BMJ Open 3:e002683 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002683
  • Health economics
    • Research

Premature retirement due to ill health and income poverty: a cross-sectional study of older workers

  1. Megan E Passey3
  1. 1NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  3. 3University Centre for Rural Health (North Coast), University of Sydney, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emily Callander; emily.callander{at}
  • Received 4 February 2013
  • Revised 18 April 2013
  • Accepted 19 April 2013
  • Published 28 May 2013


Objectives To assess the income-poverty status of Australians who were aged between 45 and 64 years and were out of the labour force due to ill health.

Design A cross-sectional study using a microsimulation model of the 2009 Australian population (Health&WealthMOD).

Setting 2009 Australian population.

Participants 9198 people aged between 45 and 64 years surveyed for the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

Primary outcome measures 50% of the median equivalised income-unit-income poverty line.

Results It was found that individuals who had retired early due to other reasons were significantly less likely to be in income poverty than those retired due to ill health (OR 0.43 95% CI 0.33 to 0.51), and there was no significant difference in the likelihood of being in income poverty between these individuals and those unemployed. Being in the same family as someone who is retired due to illness also significantly increases an individual's chance of being in income poverty.

Conclusions It can be seen that being retired due to illness impacts both the individual and their family.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

blog comments powered by Disqus