Disability Insurance in Numbers

Prior to the introduction of disability insurance in 1960, the number of people with disabilities was unknown; a range of estimates have thus been proposed. While Pro Infirmis assumed around 200,000 disabled persons in 1946 (compared to 180,000 in 1928), the national commission appointed in 1957 to calculate the costs of a future disability insurance put the number at around 90,000 persons. This included around 40,000 who were not registered with private charities, but not a further 50,000 disabled who already received a disability pension through accident insurance. These various estimates demonstrate how difficult it is to define disability. and predict the potential re-integration of disabled persons into the labor market.

A few years after its introduction, disability insurance (IV) already disbursed partial or full pensions to around 150,000 persons (F17). In 2010, the number of IV pension recipients reached 300,000. In addition, there were over 150,000 benefits in the form of medical services and/or re-integration measures. The number of IV pension recipients has decreased further since the fifth IV revision entered into force in 2008.

The financial importance of disability insurance has increased significantly since the 1970s (F2). This trend was particularly evident during economic crises. In times of crisis there is generally more porosity and transfers between unemployment, disability and social welfare.



F2 Expenditures of key social insurance programs as a percentage of gross domestic product, 1925-2010

F17 Number of disability insurance (IV) recipients in Switzerland and abroad, 1960-2014