Unemployment insurance and mortality among the long-term unemployed: a population-based matched cohort study

Publication type
Journal article
Authors
Shahidi FV, Parnia A
Date published
2021 May 01
Journal
American Journal of Epidemiology
Pages
[epub ahead of print]
Open Access?
No
Abstract

Unemployment insurance is hypothesized to play an important role in mitigating the adverse health consequences of job loss. In this prospective cohort study, we examined whether receiving unemployment benefits is associated with lower mortality among the long-term unemployed. Census records from the 2006 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (n=2,105,595) were linked to mortality data from 2006 to 2016. Flexible parametric survival analysis and propensity score matching were used to model time-varying relationships between long-term unemployment (20 weeks or more), unemployment benefit recipiency, and all-cause mortality. Mortality was consistently lower among unemployed individuals who reported receiving unemployment benefits relative to matched nonrecipients. For example, mortality at 2 years of follow-up was 18% lower (95% confidence interval (CI): 9%, 26%) among men receiving benefits and 30% lower (95% CI: 18%, 40%) among women receiving benefits. After 10 years of follow-up, unemployment benefit recipiency was associated with 890 (95% CI: 560, 1,230) fewer deaths per 100,000 men and 1,070 (95% CI: 810, 1,320) fewer deaths per 100,000 women. Our findings indicate that receiving unemployment benefits is associated with lower mortality among the long-term unemployed. Expanding access to unemployment insurance may improve population health and reduce health inequalities associated with job loss