Rehabilitation allowance and compensation

Your income during vocational rehabilitation is the rehabilitation allowance, which is the amount of your disability pension + 33%. If you receive the cash rehabilitation benefit (fixed-term disability pension) and are undergoing vocational rehabilitation at the same time, your benefit will be increased by 33%. You also accrue old-age pension during your period of rehabilitation.

You will receive a rehabilitation benefit when your rehabilitation programme has started

The commencement of your rehabilitation programme is a condition for being paid the rehabilitation allowance. During the planning of your vocational rehabilitation, your income is, depending on your situation, e.g. your salary, sickness allowance, unemployment benefits or the cash rehabilitation benefit. Remember to inform Kela or your unemployment fund of the start of any rehabilitation benefit in order to avoid any payment recovery later on.

Payment of a rehabilitation benefit

We will pay the rehabilitation allowance or a rehabilitation benefit to your account after

  • we have approved your proposed rehabilitation plan
  • the approved rehabilitation plan, e.g. work trial or education, has been started
  • you have received a separate decision from us on the payment of the rehabilitation allowance or the rehabilitation increase

The first payment of rehabilitation benefit can also be paid on a date other than the first day of the month if the rehabilitation programme begins mid-month. After that the rehabilitation benefit will be paid into your bank account on the first banking day of the month.

You can check the payment dates for rehabilitation benefits here

Sometimes, the employer with whom you are doing a work trial or job coaching will pay you a salary during your rehabilitation programme. In this case, the rehabilitation benefit will be paid to the employer. The salary that is paid corresponds to full-time work, even if you only work part time. Salary is also your source of income if you are doing an apprenticeship, in which case the employer will also claim the rehabilitation allowance from Varma.

You can work during your rehabilitation, taking your earnings limit into account. For employees with a secondary occupation, their salary is taken into account as income, and for entrepreneurs with a secondary occupation, their YEL or MYEL confirmed income is taken into account as income. Your work must not interfere with your rehabilitation programme. Make sure that your earnings remain within the permitted limits. Check your earnings limit in our online services.

Taxation of a rehabilitation benefit

Request a tax card from the tax authority as soon as you receive a positive decision on your rehabilitation benefit:

  • 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, depending on the amount of the benefit.
  • for pension, if you are receiving the cash rehabilitation benefit and the rehabilitation increase. In this case, ask the tax authority to indicate in the tax card that it also applies to the rehabilitation increase; this will avoid 40% tax being collected from the rehabilitation increase as per the Tax Administration’s guidelines.

Request a tax card for benefits on the website, by phone at 029 497 000 or from a tax office. The tax authority will send the tax card directly to us.

The tax card will be sent primarily electronically. It can also be sent to Varma via secured email or by post. The tax card cannot be sent through our online service.

If your rehabilitation allowance continues after the turn of the year and beyond January, ask the tax authority to send us a new tax card in the beginning of January.

Log in to MyTax

Compensation of rehabilitation costs

If you receive the rehabilitation allowance or rehabilitation increase from us, you may be entitled to compensation for your commuting and studying expenses. You can apply for compensation for commuting and housing expenses related to a work trial, coaching or studies or for visits to our rehabilitation partner in our online services. Write up a commuting invoice after every calendar month. The compensations will be deposited into your account within roughly two weeks of your application. Please note that compensation for rehabilitation expenses must be claimed within six months of when the expenses were incurred. You are not entitled to compensation for commuting expenses if your employer pays you the salary during your work trial, job coaching or practical training period. The amounts of compensation are based on the Finnish Pension Alliance TELA’s recommendations, which are updated annually.

Commuting invoices must always be drawn up the month after the month in which the expenses were incurred: for instance, draw up an invoice for your January commutes in February. You can apply for compensation for your commuting expenses if the commute from your place of residence to the place of your work trial or studies is at least 10 kilometres. You are not entitled to compensation for commuting expenses if your employer pays you the salary during your work trial, job coaching or practical training period. In the case of apprenticeships, commutes between the residence and school are always the responsibility of the apprenticeship office. We do not compensate any travel expenses for apprenticeships that have begun after 1 January 2024. For apprenticeships that have begun on 31 December 2023 or earlier, we will provide compensation for travel expenses between the residence and workplace. There is no kilometre limit for visits to a rehabilitation partner. The compensation for commuting expenses is €0.14 per kilometre, up to a maximum of €720 per month. 

