Chapter 5: Sickness and Disability
Christopher Heady INTRODUCTION Comparative analysis has paid very little attention to the circumstances of those who suﬀer from sickness or disability. Yet research in individual countries (for example, Amera, 1996, and Berthoud et al., 1993) shows that the onset of such conditions causes major changes in circumstances, not only for the aﬀected individual but also for the household in which s/he lives. It is therefore appropriate to include this group in the analysis of those who run a particularly high risk of social exclusion. This chapter starts with a discussion of policy towards the sick and disabled in the six study countries. It then presents data on the incidence of sickness and disability in each country and the characteristics of the sick and disabled. This sets the scene for an analysis of the links between sickness and disability on the one hand and poverty and deprivation on the other. Finally, a concluding section highlights the main ﬁndings. POLICY One of the main challenges for the comparative analyst is the extent to which deﬁnitions and classiﬁcations of sickness and disability vary between countries. In this section the deﬁnitions adopted by the countries in this study are described. The main policy provisions for this group are outlined and, ﬁnally, the policy debates in each country are considered. Deﬁnitions All countries have an oﬃcial deﬁnition of sickness and disability that is linked to a person’s ability to participate in the labour market and to eligibility...
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