Sickness and incapacity for work

If you fall ill and cannot study, you can take a sick leave. During the leave you can be paid a sickness allowance.

If you attend an upper secondary level educational institution and have to interrupt your studies, tell Kela about it. If you are in higher education and are not making progress with your studies, you should consider whether to continue using your financial aid entitlement.

If you take out financial aid and do not make satisfactory academic progress, you may have to provide Kela a statement about your progress. For that, you will need a medical certificate. A medical certificate or equivalent may be needed also if you use up all of your financial aid entitlement and have to apply for an extension.

Taking a sick leave may increase the maximum time you can take to complete a degree and qualify for a student loan compensation or tax deduction. However, this requires that you have been paid sickness allowance, infectious disease allowance or a rehabilitation subsidy, pension or compensation on account of full incapacity for work.

Financial aid and sickness allowance are not available at the same time

You cannot get student financial aid and sickness allowance at the same time. You can claim sickness allowance and continue to receive financial aid until Kela has granted you the sickness allowance. Kela will stop paying you financial aid automatically.

If you are paid sickness allowance for at least 18 days during the first month of payment, Kela will stop your financial aid from the beginning of the month and collect any overpaid financial aid from you. If you are paid sickness allowance for less than 18 days during the first month of payment, Kela will stop your financial aid from the beginning of the following month. If you are paid sickness allowance, Kela deducts any payments of study grant you receive for the same period of time from your sickness allowance.

Payment of the sickness allowance to your employer does not prevent you from getting financial aid for students.

When you are ready to resume full-time study, tell Kela about it. If your financial aid was terminated, you must file a new application.

Example

You are medically unfit for work and your period of incapacity begins on 2 November. Claim sickness allowance from the beginning of the period of incapacity. Kela grants you a sickness allowance starting from 15 November, that is after you have completed a waiting period. You are paid both financial aid and a sickness allowance during November. Kela deducts the study grant payments you received from your sickness allowance entitlement for the same period of time. Kela stops your financial aid with effect from 1 December because December is the first month in which you are paid sickness allowance for at least 18 calendar days.

When payment of the sickness allowance ends and you are ready to study full-time, apply for financial aid.

Studying during a sick leave

If you are paid a sickness allowance, you can study a little while receiving the allowance. You can take on about 40% of the normal full-time study load. The maximum amounts you can study while on sick leave are as follows (the examples are not definitive and are provided as a guide only):

  • Higher education: 24 credits per academic year, 12 credits per term or 3 credits per month.
  • Vocational study: 24 credit points / 16 credit units per year, 12 credit points / 8 credit units per term or 3 credit points / 2 credit units per month. If the course of study is not calculated in credit points or credits, you can attend up to 10 hours of instruction per week.
  • Upper secondary schools: 10 courses / 20 credits per academic year, 5 courses / 10 credits per term or 1 course / 2 credits per month, or 1 matriculation test per term.

When you are ready to study full-time again, please tell Kela about it.

Amount of the sickness allowance

The amount of sickness allowance payable to students is based either on earnings or study grant income. If your sickness allowance would be less than the minimum rate of €29.05, you are paid the allowance at the minimum rate. You can estimate the amount of sickness allowance you can get with this calculator (in Finnish).

Before receiving sickness allowance, you must complete a waiting period. As a rule, the waiting period is the first day of illness plus the following nine working days.

Sickness allowance is paid for working days. Working days are the days from Monday to Saturday, not including mid-week holidays.

Additional information