Disability Benefit Uptake is Transmitted from Generation to Generation

Norwegian researchers investigated what extent social inequalities prolong due to hereditary health problems, or if it develops a culture of disability benefits among the children of such parents. In a recent research, the conclusion is crystal clear: The fact that parents go on social security benefits, increases the likelihood that children also ends up living on disability benefits when they become adults.

РIt is difficult to study the effects of social security in isolation from other concurrent factors such as health, but we have found a way to do this. The results show that social security is inherited, and that parental disability benefits can explain a significant part of how children use social security, says Magne Mogstad, associate professor at the University of Chicago and a researcher at Statistisk Sentralbyrå (SSB).

The effect is particularly strong among children who are at least 18 years when the parents are granted social security benefits. The probability of these children’s ending up on disability benefits increases from baseline of less than 1 percent to 6 percent over five years. Within ten years, the likelihood increases further to 12 percent.

РI am surprised that the relationship between parents’ and children’s welfare benefits uptake is so strong. It may help to explain a significant part of the surge in disability pensioners in Norway, says Mogstad to Aftenposten.

Since 1960, the proportion of Norwegians at working age and receiving social benefit increased from about 2 percent to nearly 10 percent. In the end of 2013, there were 305,886 people on disability benefit in Norway, and this year the state will spend about 64 billion NOK for the payment which is around 6 percent of the total state budget.

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