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: National pension (Kela.fi)

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.

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.

See also the general guidelines for pension applications and what you need to do after you receive your pension decision

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.

 

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 2020 Days
The first application: full disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit 60
The first application: partial disability pension or partial rehabilitation allowance 42
Application for extension: all 20

 

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 occupational disability and the earnings in private sectors were at least €18,171.44 (at 2020 level) in the two calendar years preceding the date of the pension contingency, Keva will also request the private pension provider for an assessment of the pension applicant’s disability.
  • If Keva asks for further clarification such as medical reports or a statement from the employer for the decision-making process.

Pension decision and what to do next

Keva will give you a decision once your application for disability pension has been processed.

If your application is accepted

Disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit will begin after the period of primary benefit during which sickness allowance is paid by Kela. If you have not been paid sickness allowance, the pension will begin from the start of the month following work disability.

Payment of pension retrospectively

If disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit starts retrospectively and you have already been received a salary, Kela benefits or unemployment allowance for the same period of sickness absence, Keva will deduct this from the pension payable to you. Keva will ascertain the deductions to be made from the organisations paying the benefits. Disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit will be paid once Keva has received the information required about earnings and benefits paid. You do not need to provide this information to Keva.

An example of cash rehabilitation benefit paid retrospectively

Keva starts to pay cash rehabilitation benefit after the period of primary benefit during which sickness allowance is paid by Kela. If your employer has already paid you a salary during the period of cash rehabilitation benefit, Keva will send an enquiry to your employer about the salary paid in conjunction with issuing the rehabilitation decision. If your employer reports that you have received a salary during sickness absence, Keva will pay the cash rehabilitation benefit to your employer subject to a maximum of the salary paid to you for the same period. Subsequently, Keva will pay the cash rehabilitation benefit to you yourself.

You will receive an earnings-related pension card

You will receive an earnings-related pension card if your retire on a disability pension. The card will be sent to you in a separate letter after the issue of the pension decision

Apply for a new tax card

Once you have received your pension decision from Keva, apply as soon as possible to the Tax Administration for a new tax card for pension income. If you do not have a tax card for your pension, tax at 40% will be withheld.

If your application is rejected

Disability pension cannot be granted if your work ability is not considered to have deteriorated sufficiently. The assessment may also find that even though you have applied for full disability pension you are entitled only to partial disability pension.

If your employment contract or public-service employment relationship is still in force, contact occupational healthcare or your manager regarding any work arrangements.

In other cases, contact the TE office. You can apply for unemployment allowance if there is no suitable work available to you.

Adjusted unemployment allowance may also be granted if you have been granted partial disability pension but you do not continue working.

Appeal against pension decisions

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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 

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.