Disability benefits

In all the Nordic countries, people with a reduced working capacity due to physical and/or mental disability may be entitled to a disability benefit. The name differs between the countries, from disability pension in Finland to sickness and activity benefit in Sweden.


In Denmark disability pension (Førtidspension) can be granted to a person that is aged between 40 and pensionable age whose capacity for work is permanently reduced to an extent that the person cannot assure his/her subsistence.

People under 40 are not awarded a disability pension. Instead, they are included in holistically oriented activities intended to develop their working capacity and help them live independently. In cases where it is evident that the individual in question cannot return to work, the local authorities may still award a disability pension. This applies to those whose condition is so severe that it would be pointless to try to develop their working capacity.

Faroe Islands

The disability pension (Fyritíðarpensjón) is divided into three different levels according to the pensioner’s ability to work. Highest level is awarded pensioners with no workability. The pension consists of a basic amount, a supplement, and a disability benefit. The disability pension is adjusted in relation to pensioner’s own income from work and pension funds. Disability pension are taxable in the same way as other income however the disability benefit is tax-free. Furthermore, disability pensioners are subject to tax-reduction.


The disability pension (Työkyvyttömyyseläke) in earning-related pension system consists of the pension accrued during the work history and a projected pension component that is calculated from the beginning of the year of the pension contingency to the age group’s retirement age.  As a rule, the projected pension component is determined based the average earnings for five years before disability pension. Disability pension grated to a person for a limited period is called rehabilitation benefit. Disability pension may be granted in full or partial depending on the remaining working capacity.

If a person has no working history or it is short, he receives disability pension from the national pension system. 


The disability pension (örorkulífeyrir and tekjutrygging) consists of a basic amount and an age-dependent benefit addition. The age-dependent benefit is an addition to the disability benefit and is gradually reduced the older the pensioners are when they are granted disability benefit. Those aged 24 or younger when they are granted a disability pension receive 100 per cent of the amount of the basic pension, and those who are aged 61 to 66 when they are granted disability benefit receive 2.5 per cent of the amount of basic pension.  Disability pensioners who live alone in a flat may also be granted special benefit called “heimilisuppbót”. A special benefit can be made available to those with little or none other income.


Disability benefit (Uføretrygd) can be granted to persons whose income capacity is permanently reduced by at least 50 per cent due to permanent illness, injury or deformity. The medical condition must be the main cause of the incapacity or reduction of the income capacity. For persons receiving Work Assessment Allowance when the claim for disability benefit is made, it is sufficient that the income capacity is permanently reduced by 40 per cent. If due to a work-related injury or sickness, it is sufficient that the income capacity is permanently reduced by 30 per cent. The disability benefit is calculated based on the average pensionable income of the best three of the previous five years before the onset of disability. Income exceeding 6 times the basic amount (Grunnbeløpet) is not considered. The disability benefit rate per year is 66 per cent of the calculation basis. Persons with low or no previous income are given a yearly minimum.

The recipient of a full disability benefit may have an annual income from work of up to 40 per cent of the basic amount without any reduction of the benefit. A recipient of a graded disability benefit may have an income from work up to 40 per cent of the basic amount in addition to the income corresponding to her/his remaining capacity, without any reduction of the benefit. With higher income, the benefit will be reduced by a portion of the exceeding income. The degree of disability is not recalculated. Disability benefit is subject to taxation.


The sickness and activity benefit (Sjukersättning and Aktivitetsersättning) is part of the sickness insurance scheme in Sweden. People aged 30 to 64 may receive the sickness benefit if their working capacity is reduced. People aged 19 to 29 may be awarded an allowance due to a reduced activity level. This benefit is always limited to between one and three years. The employment pension is calculated based upon previous income from work.