If you have an illness that leads to your becoming incapacitated for work, your first course of action is normally to apply for a sickness allowance. If your illness becomes persistent, you can apply for a disability pension. It is payable both in the form of an earnings-related pension and as a national pension.
Kela normally begins to pay a disability pension about one year after the onset of incapacity. You can receive disability pension temporarily but foran unspecified period of time in the form of a rehabilitation subsidy.
To qualify for a disability pension payable under the National Pensions Act, you must meet the following conditions:
- Your other pensions and benefits may not exceed a specified maximum limit.
- You must have lived in Finland for at least the minimum period specified in the Act (three years after reaching the age of 16 years). However, there is no residence period requirement if you became incapacitated for work while you were 18 years old or younger and living in Finland or if, on reaching the age of 16 years, you were being paid disability allowance for persons under the age of 16 years.
- You are between 16 and 64 years of age.
- You have an illness or disability that prevents you from earning a reasonable living. See working while receiving a pension.
As an exception to the last point, applicants who are blind or immobile are entitled to a disability pension payable under the National Pensions Act even if they are capable of work.
If you have reached the age of 60 years, the criteria used to evaluate your entitlement to a disability pension are somewhat milder than if you were younger. Also, special emphasis is placed on the occupational factors associated with your disability.
Sickness allowance prior to a pension
If you are absent from work on account of illness and have received sickness allowance for 150 working days, Kela will send information to your home address about the availability of rehabilitation and the process of applying for a pension.
Sickness allowance is payable for a maximum of 300 days. However, it is only paid until the end of the calendar month preceding that in which the 300-day limit is reached. Payment of a disability pension, if granted by Kela, can start at the beginning of the following month at the earliest. However, not all claimants are entitled to a sickness allowance, or its amount may be small as not to be paid out at all. This notwithstanding, they will usually not be able to begin drawing a disability pension until a period equal to the maximum duration of the sickness allowance (300 working days) has passed. However, if they are awarded a disability pension under the legislation on earnings-related pensions, payment of the national pension can begin at the same time.
Persons who are aged 63 years or over can start to draw disability pension from the beginning of the month following the onset of disability if they have previously or simultaneously been granted an old-age pension payable under the legislation on earnings-related pensions.
Last modified 13/01/2015