When your working ability has been reduced

You may be granted a disability pension if your ability to work has been reduced for at least one year because of an illness, an injury or a handicap.

Vocational rehabilitation is the primary alternative before the disability pension. In connection with processing your application for a disability pension, your pension provider will also assess whether you meet the criteria for rehabilitation within the earnings-related pension system. If you do, you will get a preliminary decision of your right to rehabilitation without having to apply for it separately.

The disability pension can be granted if you are at least 17 years old but have not reached your retirement age yet. For a disability lasting less than a year, you may be granted a sickness allowance paid by Kela.

Your disability pension consists of the pension you have earned before your retirement on a disability pension and a projected pension component. The partial disability pension is half of the full disability pension.

Disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit

Benefits granted based on disability:

  • the cash rehabilitation benefit, granted for a temporary period
  • the disability pension, granted until further notice.

The disability pension is granted if your ability to work has been reduced by at least 60 per cent. When you reach retirement age, your disability pension will be changed to an old-age pension.

If there is a chance that your ability to work might be restored, you will be granted a temporary cash rehabilitation benefit.

When you apply for a cash rehabilitation benefit, you and your pension provider, employer and the occupational health care at your workplace will draw up a treatment and rehabilitation plan for you. The aim is to find out what kind of work would suite you, based on your education and work experience, bearing in mind your remaining ability to work.

Both benefits can be granted as a partial benefit if you can cope with part-time work or lighter work tasks. You can apply for a preliminary decision on your right to a partial disability pension while you are still working. After receiving a positive decision, you have nine months to decide whether to retire on the disability pension.

Grade of work ability Pensions granted until further notice Pensions granted for a temporary period
Loss of work capacity at least 60% Full disability pension Cash rehabilitation benefit
Loss of work capacity at least 40% Partial disability pension Partial cash rehabilitation benefit

Assessing disability

When assessing a reduced ability to work, both medical and socioeconomic factors are assessed. Your education, work experience and age are also taken into consideration.

The assessment is based on these documents that you have attached to your disability pension application:

  • Medical Statement B,
  • your own description of your illness, and
  • your assessment of how you can cope at work.

If you have turned 60, your ability to work is assessed under more lenient conditions.  Your ability to work is assessed based on your last work task, the length you have been working and how you cope at work.

The qualifying conditions for the disability pension are basically the same in all lines of business. However, if you are working in the public sector, both the general definition for disability and the definition for occupational disability are applied.

Projected pension component

The projected pension component is a calculated expected part of your pension. It compensates the pension that you have not accrued based on your wages because you have had to retire on a disability pension before reaching your retirement age.

You will get the projected pension component if you

  • earned €17,480.28 in total (in 2018) over 10 calendar years before you became disabled, and
  • paid earnings-related pension insurance on the income.

The projected pension component is calculated for the time from the beginning of the year that you retired on a disability pension to your retirement age. The accrual rate is 1.5 per cent of your total standard gross wages (wages before tax and social insurance contributions are taken out) for the five calendar years before you retired on a disability pension.

When calculating the projected pension component, your earnings from work and the earnings that your social benefits are based on will be taken into account. Social benefits include

  • the sickness allowance
  • the unemployment allowance,
  • the parental allowance, and
  • the compensation for a job alternation leave.
How your disability pension and the projected pension component are calculated
You were born on 15 June 1957
Your retirement age 63 years and 9 months
You retire on a disability pension in May 2018
The amount of pension that you have accrued (for work and unpaid periods) by the end of the year before the year in which you retire on a disability pension (2017) €1,450 a month
Your monthly pension after the life expectancy coefficient has been applied €1,450 x 0.96102= €1,393.48
The projected pension component calculated from the beginning of the year in which you retired on a disability pension to when you reach your retirement age 1 January 2018–31 March 2021 = 39 months
Your total standard gross monthly wage during the period of a projected pension component €3,000 per month
Amount of your monthly projected pension component (€3,000 x 39 months) x 1.50% ÷ 12 = €146.25
Your total monthly disability pension (including the projected pension component) €1,393.48+ €146.25 = €1,539.73
In this example,  your total monthly disability pension, including the projected pension component, is €1,539.73.

Increases to the disability pension

If you are between the ages of 24 and 55, your pension will be permanently increased by a lump sum when your pension has continued uninterruptedly for five years. The younger you are at the onset of the disability, the bigger is the increase.

During your vocational rehabilitation, you will receive a rehabilitation allowance equal to the amount of your disability pension plus an additional 33 per cent.

Example of your rehabilitation allowance
Your monthly disability pension €1,800
Your total rehabilitation allowance €1,800 + (€1,800 x 33%) = €2,394

How does the life expectancy coefficient affect your disability pension?

If your disability pension began in 2010 or later, your accrued pension will be adjusted with the life expectancy coefficient of the year that your disability began. The life expectancy coefficient is not applied to the projected pension component. If you have turned 62 when your disability pension begins, your accrued pension will be adjusted by the life expectancy coefficient confirmed for the year in which you turned 62.

Disability pension from abroad

If you have worked in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you may have the right to receive a disability pension also from these countries. The countries that Finland has signed a bilateral social security agreement with also pay disability pensions to Finland.

For more information on how to apply for a pension from abroad and the contact information of  the relevant foreign agencies, contact the Finnish Centre for Pensions:

  • phone +358 29 411 2110
  • e-mail: asiakaspalvelu(at)etk.fi.
Workers' compensation benefits before earnings-related pensions

Accidents, occupational diseases and industrial accidents are covered by their own statutory insurances (that means that they have been set up in law). If accidents, occupational diseases and industrial accidents cause disability, compensation is paid primarily from these insurances rather than from the earnings-related pension system. Generally, the compensation based on these insurances are higher than your accrued pension, so sometimes no pension is paid.

Nevertheless, you should  always apply for a disability pension. If your work capacity is restored and you return to work, you will accrue pension for the time you have received a disability pension. As a result, the level of your future old-age pension will improve.

In addition, if your insurance compensation is reduced later on, you may be entitled to an earnings-related pension. As a result, your level of income will be improved by the earnings-related pension.

Survivors’ pensions are paid out based on workers’ compensation insurance if the death was caused by a traffic or other accident. Also partners in a domestic partnership have the right to receive such a survivors’ pension.

Workers’ compensation insurance, motor liability insurance and earnings-related pension insurance are all statutory, which means they have been set up in law.

Partial disability pension for the unemployed and the self-employed

A partial disability pension does not require part-time work. If you are unemployed, you can register as a job seeker with a TE office and receive a partial disability pension and a reduced unemployment allowance.

If you are self-employed, you must reduce your work input and income from self-employment to a maximum of 60% of your income from full-time self-employment.