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The socio-economic and financial position of the disabled (HANDILAB)

Research project AG/KK/154 (Research action AG)

Persons :

  • Mevr.  VAN AUDENHOVE Chantal - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2009-31/5/2012
  • Prof. dr.  BERGHMAN Jos - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2009-31/5/2012

Description :

Strategic goals of the project

This project has two main goals: (1) an analysis of the socio-economic profile of people with disabilities based on the current administrative data, and (2) an evaluation of the effectiveness of the allowances for disabled persons. The project is coordinated by Prof. Chantal Van Audenhove and Dr. Koen Hermans of Lucas K.U.Leuven and by Prof. Jos Berghman of the Centre for Sociological Research of the K.U.Leuven. The researchers of CESO will answer the first question by analyzing the administrative data from the Datawarehouse labour market and social protection. The second question will be answered by a survey with persons with disability allowances about their social and financial situation. This part of the research will be carried out by the LUCAS research team.

1. The socio-economic profile of the disabled

To analyse the socio-economic profile of people with disabilities, this part of the research consists of three phases. Firstly, people with disabilities are defined and identified. Existing legislation and policy (research) defines them in different ways. In addition, overlap and accumulations of different statutes are possible (OECD, 2003). In other words, the target group is heterogeneous and captured by different statutes. The disabled can be entitled to an income replacement allowance, integration allowance, allowance for assistance to the elderly, increased child benefit, sickness and disability insurance payments, a pension due to physical incapacity or sickness, or a benefit for those who suffered an accident at work or suffer from an occupational disease. When the disabled person combines one of these benefits with employment, they are considered to be active. This can for example be the case in sheltered or supported employment. Clear criteria which allow for the definition of a target group are to be established.

This is followed by an examination of the extent to which the defined categories of persons with disabilities can be detected in the Datawarehouse Labour Market & Social Protection of the Crossroads Bank for Social Security. The available data will be examined for their relevance to this research.

The third part will be carried out on stratified samples taken from this research population. It will be performed in two phases. The first, cross-sectional, phase describes the socio-economic profile of persons with a disability (from sample populations in different research years) using variables concerning the individual and the household structure, joined by an overview of various means of income.
In the second, longitudinal, phase we examine the labour market trajectory and the interactions and substitutions between allowance systems. This analysis will be carried out for the most recent research sample.

The results will be compared with other Belgian and international studies about persons with disabilities. The final report and the documented programs written in SAS will permit other research teams to perform additional analyses on these data.

2. The extra costs of disability

The second part of the study evaluates the effectiveness of the allowances for disabled persons. More specifically, this concerns the income replacement allowance and the integration allowance. On the one hand the question will be answered to what extent the allowances prevent poverty and social exclusion and to what extent the allowances enable participation in society. A multidimensional measurement of poverty is being used, by giving attention to the extent of exclusion in different life areas. On the other hand the study concerns if the allowances compensate for the extra costs of disability. In scientific literature, four methodological approaches can be distinguished to measure the costs of disability: (1) the subjective approach, (2) the comparative approach, (3) the standard of living approach and (4) the budget standard approach (Tibble, 2005). In this study a combination of the first three approaches will be used. The subjective approach asks the respondents to estimate the extra costs they have due to their disability. The main disadvantage of this approach is that only a rough estimation of extra costs can be obtained. The comparative approach compares the expenditure pattern of disabled persons with non-disabled persons. The standard of living approach measures the extra costs by comparing the standard of living of disabled people and non-disabled people. The comparison of the expenditure pattern and the standard of living of disabled and non-disabled persons will be carried out by using existing data from EU-SILC and the European Health Interview.

A first exploration of existing databases, like EU-SILC, the European Health Interview and the EU Household Budget Survey, shows that persons with disability allowances are underrepresented in the samples or can’t be identified in the data. In order to answer the research question, it is necessary to conduct a survey. The survey consists of face-to-face interviews. Firstly, concerning the questionnaire the team uses internationally validated instruments as much as possible. In concreto, the part of the questionnaire about the financial situation and the extent of material deprivation will be based on the EU-SILC survey. Secondly, the severity will be measured by instruments from the European Health Interview. Thirdly, extra non-medical costs will be measured covering transportation, social care, cleaning, leisure activities, adaptations to housing and communication. Fourthly, the questionnaire contains also questions on the living situation, labour market position and the extent of social support and social capital, since less informal social support results into more extra costs for support (Andersen, 2008; Berthoud e.a., 2008). Fifthly, more subjective items such as well-being, their perspective on the future and their feelings of discrimination and stigma are charted.

A stratified sample of persons with a disability allowance between 21 and 65 years will be taken. The strata will probably be the type of allowance, residence, age and severity of disability. The data will be gathered by means of face-to-face interviews with about 1.000 respondents. If necessary, the acting guardian will be interviewed.

The database as well as the statistical analyses will be described transparently, which will facilitate the administration and other researchers to make use of them.

Members of the follow-up committee

Michaël Bennetsen - Centrum voor Gelijkheid van Kansen en Racismebestrijding
Luc Blomme - SPF Sécurité Sociale
Evelien Devriese - Vlaams Welzijnsverbond
Gabriele Fettweis - Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung
Mireille Goemans - SPF Sécurité Sociale
André Gubbels - SPF Sécurité Sociale
Herman Janssens - Katholieke Vereniging voor Gehandicapten
Rudy Kennes - Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap
Etienne Lombart - Commission communautaire française
Dirk Moens - SPF Sécurité Sociale
Lucie Ophalvens - SPF Sécurité Sociale
François Perl - Institut national d'assurance maladie invalidité
Wendy Ranschaert - Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding
Christophe Rizzo - Agence Wallonne pour l'Intégration des personnes Handicapées
Erik Samoy - Werk en Sociale Economie
Guy Van Camp - FOD Sociale Zekerheid
Guy Van De Velde - FOD Sociale Zekerheid
Koen Vleminckx - FOD Sociale Zekerheid


Annelies Debels - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Hermans - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Hans Knapen - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Marian Moron - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Maartje Van der Niet - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Documentation :

Colloquium 6th December 2012:

HANDILAB -Deel 1 : Effectiviteit van de inkomensvervangende en integratietegemoetkomingen : eindrapport  Vermeulen, Bram - Van Der Niet, Maartje - Demaerschalk, Evelien ... et al  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2012 (SP2527)
[To download

HANDILAB -Deel 2 Administratieve data : eindrapport  Moron, Marian - Debels, Annelies  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2012 (SP2528)
[To download

Onderzoeksproject HANDILAB : synthese  Moron, Marian - Debels, Annelies  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2012 (SP2529)
[To download

Projet d'étude HANDILAB : synthèse  Moron, Marian - Debels, Annelies  Bruxelles : Politique Scientifique fédérale, 2012 (SP2530)
[To download

Project HANDILAB : summary  Moron, Marian - Debels, Annelies  Brussels : Federal Science Policy, 2012 (SP2531)
[To download

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