Survey Vlerick overestimation of social security benefits - AG Employee Benefits

Published on 13/03/2019


Your staff members overestimate social security incapacity benefits


​​If your staff members are too sick or disabled to work, they can always fall back on Belgium's extensive social security system. But what do your staff members expect from this safety net? And what are the consequences for you as an employer? Find out more in this second article on the occupational incapacity survey we carried out in cooperation with Vlerick Business School.


Are you in a hurry? Got it. Here are the two key takeaways from this article:

  • 2 out of 3 overestimate social security incapacity benefits
  • social security benefits can be 50% less than expected


Learn all about the consequences for you as an employer in the article below.
You can’t wait to find out if the social security benefits will be enough for you and your staff members? Try our handy simulatio​n tool  and run the numbers yourself. ​



2 out of 3 overestimate social security incapacity benefits

To get a better idea of how much staff members expect to collect while on incapacity leave, we had them run a projection of their replacement income themselves based on their gross salary. Most of them were quite alarmed when they saw the results. Two out of three overestimated their benefits after the first month of incapacity leave.




Length  Average estimate  Actual social security benefits
​2-12 months of
incapacity leave
of gross salary 
of gross salary, capped
at EUR 3,633 per month


The average estimate of 63% is quite close to what the National Institute for Illness-Disability Insurance (INAMI/RIZIV) actually pays - 60% of the gross salary - from the second to the twelfth month of incapacity leave. For those who earn less than the applicable maximum cap of EUR 3,633 per month, this is an accurate estimate. Higher earners, however, will experience a greater loss of income due to the maximum cap. Most of the survey respondents were not aware that this was the case.


50% less social security benefits than expected

The group earning more than the maximum cap estimated their incapacity benefits at 61% of their gross salary. In reality, they only stand to collect 43%, or nearly 50% less than expected.

2-12 months of incapacity leave  Average estimate   Average in reality
​Gross salary
below the cap
of gross salary
of gross salary
​Gross salary
above the cap
of gross salary 
of gross salary



1 of 3 employees is confronted with maximum benefit in the event of incapacity for work

The average salary in Belgium hovers around the maximum cap applied by the INAMI/RIZIV. This means that more than 1 out of 3 staff members will experience the effects of the cap if ever they need to take incapacity leave. Professor Xavier Baeten points out that the number of staff members earning above this cap has been rising each year. While the annual cap is subject to indexation, the rate has not kept pace with payroll increases.


Do the math: calculate the income in case of incapacity for work

Will the social security benefits be enough for you and your staff members? Run the numbers yourself with our simulation tool. 


​Do the test


In cooperation with AG Insurance, Professor Xavier Baeten from Vlerick Business School collected experiences and expectations about occupational incapacity in Belgium. Check already the main findings of the survey.

In this series of four articles, we will be delving deeper into the research results. Missed the first article? You can read it here at your leisure. At the end of March, we will send you a new article with more survey results and insights.


Interested in the Vlerick research findings? Want to find out more about corporate-sponsored Income Protection insurance? Contact us via the green button. We would be happy to personally walk you through the survey results, or look into how we can best use our experience to support your needs.


I want to know more