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Depression increasingly leading to disability

05 Apr 2019, 21:00 ( 6 Months ago) | updated: 05 Apr 2019, 23:06 ( 6 Months ago)

DF Report
Pixabay photo.

In 2018, nearly 1,300 persons retired on an earnings-related disability pension (up by 7% since 2017),said the Finnish Centre for Pensions in a press release.

The growth was evident in particular in the number of granted disability pensions due to depression. Two out of three new retirees on a disability pension due to depression were women. Three out of five of them were aged 45 or over.

In 2018, a total of 19,900 persons retired on an earnings-related disability pension. Slightly less than one third (5,600) retired on a partial disability pension. The growing number of new retirees on a disability pension was reflected in the number of new full disability pensions; the number of new retirees on a partial disability pension remained virtually unchanged year-on-year.

“The ten-year-long positive trend was broken in 2018. The number of new disability pensions and of new full disability pensions grew clearly. When reviewed by age group, the growth occurred mainly among the 25-44-year-olds and the over-60-year-olds,” says Tiina Palotie-Heino, Statistics Manager at the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

The average age of the new disability pension retirees was 52 years. Over half of them had turned 55. Women were in a slight majority (54%).

The main causes of disability were musculoskeletal diseases (33%) and mental and behavioural disorders (31%). The number of new disability pensions granted due to mental disorders grew by 700 last year compared to the year before.

Depression continues to be the main single cause for retirement on a disability pension. In 2018, a total of 3,500 persons retired on a disability pension due to depression. More than two out of three of them were women and three out of five over 45 years of age. Of all women who retired on a disability pension, more than one fifth retired due to depression.

“The number of new retirees who retired due to depression decreased in the period 2007-2015, but in the last three years, it has grown, particularly among women,” Palotie-Heino stated.

At year-end 2018, a total of 139,000 persons were drawing an earnings-related disability pension. This was 6,000 less than in 2017.

“The total number of retirees on a disability pension continued to decrease although the number of new retirees on this pension benefit increased in 2018. That means that there were more ending disability pensions than starting ones,” explained Palotie-Heino.

Two out of five retirees on a disability pension have retired due to mental disorders and one out of four due to musculoskeletal diseases. People who retire for mental disorders are usually younger than the others, and they return to work more seldom than those who suffer from diseases in the other disease categories. This raises the total number of persons on a disability pension due to mental disorders.