What should I do if my work ability has weakened?

Are you thinking about the possibility of, for example, vocational rehabilitation or disability pension and would like to talk to an expert about your situation? Have you already received your decision?

We are happy to help

Do you have any questions related to vocational rehabilitation or disability pension?

You can reach our experts over the phone at 010 192 100
from Monday to Friday, 9:00–15:00.

You can also send a message to our specialist on our online service.

If you have received a rehabilitation decision, our rehabilitation specialist’s contact details can be found in your decision.

The processing stage of the pension and rehabilitation application can be checked on our online service.

Log in to Varma Online Service

General questions

After your paid sick leave is over, you can apply to Kela for sickness allowance. Discuss your situation with your occupational health care and your employer, and what options you have for returning to work. If you are not in working life, discuss the matter with your attending physician. If you are returning to work, partial sickness allowance from Kela may well be a suitable option. Alternatively, you can apply to Varma for vocational rehabilitation.

If your illness continues for a long time and your sick leave exceeds a consecutive one-year period, you can apply for cash rehabilitation benefit or disability pension.

When you fill in the application in our customer service, you can attach to it the medical statement B written by your physician as well as other documents. You can also submit attachments later on our online service ‘Messages and documents’ page. You can also send the attachments by secured email or by post.

You can see how the processing of your application is progressing in our online service, under Pension applications - Follow progress of the processing or Rehabilitation - Check the status of processing. Your filled in application is also available on our online service, under Messages and documents.

The average vocational rehabilitation application processing time is approximately three weeks.

The average disability pension application processing time is approximately four weeks. Please note that it may take longer than usual to process your application if we have to wait for additional information that is required to make a decision.

If you are granted vocational rehabilitation, ask for a tax card for social security benefits, if you are receiving the rehabilitation allowance or rehabilitation assistance. Without a tax card, 20–50 per cent tax will be withheld on the rehabilitation allowance and rehabilitation assistance, depending on the amount of the benefit.

Order a tax card for your pension from the Tax Administration, if you receive disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit or rehabilitation increase alongside it. If you receive rehabilitation increase, ask the tax authority to indicate in the tax card that it also applies to the rehabilitation increase.

Without the tax card we will withhold 40 per cent tax on your pension, cash rehabilitation benefit or rehabilitation increase. We will refund any excess tax withheld from you once we receive your tax card.

Vocational rehabilitation: Read more about taxation

Disability pension: Read more about taxation

Yes, you can work and earn income during a full or partial disability pension and while receiving a full or partial cash rehabilitation allowance, as long as your earnings do not exceed the earnings limit specified in the decision you received.

Read more about working while on disability pension.

You can also work during vocational rehabilitation, according to your earnings limit.

Read more about working during vocational rehabilitation.

Follow the instructions given in the attachment to your decision. You can submit an appeal on our online service under Pension applications - Notifications - Appeals (appealing against a decision) or Rehabilitation - Appeal (appealing against a decision). You can also send us an appeal as a free-form letter.

Questions about disability pension

You can start a work trial or rehabilitation programme even if you receive cash rehabilitation benefit. We will pay a 33 per cent rehabilitation increase on top of the cash rehabilitation benefit. Contact Varma when you are planning on returning to work through vocational rehabilitation.

When assessing your right to disability pension, we have to apply the law and not just medical expertise. It comes down to the grounds set forth in Finnish legislation for granting disability pension.
Both the treating physician and insurance physician are specialists, but in different fields. The treating physician is familiar with the patient’s state of health and the insurance physician knows the applicable legislation. It is the job of the treating physician to describe the state of health of the patient and to assess the remaining work ability. It is the insurance physician’s task to apply established decision practice and case law when assessing the right to disability pension.

If your accrued earnings-related pension amounts to less than EUR 1,300 per month, it is a good idea for you to apply for disability pension or cash rehabilitation benefit also from Kela. Kela’s disability pension is called national pension. You can apply for both earnings-related pension and national pension using the disability pension application available on our online service. If you apply for national pension, we will send your application to Kela on your behalf. Please note that you cannot apply for partial disability pension from Kela.

Questions about vocational rehabilitation

If you did not submit a plan on returning to work along with your rehabilitation application, be sure to submit one while your preliminary decision is still valid (approx. 10 months).

In your rehabilitation plan, describe the measures that would help you find work that is better suited to your current work ability, either at your own workplace or in a new profession.

Read more about vocational rehabilitation plan.

We can pay a rehabilitation benefit when your rehabilitation programme has started.

Once a planned work trial or job coaching has been approved by Varma, we will send your employer’s contact person instructions by email concerning the work trial and job coaching. The message contains a link to the contract, which we recommend that you fill in and sign together. You do not need to return the contract to Varma.

  • You do not need to notify Varma of a brief period, i.e. a few days, of sick leave. If your sick leave lasts longer than a week or if your work trial or job coaching is interrupted for some other reason, please contact Varma’s rehabilitation specialist. Send your sick leave certificate or medical statement to Varma.
  • If you are attending Kela’s rehabilitation course during your work trial or job coaching, discuss it with Varma’s rehabilitation specialist before the work trial or job coaching starts.
  • We do not recommend taking a holiday during your work trial or job coaching, as the purpose is to determine how you cope at work. We recommend postponing any holidays until after the work trial. If you must take a holiday during your work trial, Varma must be notified of the dates of your holiday already before the work trial begins. Rehabilitation benefits are not paid during holidays.

A work trial can be extended on reasonable grounds from one to three months. Send Varma a memo on your occupational health negotiation or a statement from your doctor describing how your work trial is going and what your follow-up plan is.

  • After you have received an admission letter from the educational institution: Send the letter to Varma via the online service: Messages and documents
  • When you begin studying: File a notification of starting studies immediately when your studies begin: Vocational rehabilitation - Apply for compensation for rehabilitation costs - Go to the notification of studies

If your daily school commute is at least 10 kilometres one way, create a commuting invoice on the online service once a month retroactively: Vocational rehabilitation - Apply for compensation for rehabilitation costs - Go to the commuting invoice

File a notification of starting studies immediately when your studies begin: Vocational rehabilitation - Apply for compensation for rehabilitation costs - Go to the notification of studies. We will pay you compensation for study-related expenses based on your notification of studies. If your journey from your home to the place of study is more than 10 kilometres, write up a commuting invoice monthly after the fact: Vocational rehabilitation - Apply for compensation for rehabilitation costs - Go to the commuting invoice.

If, according to your original rehabilitation plan, you were supposed to graduate in spring, but you have to continue your studies into the summer, you must present us with a written study plan from your school (classes to be completed, time frame, number of credits to be completed, estimated graduation date), as well as a transcript of already completed studies. We will decide separately whether we can support your continuation plan.

When you graduate and your studies end, Varma’s rehabilitation will end, and it will be time for you to begin applying for work. If you graduate early or your studies are interrupted, be sure to notify Varma so that we can review your entitlement to rehabilitation allowance and you can avoid recovery payments.