For rehabilitants who are studying, we pay €300 per school term once we have received your notification of studies immediately when your studies commence, and thereafter in August/September and in January. You can use this payment to cover various studying expenses, such as purchasing a computer. Payment of the compensation is conditional upon your studies continuing for at least two months in one school term. In the case of a partial degree or qualification of less than one year, €300 will be paid as study compensation.

We may compensate your extra housing expenses if you must acquire a second residence during your period of rehabilitation due to a long commute (distance of at least 70 kilometres one way) and you incur housing costs from both your regular residence and your rehabilitation place of residence. The compensation for a period of active rehabilitation is €24 per day. We compensate minor expenses based on actual costs.For these exceptional housing expenses or accommodation expenses related to multiform studies, you must always agree in advance with Varma’s rehabilitation specialist.

Itemise your housing expenses in our online service, under Vocational rehabiltation > Apply for compensation for rehabilitation costs > Go to the commuting invoice. Also submit a copy of your rental agreement and rent receipts or other accommodation receipts via Messages and documents.

For a rehabilitant renting a second home, we additionally compensate a maximum of four commutes per calendar month to the person’s home municipality. The compensation is €0.14 per kilometre, up to a maximum of €360 per month.

Summertime income of rehabilitants who are studying

  • Rehabilitation allowance is paid without interruption during the summer if you will be continuing your studies the next term.
  • You are allowed to take four weeks of summer holiday. Beyond that, the time must be spent taking your studies forward or on the training to be carried out during your studies.
  • If your summer training is not mandatory training imposed by the educational institution, Varma must be notified of the workplace’s contact details and your training period. In this case, Varma will draw up a job coaching agreement for unpaid summer training and take out accident insurance covering that period.
  • Rehabilitants who are studying do not need to inform Varma of their summer plans, except in the case of unpaid summer training.
  • Make sure that you do not exceed your earnings limit during the summer either.

Rehabilitation assistance

Rehabilitation assistance can be granted for no more than 3 months if you have received a positive preliminary rehabilitation decision from us and you are not entitled to any other income. It can be granted for the rehabilitation programme’s qualifying period and periods in between rehabilitation courses.

You can apply for rehabilitation assistance, which is the same amount as your disability pension, by sending in an open application.

Gainful employment elsewhere during rehabilitation

You can work during your rehabilitation, as long as the work does not interfere with your rehabilitation. Make sure that your work earnings or your YEL or MYEL income remain within the permitted limits.

Your earnings limit is monitored during your rehabilitation programme

  • While you are in a rehabilitation programme, your work earnings are monitored against your personal earnings limit.
  • You can see what your personal earnings limit is in our online service.
  • If your work earnings remain below your earnings limit, you will be paid the full amount of rehabilitation allowance.
  • If your work earnings regularly exceed your earnings limit, your rehabilitation allowance must be changed to partial rehabilitation allowance. Partial rehabilitation allowance is half of the full rehabilitation allowance.
  • If your earnings level rises especially high, you should contact Varma to have your earnings limit reviewed.
  • While you are receiving the rehabilitation allowance, however, your work earnings can be up to €976,59 per month (at the 2024 level) without it affecting the amount of your rehabilitation allowance.
  • Varma sees the amount of your earnings at the monthly level in the Incomes Register. The employer submits your salary information to the Incomes Register every month.

Check your earnings limit in our online service.

Log in to Varma Online Service

Help with using our services

Take care of your rehabilitation matters online

In our online service, you can, for instance

  • apply for vocational rehabilitation and send attachments
  • draw up and send a rehabilitation plan
  • claim compensation for commuting expenses during a work trial or education period
  • fill in the notification of studies at the start of the school terms in August/September and in January
  • check your earnings limit
  • send a message to your rehabilitation specialist