Research & Analysis by David Rajnes
Public disability benefit programs in the United States and other countries consider, as a condition for benefit eligibility, the claimant's ability or inability to resume or find work because of a health impairment. Many countries use an applicant's vocational factors (VFs)—age, education, and work experience—in assessing disability claims. As such, VFs play an important role in determining who qualifies for disability and related benefits. This article offers a comprehensive examination of the disability assessment processes in 11 developed countries and highlights the use and relevance of VFs in those processes.
This article examines fast-track procedures in long-term public disability programs in the United States and several other countries. Such procedures share a common goal of accelerating applicants—generally for those with severe disabilities, blindness, or facing terminal illness—through the disability determination process.
This article examines the experience of Japan's social insurance permanent disability programs and compares its key features with the Social Security Disability Insurance program operating in the United States. It analyzes the determination and appeals processes in Japan for claiming permanent social insurance disability pensions. Trends in the number of Japanese disability program beneficiaries and benefit expenditures are also discussed.
This article examines the development of Japanese voluntary employer-sponsored retirement plans with an emphasis on recent trends. Before 2001, companies in Japan offered retirement benefits as lump-sum severance payments and/or benefits from one of two types of defined benefit (DB) pension plans. One DB plan type was based on an earlier occupational pension model used in the United States. The other DB plan type allowed companies to opt out of the earnings-related portion of social security. Landmark laws passed in 2001 introduced a new generation of occupational retirement plans to employers and employees, creating three new DB plan designs and two new defined contribution types of plans. Since that time, the mix of employer-sponsored retirement plans offered in Japan has changed significantly, and overall employee coverage has declined. On balance, employer-sponsored retirement plans have remained largely DB in design.