CPH Post


New unemployment illness benefit agreement

The government expects the agreement to generate 385 million kroner and 1,700 new jobs when fully implemented

The employment minister, Metter Frederiksen (S), revealed that one of the central points was the scrapping of the 52-week time limitation for sygedagpenge (Photo: Scanpix)

December 19, 2013

by Christian Wenande

The government’s plan to reform the illness-based unemployment benefits (sygedagpenge) in order to push more people into work was agreed upon today in parliament.

The employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (S), said that the agreement, which is expected to generate yields of 385 million kroner and 1,700 new jobs when fully implemented, was important because it will help the thousands of sick people who lose their benefits every year.

One of the central points of the agreement is the removal of the 52-week time limitation for sygedagpenge, which has led to thousands of people losing their rights to receive the benefit and has pushed many people completely out of public support.

“Thanks to a very broad majority, we today managed to ensure that no citizens will risk falling into the so-called ‘black hole’ and be left without any kind of income as of 1 July 2014,” Frederiksen said in a press release. “In future, public help won’t end at a specific date but at a time when the ill individual is back on their feet.”

READ MORE: Unemployed have difficulty staying in work

Enhedslisten cites "broken promises"
Conversely, the agreement will re-introduce an initiative in which, after five months of receiving sygedagpenge, recipients may receive a lower financial benefit amount.

Enhedslisten (EL), the only party not to support the agreement, criticised the agreement and accused the government for breaking campaign promises.

“The government’s election platform included scrapping the time limitation of sygedagpenge, but now they’re also reducing the period in which the ill can receive the benefit before ending up receiving a much lower benefit after just five months,” Finn Sørensen, a spokesperson for EL, said in a press release. “That’s a clear broken promise by the government.”

The agreement comes just days after new figures from the employment agency, Arbejdsmarkedsstyrelsen, revealed that particularly young unemployed people on welfare benefits are quick to return to state support after finding work.

Factfile | The central points of the new sygedagpenge agreement

- The sygedagpenge benefit recipient will be provided financial security throughout the course of their illness. Those, who after five months can prolong their benefit in accordance with the new rules, can be prolonged under the existing sygedagpenge rules. Those who can’t are transferred to a job clarification with attached benefit.

- The new prolonging option will ensure that people with life-threatening illness can continue receiving sygedagpenge without any time limit based on a specific medical evaluation.

- Individuals have the option of rejecting the treatment without losing their benefit rights.

- Treatment and follow ups occur early in the course of the illness as part of a new visitation model that ensures that the efforts cater to the individuals need for support to return to the job market.

- A new follow-up model is implemented with the option of using a ‘fast-track solution’. That will allow employers and citizens to get the council to initiate extraordinary early efforts if there is a risk of a long-term illness. That will help get to grips with the illness early on, rather than wait the eight weeks of illness that is required to get the council involved today.

- Resources are used on ill individuals who risk facing long-term illnesses. Moreover, people with uncomplicated illness who expect to return to health shortly are no longer deemed part of the effort.

- The processes of the cases should be as simple and with the least amount of administrative burden for the ill individual, the employer and the council. This includes having digital options to create a more effective sygedagpenge system.

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