Disability threatens a growing number of people. The number of cases of depression increases and returning to work is all the more complicated as unemployment is high. However, the Swiss political authorities pay little attention to the 24 billion francs paid per year for invalidity insurance (AI). The fault is undoubtedly due to the complexity of this subject. The AI involves private insurance (daily allowances), companies, doctors, pension funds, public institutions and insured persons.
Avenir Suisse publishes this Tuesday a detailed study, “Reintegrate rather than exclude”, on this subject based on exclusive data. The think tank highlights the considerable differences between the cantons and presents its proposals. The document tries to respond to the problems linked to the entanglement between the actors in order to make the system more efficient.
Röstigraben in the AI
Examining the costs of IA recipients reveals variances of up to 74%. Most of the variations are “linked to differences in interpretation of federal law, as well as to different practices in rehabilitation measures,” suggests Jérôme Cosandey, the author of the report.
The township of the end of the lake is clearly pointed out. Geneva even records both the highest cost per annuity application and the highest grant rate, notes the economist. The charge per request reached 46,300 francs, or nearly a third higher than the Swiss average (33,000 francs). The lowest value is recorded by Appenzell Innerrhoden (14,000 francs).
The frequency of granting social benefits varies greatly. The latter is decisive for the height of the cost of annuities per request, according to the study. While in the canton of Uri one in ten applicants obtains assistance, this proportion rises to one in five, that is to say twice as much, in the canton of Geneva. In French-speaking Switzerland, the aid grant rate exceeds the Swiss average value by at least 27%.
The illnesses leading to IA cases far outnumber accidents. The trend was reinforced during covid, through the increase in symptoms of severe depression. However, the impact of the crisis on the IV remains modest given the delays, which can reach several years before the decision to grant an annuity.
The risk of fraud is slim. In 2019, for example, 640 cases of fraud were discovered by the IA, or 0.3% of all IA beneficiaries. “For 99% of them, the insured are honest people”, judges Avenir Suisse.
The proposals of Avenir Suisse
The think tank advocates for a liberal-inspired AI system based on personal initiative, subsidiarity, efficiency and transparency. The study proposes that an expenditure ceiling be set for the total measures of each cantonal AI office, on the basis of the number of annual requests. Currently, these amounts are not subject to any limitation. However, ceilings exist elsewhere, for example in unemployment insurance.
Jérôme Cosandey also proposes to generalize a certificate presenting the assets of the insured rather than his incapacity. The “Resource-Based Integration Profile” (PIR), which was developed by the Compasso association, therefore reverses the point of view. Employers should, according to Avenir Suisse, “systematically request a PIR from the doctor”.
The third strong idea of the study concerns an example of good practice in Aargau. The canton’s public institutions cooperate more than elsewhere. According to the study, the AI office, the regional employment offices (ORP) and many social services offer their services jointly within the framework of an initiative called “Cooperation on the labor market”.