Assessing the top 10 European nations that offer any form of disability benefits, the UK was found to have higher benefits than Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.
While research has revealed that 20% of the poorest people worldwide are disabled, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Spain share 62.7% of the EU disability population aged 16 and over living in private households.
Through their research, Middletons has created a league table of the European countries with the highest monthly disability payments.
What the UK Offers
The UK is one of the only countries with a National Health Service, meaning any treatment relating to disabilities is often free and ultimately far cheaper than the rest of Europe. Many of the European nations assessed rely on their citizens’ monetary contributions to finding eligibility for any disability support.
The UK offers the most extensive levels of support in terms of transport for disabled citizens, including:
- Free bus pass.
- Blue Badge scheme, allowing for free parking.
- Motability scheme, where you trade some or all of enhanced mobility components towards the cost of a vehicle.
- Up to a third off rail tickets with a disabled person’s rail card.
- Vehicle tax exemption.
Top three countries for disability benefits
Switzerland offers the highest monthly support in the EU, providing its 1.8 million disabled citizens with a huge monthly disability allowance of £7,149.55 through a compulsory social insurance scheme.
While just 10% of Norwegian citizens have a disability, they come in second place in the monthly allowance leaderboard, giving their disabled citizens an average of £2,561.19. In addition to their disability allowance, there is means-tested support for each child in families in which a parent receives disability benefits.
Denmark has the third highest disability benefits in Europe at £2,198.50 per month on average, where disability pensions are means-tested. Denmark also provides housing allowances that may be added to pensions.
Benefits are calculated based on the average of the best 3 financial years out of the last five years before you became disabled , and the benefit is equivalent to 66% of this figure.
Comparison across Europe
Disabled people in the UK could be entitled up to £679.90 per month on average. While this figure is lower than Switzerland, Denmark, France, Norway, and Sweden, the UK has some of the best additional benefits for disabled individuals.
Out of the countries that comprise the largest proportion of disabled individuals in the EU, the UK offers monthly payments 27.34% higher than Spain, 188% higher than Italy and an incredible 220% more than Poland.
Unlike 60% of the countries evaluated, the UK also provides additional travel support for those who struggle with mobility.
While countries like Germany, with 50% fewer disabled people, also allow for free public transport, this comes at a cost, unlike the UK. Scandinavian countries, however, offer some of the best benefits.
Norway gives its citizens subsidies towards paying for taxis and other travel, while Sweden grants its disabled citizens a car allowance, similar to the UK.
Ricky Towler, Founder of Middletons Mobility, comments on the varying levels of disability benefits across Europe: ‘These countries are home to the biggest disabled populations in Europe, and it’s great to see a variety of financial and material support for those with a disability. Though great support is offered, many countries still have a long way to go to help their most vulnerable people.’
‘Interestingly, Spain and Italy have some of the highest disability rates in Europe yet have the least benefits for their people. Meanwhile, the disabled population in Germany can claim children’s disability benefits up until the age of 27, 11 years longer than children in the UK.’
‘This is valuable to German families with children who may not follow a typical timeline of non-disabled children who are more likely to move out and gain independence or employment at age 18.’