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The Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 and the NI (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946.

What: Many post WW2 measures were based on ensuring that people injured in the war, or at work, were compensated and/or able to continue working. The NI (Industrial Injuries) Act 1946 paid compensation to those injured during industrial accidents and the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 aimed to support disabled people into employment, setting up rehabilitation centres, vocational training courses, and ‘reserved occupations’ for disabled people. It also set up a register of disabled people and an employment quota so that organisations that employed more than 20 people should employ disabled people. However, implementation was not pursued vigorously. 

Why significant: Due to the patchwork nature of measures and support for disabled people, a hierarchy of disabilities formed in the welfare state (Jameel Hampton, 2013). Depending on impairment, people could receive a different level of benefit, with those who became disabled through war or industrial accidents having a greater political profile than those who became unwell through other ways or were born with disabilities.


Hampton, J. (2013) ‘Discovering Disability: The General Classes of Disabled People and the Classic Welfare State, 1948–1964’, Historian, 75(1), pp. 69–93. doi: 10.1111/hisn.12002.