Disability pension

Disability pension, whether permanent or for a fixed term, i.e. the cash rehabilitation benefit, secures your income during a long period of sickness when you are unable to return to working life, e.g. with the help of vocational rehabilitation.

Pension application is preceded by a period of sickness allowance

Your income during a prolonged illness usually consists of sickness allowance that is applied for from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela). Kela can pay sickness allowance for a maximum of 300 days, i.e. for roughly one year.
During your sickness allowance period, it is possible that you have already discussed returning to work or the possibility of vocational rehabilitation with your physician. If you intend to return to work during or immediately after your sickness allowance period, apply for vocational rehabilitation through our online services. During your vocational rehabilitation, such as a work trial or studies, we will pay you rehabilitation allowance.

 

Cash rehabilitation benefit and disability pension after a period of sickness allowance

If the disability caused by your illness continues even after your right to sickness allowance ends and returning to work is not possible even with vocational rehabilitation, you can apply for

  • fixed-term disability pension, i.e. the cash rehabilitation benefit

or

  • disability pension until further notice.

We grant fixed-term disability pension, i.e. the cash rehabilitation benefit if, in our assessment, you are unable to work but your work ability could be restored with the help of treatment or rehabilitation. The cash rehabilitation benefit may last from one month to several years, and it can also be granted for several consecutive periods.

We grant permanent disability pension if, in our assessment, you are unable to work and your work ability is not expected to be restored.
The cash rehabilitation benefit or disability pension usually begins once your entitlement to daily sickness allowance ends. Besides assessing the disability, we also estimate how long it will last. The cash rehabilitation benefit or disability pension can be granted only after your disability lasts for at least one consecutive year.

Once you reach your minimum retirement age, which is based on your year of birth, your disability pension automatically changes to the same amount of old-age pension. You do not, therefore, need to separately apply for old-age pension.

If you have been working while on disability pension, you can apply for the new pension that has accrued on that work in an old-age pension application once you have reached your minimum retirement age.

Partial disability pension and the partial cash rehabilitation benefit as support for working part time

If you are able to work part time despite your illness, you can apply for a preliminary decision on partial disability pension or the partial cash rehabilitation benefit. You can apply for these while still working full time, i.e. without having first been on sick leave.

You can apply for

  • fixed-term partial disability pension, i.e. the partial cash rehabilitation benefit

or

  • partial disability pension until further notice.

Partial disability pension or the partial cash rehabilitation benefit may also be a good idea after a work trial that was implemented as part of vocational rehabilitation if your work ability is still not sufficient to work full time. The partial cash rehabilitation benefit or partial disability pension can be granted if your disability lasts for at least one consecutive year.

You are not required to be gainfully employed while collecting partial disability pension, which means you can receive the pension even if you are not working. Partial disability pension is not paid as national pension.

Once you reach your minimum retirement age, which is based on your year of birth, your disability pension automatically changes to old-age pension and the amount of your pension doubles. If you have been working while on partial disability pension, you can apply for the new pension that has accrued on that work in an old-age pension application once you have reached your minimum retirement age.

Amount of disability pension

The amount of the cash rehabilitation benefit and disability pension is the same. The amount of the partial disability pension and partial cash rehabilitation benefit is half of the full disability pension. In addition to your earnings-related pension, you may also receive national pension if your earnings-related pension is small. You can calculate an estimate of the amount of your pension in our online services.

Disability pension consists of the pension that has accrued up until the start of the disability and often of the so-called projected pension period. Projected pension period means the time between the start of your disability and the minimum retirement age for your age cohort. The pension accrual for this projected period is calculated and added to your already accrued pension.

If you were granted disability pension before the age of 50, your disability pension will be credited with a lump-sum increase five years after the pension started. The amount of the increase depends on your age.

How to apply

It is a good idea to apply for disability pension roughly two to three months before your entitlement to sickness allowance ends. Fill in the application only after you have received a medical statement in which your physician recommends the cash rehabilitation benefit or disability pension for you as a continuation of your sickness allowance.

Using the same application form you can apply for disability pension, the fixed-term cash rehabilitation benefit, partial disability pension or the fixed-term partial cash rehabilitation benefit. If the amount of earnings-related pension you have accrued is small, you can also apply for disability pension in the form of national pension from Kela using the same application form. In this case, we will send your application to Kela.

If you have lived or worked abroad, you can also apply for your foreign pension with your disability pension application. In our online service, under ‘Residence and employment abroad (Appendix U)’, you must provide details about your time spent abroad, such as information about your employer and dates when you worked and lived abroad.

Attach a current medical statement B to your application

For your disability pension application we require a current (less than six months old) medical statement B in which a physician makes a statement concerning your work ability and functional capacity. If you like, you can also send us your other medical reports, such as patient accounts or rehabilitation feedback on completed rehabilitation periods.

