Disability Assessment in European States ANED Synthesis Report

183 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2019

See all articles by Lisa Waddington

Lisa Waddington

Maastricht University; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Mark Priestley

University of Leeds - Sociology and Social Policy

Roy Sainsbury


Date Written: December 1, 2018


The focus of this synthesis report is disability assessment, and specifically how disability is assessed in the context of a variety of benefits and support schemes across European states. Assessment of disability is widely used to determine eligibility for entitlements, services and benefits. In light of the adoption and widespread ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as in the context of an extended period of economic austerity, many states have sought to revise and tailor their definitions of disability and the related assessment mechanisms, often with the stated aim of targeting those most in need. At the same time, some states have sought to adopt assessment systems which are in line with the CRPD.

Part I of the report follows on from this introduction to explore various aspects and dimensions to disability assessment mechanisms from a generic perspective. On the basis of a literature search, this section first seeks to identify and discuss various different approaches to assessing disability. Part I concludes by considering the guidance that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, linked to the CRPD, has issued on disability assessment in its Concluding Observations to States Parties. Part II of the report explains the methodology used to collect information from ANED country experts relating to national disability assessments and provides a short overview of the overall findings. Part III contains the synthesis based on the information provided by a number of ANED country experts, making use of the template on national disability assessment mechanisms. A representative sample of national assessment mechanisms is classified and discussed in accordance with the assessment mechanisms identified and discussed in Part I of the report. The classification of national approaches is based on the assessment method used, rather than the benefit or entitlement which each assessment relates to. The focus is on the kinds of assessment mechanisms used, although the benefit linked to each assessment discussed is also noted. The report will identify trends in approaches to assessments based on the analysis of the assessment methods covered. In Part IV, elements of assessment mechanisms which can be regarded as good practice are identified, and the impact of the CRPD, as well as the compatibility of various assessment methods with the CRPD, are discussed. It is worth noting that elements of the overall evaluation that determine eligibility for a particular benefit which are not directly or indirectly related to disability, such as an individual’s history of social security contributions, are not considered in this synthesis report, although they may be covered in the related country reports.

Keywords: Disability Assessment, European Commission, CRPD

JEL Classification: K10, K33, K40, I12

Suggested Citation

Waddington, Lisa and Priestley, Mark and Sainsbury, Roy, Disability Assessment in European States ANED Synthesis Report (December 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3320419

Lisa Waddington (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Mark Priestley

University of Leeds - Sociology and Social Policy ( email )

United Kingdom

Roy Sainsbury


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