New chronic illness definition to “ensure people get the help they need”

Doctor’s assessment rather than predetermined criteria will decide if patients are eligible for sick benefits

As negotiations to reshape government health benefits resumed today, the employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne), said that the much-maligned ‘diagnosis list’ will not be a part of any new deal.

The list defines 11 specific illnesses – cancer, heart disease, AIDS and others – as life-threatening. Being diagnosed with one of the illnesses assures that a person would receive sickness benefits for as long as they suffered from one of the illnesses on the list.

Although the list was part of the government’s original proposal, Frederiksen said a doctor’s diagnosis of a person’s condition will now decide whether benefits will be paid.

“The government is committed to ensuring that people with a life threatening disease continue to get the help they need,” she told DR News.

Allowing doctors to make assessments as to whether a patient is chronically ill removes time restrictions for receiving benefits that were built into the diagnosis list.

The list has been criticised in the past by groups like arthritis sufferers’ association Gigtforeningen, which argued that although someone’s condition may not be life threatening, it is still debilitating and renders the person unable to work, often without any benefits coming in.

“We are satisfied that sick people will now not be completely without help,” Gigtforeningen's head Lene Witte told DR News. “In the past, three or four people every day were falling out of the system due to the time limits."

About 430,000 people receive sick benefits annually, and about 27,000 of those are still on sick leave after one year.

One of the specific proposals in the government's proposal is that all sick leave be re-evaluated after six months. Currently, cases are only reconsidered every 12 months.



  • Coping in Copenhagen: Børsen, Burgers and layoffs

    Coping in Copenhagen: Børsen, Burgers and layoffs

    Join comedians and writers Abby, Owen and Marius every Friday as they pick through the week’s headlines and swap notes on life in the capital.

  • Iranian Artist Takes Rebels to Aarhus

    Iranian Artist Takes Rebels to Aarhus

    The defiant collective soul of the Iranian women has transcended eras and borders to haunt Aarhus, Denmark where the city’s art museum, ARoS, is presently hosting an exhibition by Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari titled “Rebel Rebel.”

  • Traffic jam will increase in the capital area – more time will be wasted

    Traffic jam will increase in the capital area – more time will be wasted

    A new analysis shows that there will be more pressure on the roads in the capital area towards 2035. With six percent more inhabitants, there will be greater strain on trains and on cycle paths in several places in the region

  • “A Brit walks into a bar…”

    “A Brit walks into a bar…”

    Last night, as I was getting ready to perform in a comedy show at Teater Play in Amager alongside the brilliant Conrad Molden, my four-year-old daughter looked up at me and asked, ‘Daddy, why are you ALWAYS going to do comedy?’

  • Palads’ future will (maybe) be decided tonight

    Palads’ future will (maybe) be decided tonight

    Politicians in Copenhagen will today decide whether Nordisk Film can continue with plans to demolish Palad and build a new building.

  • How to survive Copenhagen as an exchange student

    How to survive Copenhagen as an exchange student

    Studying in a different country is a luxurious opportunity, and Copenhagen is a popular destination. Upon arrival, the realization kicks in that adapting to this new environment may be easier said than done.