What are disability benefits?
Disability benefits are intended to support a person with a disability in strengthening their autonomy and improving their quality of life. Those who are seriously ill or have disabilities may also qualify for rehabilitation and medical aids. Those under 16 years of age and those who have turned 16 have their own disability allowances.
There are three different kinds of disability allowance:
- Disability Allowance for persons under 16 years of age (alle 16-vuotiaan vammaistuki)
The allowance is intended for children who have a long term illness or disability.
- Disability Allowance for persons aged 16 years or over (16 vuotta täyttäneen vammaistuki)
The allowance is intended for persons aged 16 years or over who have a disability or long-term illness.
- Care Allowance for Pensioners (eläkettä saavan hoitotuki)
The allowance is intended for pensioners who have a disability or long-term illness.
When can I claim disability benefits?
Disability Allowance for persons under 16 years of age is intended for children who have a long term illness or disability. A diagnosis of an illness or the severity of a disability does not determine whether or not a child can be paid disability allowance. The allowance can be paid if an illness or injury creates a need for care and rehabilitation and imposes particular strain and requires a greater commitment than the care of non-disabled children of the same age The strain and commitment must last at least six months.
Disability Allowance for persons aged 16 years or over is intended for persons aged 16 years or over who have a disability or long-term illness. The person's functional capacity must be reduced for a period of at least one year, and the illness, injury or disability must cause hardship, create the need for assistance, guidance or supervision, or generate special costs.
Care Allowance for Pensioners is intended for pensioners who have a disability or long-term illness. The allowance can be claimed if the applicant's functional capacity is reduced for a period of at least one year, and the illness, injury or disability causes hardship, need of assistance, need of guidance or supervision, or special costs.
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?
Children's and adults' disability allowance, and care allowance for pensioners are payable at three rates: basic rate, middle rate and highest rate.
Disability benefit amounts are not means-tested. Disability benefits are not taxable.
Disability benefits can be claimed using a form approved by Kela. A doctor's statement which should be no older than six months should be enclosed with the application. Benefits cannot be backdated by more than six months without a special reason.
Functional capacity: functional capacity is regarded as being reduced when an illness, injury or disability impairs a person's ability to look after themselves, cope with necessary household tasks, or cope with work or study tasks.
Special expenses: special expenses refer to necessary and additional costs incurred on account of an illness, injury or disability, and which the person is responsible for paying. Usually, only regular expenses lasting at least six months are covered. Special expenses are, for example: the costs of medical care and medication, additional transportation costs and the costs of home health care or home help. Special expenses do not include for example: expenditure for food or clothing, hobbies, purchases of equipment or car ownership costs.
Know your rights
More information about the rights guaranteed to you by law can be found via the links below. The websites are not maintained by the European Commission and they do not represent the Commission's views.
The Commission's publication and website: