Factors associated with approval and rejection of disability pension applications in the Khomas region of Namibia
Authors: Chichaya, T.
Editors: Alfreda, K. and Solomon, Y.
Conference: University of Namibia School of Public Health
Determination of eligibility for disability pension is a challenging area in view of the complexities surrounding defining and measuring disability. Currently there is an absence of eligibility criteria for the disability pension in Namibia, and people with disabilities have described the process of getting the disability pension as extremely difficult. To improve the process of determining eligibility for disability pension knowledge of the current factors associated with approval or rejection of disability pension should be available. The study aimed to explore and describe characteristic factors of approved and rejected disability pension applications and, to identify factors associated with determination of eligibility for disability pension in the Khomas Region. The objectives of the study were to describe socio-demographic and medical factors that characterize approved and rejected disability pension applications in the Khomas Region and to identify factors positively or negatively associated with rejection of disability pension applications in the Khomas Region. A quantitative, analytic, case-control study design based on records was used. The population consisted of all disability pension applications processed between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2010 in the Khomas Region. The population size matched the estimated sample size. Cases were the rejected applications for a disability pension and controls were those applications that were approved. A data extraction form was used to collect data from disability pension application forms. Data were analyzed using Epi info statistical package version 3.5.1. Ethical considerations were observed during all stages of the study. Low educational level, unemployment, lack of income, and having a permanent health condition are factors that typically characterize disability pension applications in the Khomas Region. At 95.0% CI, considering Odds Ratios and p<0.05, there was a high association between rejection of disability pension applications and: being fit for open labour employment setting; and a lower disability percentage. Approval of disability pension applications was highly associated with: disability that will worsen; mental functions affected; reduced life expectancy and being unfit for any type of employment setting. A multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that personal care abilities; possible intervention to restore work ability of applicant; and percentage of disability were significant in determining disability pension eligibility in the Khomas Region. The factors associated with determination of eligibility for disability pension in the Khomas Region followed the international trends. However, the process can be improved through responsive policy formulation and the development of clear eligibility criteria to make the assessment more objective and holistic.