Extra Money for Long-term Sick

After New Year, tens of thousands of Swedes on long-term sick-leave will loose their benefits. The centre right Government has now come up with a plan for a new form of benefit to follow. The opposition blames the Government for being careless.

Last year, the centre right government introduced new rules for the national health insurance, putting a limit to how long you could be on sick leave. They did so, whilst criticising their predecessors, the Social Democrats, for giving up hope on thousands of people ever getting back to the labour market, and instead letting them get stuck in a system with incapacity benefit and early retirement from sometimes a very early age.

Now, the first people are nearing the time that their incapacity benefit will expire, with 50,000 Swedes reaching that point after New Year. On Friday, the Government presented its ideas of a three month programme to take stock of the options for each individual and reintroduce them to the labour market. The programme is aimed at those who are too well to be on incapacity benefit, but too ill to be on the regular labour market. The Government also opened the door for those severely incapacitated of a continued benefit from the health insurance "until that person is well again".

The Social Democrats now accuse the government for "throwing people straight out into the cold" before saying "now, we can take you back and give you some rehabilitation". They also claim that the money that will be invested into the new programme, is less than the Government already has taken out of sectors supporting the unemployed and the ill.