Following the recommendations of a public committee under the late Justice Laron, that investigated the needs of Israel’s population with disabilities, the National Insurance Law was amended to change the structure of disability benefits and the conditions of eligibility. The change was designed so that people with disabilities would have an incentive to integrate into the job market or broaden their participation in it if they are able to do so.
The Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute and the National Insurance Institute, at the latter’s initiative, are conducting a follow-up study of the implications of the amendment for the employment of people with disabilities of working age (18-67). The study consists of two stages – before and after the amendment went into effect.
This report presents the findings of the first stage, conducted at the end of 2009 and start of 2010, before the amendment took effect. It presents the rate of people with disabilities and, for the first time, the rates of various types of disability (physical, mental, sensory and cognitive) in Israel’s working-age population. It also presents the characteristics of people with disabilities, particularly as regards employment – their employment status, employment resources, the work characteristics of the employed, the motivation of the non-employed to work, and the assistance they require to integrate into the labor force.
The findings show that:
Of Israel's working-age population, 24.7% have disabilities, i.e., about a million people. This rate includes those with mild, moderate and severe disabilities. Of the population with disabilities, 20% (i.e., some 200,000) receive a general disability benefit.
Of the population with disabilities, only 50% are employed, compared to 72% of Israel's working-age population without disabilities.
The half a million people with disabilities who are not employed include 150,000 beneficiary recipients and 350,000 non-recipients. The study found the latter to largely resemble the former in having serous barriers to employment. As the non-recipients' disability level is less severe than that of recipients, improvement of their employment resources, especially among the young, may contribute to their integration into the labor force and prevent their joining the ranks of the benefit recipients in the future.
Among the non-employed group with disabilities, more than 200,000, including some 50,000 recipients of a disability benefit, are motivated to work. They are a target group for employment integration if they receive such support as vocational guidance, job-search help, workplace adjustments, and means of transportation.
To complete the follow-up and learn of the impact of the amendment on the employment status of people with disabilities, Brookdale and the National Insurance Institute are to conduct the second stage of the study, three years after the amendment went into effect.