Changes in working life expectancy with disability in the Netherlands, 1992–2016

Maaike van der Noordt, Suzan van der Pas, Theo G. van Tilburg, Ardo van den Hout, Dorly J.H. Deeg

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives. Like other western countries, the Netherlands has abolished early retirement schemes and is currently increasing the statutory retirement age. It is likely that also older workers with disabilities will be required to work longer. We examine the change in working life expectancy (WLE) with disability of older workers by comparing data from three periods: 1992–1996, 2002–2006 and 2012–2016. Methods. Data are from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Respondents aged 55–65 with a paid job at baseline were included (N=1074). Disability was measured using the Global Activity Limitations Indicator (GALI). First, a continuous-time three-state survival model was created. Second, WLE with and without disability were estimated using MSM and ELECT in R. The modifying effects of gender and educational level were examined. Results. Among those initially in paid employment, total WLE increased over 20 years. For example at age 58, total WLE increased from 3.7 to 5.5 years. WLE with disability at age 58 increased from 0.8 to 1.5 years. There was no difference in WLE with disability between male and female workers or low- and highly educated workers. Conclusions. Between the 1990s and the 2010s, subsequent generations of older workers with disabilities have extended their working lives. The findings emphasize the importance of workplace interventions that facilitate older workers with disabilities to maintain well-being and work ability. In addition, the question arises whether current exit routes out of the workforce are still adequate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


This work is indebted to two workshops organized by the National Institute on Ageing at the National Institutes of Health NIH/NIA Program Project Grant (P01AG043362; 2013-2018). The LASA is supported by a grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Health Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care. The data collection in 2012-2013 was financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) in the framework of the project “New cohorts of young old in the 21st century” (file number 480-10-014). Financial support from the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement under grant LMVP2014.01 is gratefully acknowledged.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Ministry of Health Welfare and Sports, Directorate of Long-Term Care
Network for Studies on PensionsLMVP2014.01
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on AgingP01AG043362
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek480-10-014


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