In August 2009, Amendment 109 (the “Laron Law”) to the National Insurance Law came into effect. It changed the structure of the general disability allowance (GDA) and the conditions of eligibility. It was designed to encourage GDA recipients to integrate into, or expand their participation in employment, in order to increase their incomes and improve their quality of life. To evaluate the amendment’s implications, the National Insurance Institute (NII) initiated a follow-up study, conducted with the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute (MJB).
The first stage of the study, conducted in 2009-2010, consisted of a national survey of GDA recipients and of people with disabilities not receiving this allowance. The findings showed 20% employment rate among GDA recipients. According to NII records, this rate did not rise significantly following the amendment’s enactment.
In light of these data, the second stage of the study, whose findings are introduced in this report, was conducted in 2014-2015. In this stage, we explored the factors promoting or obstructing employment integration of GDA recipients, apart from demographic and medical characteristics. For this purpose, the study compared the workers and non-workers in the period following the amendment, who joined the GDA system between 2003-2012. The analysis focused on two groups: those with and without work experience in the three years preceding receipt of the allowance – based on the assumption that in each group, different factors affect employment.
Selected findings: In what follows, we introduce several factors, which were found to be of special practical significance in a multi-variable analysis:
Vocational rehabilitation: Among the inexperienced, those who received vocational rehabilitation were 2.5 times more likely to work than those who did not. This indicates that the training provided in rehabilitation frameworks can be important for those who are relatively removed from the labor market.
Learning disabilities: Among the experienced, those with a learning disability (LD) were substantially less likely to work than those without LD. This highlights the need to develop targeted intervention programs.
Perceived expectations of significant others: Among the inexperienced, those who were of the opinion that their families and friends expected them to work were three times more likely to work than those who believed otherwise. Among the experienced, the probability of working was 20 times as high. This pattern indicates that efforts to encourage employment integration should involve the individual’s close surroundings.
Knowledge of the Laron law: No significant difference was found between the workers and non-workers in this respect. However, only about a third knew the law and a lower rate understood its practical implications. This may explain the reduced impact of the amendment and imply that providing information about the law in an accessible manner is a critical factor in the uptake of the law’s provisions.
Based on the findings, several programmatic directions were formulated to raise the rate of people exercising their eligibility under the Laron Law and integrating into employment. The findings will be presented at forums promoting the employment of people with disabilities in general and of GDA recipients in particular.