Can’t do it on their own. The work participation of young disabled persons in the Netherlands

Thursday, October 31, 2013
First author:
Brakel K. van
Participation through Paid Work

Dutch Institute for Employee Benefit Schemes (UWV), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

All authors:

Katinka van Brakel, Jolanda van Rijssen, Martijn Wijnhoven

Inclusive Employment
work participation, disability, young disabled persons, Wajong


Government policies are progressively aimed at work participation of people with disabilities, including young disabled persons. This study therefore aims to determine (1) the degree of participation in paid work by young people with a work disability benefit in the Netherlands, and (2) establish which obstacles and opportunities they encounter in order to get and keep work.


Analyses of the administrative databases, complemented with qualitative data. 


The work participation of young disabled people fluctuates around 25%. However, only half of them was able to maintain their new found work for over a year.

The degree of work participation depends upon various factors: (1) Those that have a focus on work from an early age result more successful. (2) The medical diagnosis correlates with the degree of work participation. (3) Many young disabled people can only work with the aid of a professional job coach, minimum wage dispensation, and/or continuing benefits. E.g., of those that work over 60% need some form of formal aid.    


Young people with a disability are able to participate in paid work and a substantial amount of them indeed does participate. However, for the majority this is only possible through much effort and formal aid during their entire working life. 


Van Brakel et al. (2102). UWV Monitor Arbeidsparticipatie 2012. Aan het werk zijn, komen en blijven van mensen met een arbeidsbeperking. Amsterdam: UWV.