Fill in the application form and send attachments to Varma

Fill in the disability pension application and send the related attachments in Varma online service.

Log in to Varma Online Service

You can also send the disability pension application and attachments to Varma via secured email:

  1. In the “Sender” field, enter your email address and in the ”Recipient” field, enter email address skannaus(at)varma.fi
  2. Click continue and enter the subject and your message, attach any required file and send your message.

Send the disability pension application and related attachments primarily through our online services or via secured mail.

You can also send the application form and attachments by post, if necessary, to: Työeläkeyhtiö Varma, PL 3, FI-00098 VARMA

You can print out the disability pension application (Application for disability pension) through the website työeläke.fi.

Print out the disability pension application through the website työeläke.fi

The processing of your application at Varma

A disability pension application is processed in an average of five weeks. Please note that it may take longer than usual to process the application if we have to wait for additional information that is required to make a decision.

You can see how the processing of your application is progressing in our online services.

Log in to Varma Online Service

At Varma, your application is processed by a specialist physician and a pension adjudication specialist. The assessment of your disability is based on the employees’ pension acts, according to which we assess your work ability and functional capacity for any work that is suitable for you. It is only once you turn 60 that the assessment of work ability is less stringent, meaning we assess your work ability only in relation to your current work and its demands.

Besides assessing the disability, we also estimate how long it will last. The cash rehabilitation benefit or disability pension can be granted if your disability lasts for at least one consecutive year.

You will receive a decision from us once your application has been processed. If you chose electronic service in our online services, you will receive a text message when the decision is ready in our online services. If you have not opted for electronic service, the decision will be mailed to your home.

Situations related to applying for disability pension

If your sickness allowance ends before you have received a decision from Varma, register as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE Office, even if your employment relationship is still valid and you are still on sick leave. Remember to register on time, as your period as a jobseeker is not valid retroactively. After you register, you can apply for earnings-based daily allowance from your unemployment fund or unemployment security from Kela to secure your income.

If we have granted you disability pension in the form of a fixed-term cash rehabilitation benefit and you have not regained your work ability during that fixed-term period, you can send us a new, current medical statement B. You do not need to send us a new application. Send us the new medical statement at least one month before your cash rehabilitation benefit ends.

  • You received a preliminary decision on your entitlement to partial disability pension or partial cash rehabilitation benefit if we determined that there has been enough of a reduction in your work ability. The preliminary decision states the amount of your pension and your earnings limit, meaning how much you are allowed to earn alongside your pension. Once you receive the decision, you have 10 months to agree on part-time work with your employer.
  •  Agree on part-time working hours with your employer. It is important that your salary for part-time work does not exceed the monthly earnings limit stated in your preliminary decision. It must be taken into account in your salary that holiday pay and several other bonuses paid during the year are considered earnings. However, per-kilometre allowances and daily commuting allowances are not considered salary-type compensation. You are obligated to make sure that the permitted earnings limit is not exceeded.
  • When setting your working hours and work tasks such that your earnings limit is not exceeded, fill in the notification of switching to partial disability pension in our eServices in the section ‘Applications and notifications’ or send your completed notification to us by post. Pension can begin once we know, based on the pension notification we receive, that your part-time earnings do not exceed your earnings limit stated in your preliminary decision.

 

If you have not yet started or applied for vocational rehabilitation, we will assess your rehabilitation opportunities in connection with your pension application. That is why you may receive a decision on your entitlement to vocational rehabilitation along with the decision concerning your pension, regardless of whether your pension is approved or rejected. You can find the contact details of the Varma rehabilitation specialist who has been appointed to you in the decision you receive.

  • It is possible that Kela has been paying you sickness allowance for a long time, having assessed you as unable to carry out your current work or similar work. When you apply for pension, the assessment of your disability is based on the employees’ pension acts, according to which we assess your work ability and functional capacity also for any other work that is suitable for you. For that reason, it is possible that we reject your application, even if you have been receiving sickness allowance for close to a year and your treating physician still assesses you as unable to work. It is only once you turn 60 that the assessment of work ability is less stringent, meaning we assess your work ability only in relation to your current work and its demands.
  • If your application is rejected and your sickness allowance has ended, register as an unemployed jobseeker with the TE Office, even if your employment relationship is still valid and you are still on sick leave. Remember to register on time, as your period as a jobseeker is not valid retroactively. After you register, you can apply for earnings-based daily allowance from your unemployment fund or unemployment security from Kela to secure your income.
  • You have the right to appeal a decision. Your decision will be accompanied by instructions for appeal, informing you of how you can appeal the decision you received.

Help with using our services

Take care of your disability pension matters online

In our online service, you can, for instance

  • apply for disability pension and send attachments
  • follow the processing of your application
  • check your earnings limit
  • send a message related to your disability pension matter

Take care of your matters online

Log in to Varma Online Service