Disability pension and cash rehabilitation benefit
You may be granted a disability pension if you have not reached retirement age and your ability to work has been reduced for at least one year because of an illness, an injury or a disability. The disability pension is sometimes informally referred to as the ‘sickness pension’ in Finnish.
A disability pension may be granted either for a fixed term or until further notice. A fixed-term disability pension is called cash rehabilitation benefit. The cash rehabilitation benefit is granted if it is estimated that your ability to work can be restored through treatment or rehabilitation.
Amount of disability pension
You can use the calculators in the My Pension online service (available in Finnish and Swedish) to estimate how much disability pension you could be paid.
Your disability pension consists of the pension you have earned before your retirement on a disability pension and a projected pension component. The projected pension component refers to the time from the start of the disability to the earliest retirement age for your birth year for the old-age pension, the occupational retirement age, which may be lower, or the compulsory retirement age. The projected pension component is added to the amount of pension you are entitled to.
In addition to your earnings-related pension, you can apply for a national pension if your earnings-related pension will be small. For more information on the national pension, please contact Kela.
How to apply for a disability pension
1. Sickness allowance from Kela
Sickness allowance usually precedes the disability pension and cash rehabilitation benefit. Applications for sickness allowance are submitted to Kela. Sickness allowance is payable for a maximum of 300 working days, i.e. for about a year. Learn more about sickness allowance on Kela’s website.
Once you have been paid sickness allowance for 150 working days, you will receive a letter from Kela telling you about rehabilitation options and about how to claim a disability pension.
2. Claim a pension
You should apply for the pension three months before Kela stops paying you sickness allowance. It is advisable to always submit the application for disability pension to the pension provider. If you are also applying for a national pension, your pension provider will also submit your application to Kela.
The easiest way to apply for a pension is through the My Pension online service. The service will guide you step by step.
Attachments required for the application:
- Attach a current Medical Statement B to your application, as your application cannot be processed without it.
- You can also include other medical statements regarding your health in the application.
- A statement from your employer on how you are coping with your work as well as memos from occupational health appointments, if available, should also be enclosed with the application.
You can also apply for a pension in writing; please find the necessary forms below. Post the application and the above-mentioned attachments to Keva, 00087 KEVA.
- Application form for disability pension (PDF)
- A statement from the employer (PDF) (in Finnish)
- Appendix U, Residence and employment abroad (PDF) (If you have worked abroad and are applying for a pension in writing, please also fill in Appendix U)
3. Livelihood during the pension application process
If you no longer receive sick pay and you will soon reach the maximum time limit for receiving sickness allowance from Kela and have not received a decision on your disability pension application, register with the TE Office as an unemployed jobseeker and apply for unemployment allowance.
4. Pension decision and first payment
You will receive a decision from Keva when your application has been processed.
If Keva approves your application, the payment of a full disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit will, as a rule, start after the termination of the primary period of sickness allowance paid by Kela.
If sickness allowance is not applied for or the application is rejected, the pension will begin at the start of the month following the onset of the disability.
If your application is rejected, please read the section If pension is not granted.
You will be provided with an earnings-related pension card if you are on a disability pension. The card will be sent to you separately after the issue of the pension decision.
Learn more about the earnings-related pension card
5. Apply for a new tax card
You should request a pension tax card from the tax office as soon as you have received your pension decision from Keva. Without the pension tax card, a withholding rate of 40% will apply.
Learn more about the taxation of pensions
Disability pension claim process at Keva
How is disability assessed?
Keva will assess your ability to work using a medical statement supplied by your doctor and other medical reports.
Factors taken into account in the assessment include:
- the demands of your job duties
- your work performance, and
- your chances of recovering work ability through treatment and rehabilitation.
The consideration of the application for a disability pension also involves a determination of your potential for vocational rehabilitation, which always takes primacy over a disability pension.
The decision on granting a disability pension is taken by the decision specialist together with an advisory physician. If necessary, other Keva experts, such as a rehabilitation specialist or a lawyer, will also participate in the decision-making process. Our assessment of your work ability may differ from the assessment by your doctor.
Application processing times
|Average processing times 1 January to 31 December 2018||Days|
|The first application: full disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit||70|
|The first application: partial disability pension or partial rehabilitation allowance||49|
|Application for extension: all||31|
The processing times above are average times, and your application process may take longer for the following reasons:
- If your application for a disability pension is processed both at your pension provider (Keva) and Kela, the decision will be negotiated through advance notification and consultation procedures, which will extend the application processing time by a few weeks.
- If Keva applies the definition of vocational disability and the amount of pension accrued from the private sector is more than EUR 957.04 per month (at the 2004 level), Keva will also request an assessment of the applicant’s disability from the private pension provider.
- If Keva asks for further clarification such as medical reports or a statement from the employer for the decision-making process.
What to do if disability pension is not granted
Disability pension cannot be granted if it is found that your work ability remains at a sufficient level. The assessment may also arrive at the conclusion that you are only eligible for partial disability pension even though you applied for full disability pension.
If you are still employed, you can contact your company’s occupational health services or ask your supervisor about possible arrangements at work.
If you are not employed, contact the TE office. If no suitable work can be offered to you, you may apply for unemployment allowance.
Unemployment allowance may also be granted as an adjusted allowance if you have been granted partial disability allowance whilst continuing not to work.
Appeal against a pension decision
If you are not happy with a decision issued by Keva, you can lodge an appeal against it. The instructions for appeal enclosed with the decision will inform you on how to proceed.
More information on the appeal process
Apply for an extension to your rehabilitation allowance or switch from one type of pension to another
The only application required to extend a cash rehabilitation benefit is a Medical Statement B, which should be submitted to Keva no later than a month before the expiration of the benefit. You can submit the medical statement through the My Pension service.
Please enclose any new memos from occupational health appointments, if available, and other reports on your health.
You can also send the Medical Statement B or the application with attachments to: 00087 KEVA.
From disability pension to old-age pension
When you become eligible for an old-age pension, your disability pension will automatically be converted into an old-age pension. Your old-age pension will be the same in amount as your disability pension.
If you have worked while drawing a disability pension, you have earned new pension funds for that work. You are entitled to this pension, at the earliest, when your disability pension becomes an old-age pension, and you must have stopped working. You must apply for this pension separately with an old-age pension application.
The easiest way to apply for the pension is by using the old-age pension application on the My Pension online service. The service will guide you step by step. You can also submit your old-age pension application to: 00087 KEVA.
Back to work through vocational rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation can help you keep working despite health-related limitations. Even if your health prevents you from continuing in your current job, there may be other jobs for which your work ability is more than sufficient.
Vocational rehabilitation can help you:
- to discover jobs that are better suited to your health, or
- to facilitate your return to your own job after a long period of sick leave.
Learn more about vocational rehabilitation
Working while on a disability pension
You can work while you are on a disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit as long as your earnings remain within the limits set for you. The pension decision informs you of your personal earnings threshold.
If your earnings exceed the threshold, your pension may be left dormant. A pension may be left dormant for a period of not less than three months and not more than two years. The easiest way to submit a notice of dormancy is through the My Pension online service.
Learn more about working while on a disability pension