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Work Capacity from Legal and Medical Perspectives

Research project Work capacity is an essential concept in public social insurance. But what is work capacity and how is it interpreted and applied by lawyers and physicians?

The concept work capacity is decided both legally and medically, and sometimes with different outcomes. The legislator has decided that an insured person can provide for his or her own, despite of illness and the legal judgement of work capacity shall be based on ‘strictly medical grounds’. This means that labour market circumstances, economic, social and other similar circumstances should not be taken into account. From a medical point of view, the capacity for work is a result of both the capacity of the individual and the demands at work. Thus, the medical assessment of work capacity is based on a number of factors. The purpose of this project is to study how the concept work capacity is interpreted and applied by lawyers and physicians. The point of departure is the legal framework and the aim is to analyze legal decisions from administrative courts together with doctor's certificates and statements from insurance physicians. Factors as gender, class and ethnicity will also be regarded. This project is carried out in cooperation with a lawyer and two physicians.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2008-01-01 2010-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Law

Research subject

Law, Public health and health care science

Project description

The concept work capacity is decided both legally and medically, and sometimes with different outcomes. The legislator has decided that an insured person can provide for his or her own, despite of illness and the legal judgement of work capacity shall be based on ‘strictly medical grounds’. This means that labour market circumstances, economic, social and other similar circumstances should not be taken into account. From a medical point of view, the capacity for work is a result of both the capacity of the individual and the demands at work. Thus, the medical assessment of work capacity is based on a number of factors.
The purpose of this project is to study how the concept work capacity is interpreted and applied by lawyers and physicians. The point of departure is the legal framework and the aim is to analyze legal decisions from administrative courts together with doctor's certificates and statements from insurance physicians. Factors as gender, class and ethnicity will also be regarded.

This project is carried out in cooperation with a lawyer and two physicians.