Increasing the Netherlands’ retirement age for the state pension (AOW) is unlikely to lead to a significant rise in the number of workers with a disability, the country’s Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) has suggested.

Citing a recent study, financial daily newspaper FD said that the CPB expected a “limited” increase of disability support claimants in the wake of a retirement age increase “as people not only live longer, but also stay healthier for longer”.

The CPB findings removed an important argument from parties opposing the increase of the AOW age to 67 and three months in 2022, with a further rise planned if life expectancy increases – as has already been decided by the Dutch government.

Both employers and trade unions have opposed the gradual increase of the official retirement age, arguing that many workers – in particular those in physically hard jobs – can’t keep working for that long and so would boost the number of benefits claimants.

The largest union, FNV, has made freezing the retirement age at 66 conditional to its support for reform of the Netherlands’ pensions system.

Until now, Wouter Koolmees, minister for social affairs, has refused to accommodate demands for a limited increase to the retirement age.

According to FD’s report, the CPB expected that, at an AOW age of 70, the percentage of 69-year old men with a labour disability would not be higher than at present – 17% of 64-year olds are currently in such a position.

However, the CPB also said that, without any health progress, more workers would drop out before they reached 70. In that case, the percentage of of 69-year olds with a labour disability could rise to roughly 26%, it said.