Lene Westgaard-Halle, believes that this is an increase that began long before the bourgeois government took power.
She is of the opinion that the share outside working life in Norway is relatively small compared to other countries. The difference between Norway and many other countries is that there are a few unemployed, but a larger proportion who receive health benefits, Westgaard-Halle emphasizes.
– The sum of recipients of benefits for work declaration and benefits for disability was almost the same in 2013 and 2020. There is no single reason, those who are disabled are all in different situations and therefore need different types of order, says Westgaard -Halle to Nettavisen.
Westgaard-Halle believes that those who are ill should receive the benefit to which they are entitled. Where Sandtrøen believes that too many benefits for disability are being issued to the Norwegian population, the Conservative politician is of the opinion that:
– If you’re sick, you’re sick.
At the same time, she agrees that there may be some challenges with people who have health problems related to mental illness. Both the Labor Party and the Conservative Party agree that young people with mild mental disorders will be able to experience better development by being included in working life.
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They also want NAV to be included for an earlier investment in school and kindergarten.
“Young people who are at risk or are dropping out of school should be followed up early so that the problems are addressed before they grow up and the road back to education if work becomes too long,” Westgaard-Halle told Nettavisen.