Rehabilitation benefits

All the Nordic countries have for several years focused on rehabilitation of people with disabilities. In all countries there are various schemes with this purpose in mind. In addition, special support may be granted in connection with acquiring tools, etc., and setting up a business.

Rehabilitation in the Nordic countries

All the Nordic countries have for many years established and developed policies and implemented schemes with the purpose of helping people with disabilities to manage on their own and support their families.

People in need of rehabilitation due to physical, mental, or social disability may be granted support for education, retraining and reschooling where this is deemed necessary. Education may consist of training schemes in the open labour market. Special expenses incurred in connection with education or training may be covered. Other forms of support may include wages/salaries or wage/salary supplements.

Because of extensive development of policies on rehabilitation and similar schemes and because of considerable differences in the means and methods of re-establishing workability among people with disabilities, it is difficult to compare activities in detail across the Nordic countries.

However, statistics on the number of individuals receiving rehabilitation benefits are comparable and therefore presented on this page.

Denmark

Support takes the form of a fixed rehabilitation allowance corresponding to the maximum amount of the daily cash benefits. Payment of the rehabilitation allowance is subject to rehabilitation being initiated according to a fixed occupational plan. The allowance is payable until the occupational plan has been implemented (usually a maximum of five years). For young people under the age of 25, the rehabilitation allowance equals half the maximum amount.

Faroe Islands

The Act on Labour-Promoting Measures, which entered into force in 2013, deals with rehabilitation and work training, among other things. According to the Act, the allowance payable in connection with these measures depends on the recipient’s age and maintenance obligations.

Finland

The Social Insurance Institution arranges rehabilitation and pays rehabilitation benefits that equal the amount of the sickness benefits. Occupational rehabilitation is arranged by statutory earning-related pension companies. The amount of daily cash benefits usually corresponds to the amount that would have been payable in the same period.

Iceland

The social insurance scheme pays a rehabilitation allowance when an injured person is no longer entitled to sickness or industrial-injury benefits. As a rule, the allowance can be determined for periods of max. 18 months at a time, and 36 months in total. The allowance equals the disability pension and is awarded according to the same criteria. During the period in which the rehabilitation allowance is paid, a rehabilitation plan must be followed.

Norway

To qualify for the Work Assessment Allowance, recipients must be in need of treatment, a work-oriented measure, or engaged in a similar effort aimed at finding or keeping a job.

The benefit is awarded to those whose working capacity has been reduced by at least 50 per cent. It may be awarded for up to three years but can be extended under certain circumstances. It is calculated based on any pensionable income earned in the previous year, or as an average of the last three years prior to the reduction of working capacity. Income exceeding 6 times the basic amount (grunnbeløpet) is not considered. The benefit amounts to 66 per cent of the calculation basis. Persons with low or no previous income are given a yearly minimum.

Sweden

Some compensations and benefits are payable in connection with rehabilitation. For example, a rehabilitation allowance and special allowances may be awarded instead of sickness benefits. The rehabilitation allowance is awarded to those who participate in occupational rehabilitation, while the special allowances cover expenses incurred in connection with the rehabilitation e.g., travel. Occupational rehabilitation measures may include work training, evaluation at a labour-market institute and education/training.

Compensation for industrial injuries

In all the Nordic countries, people who have experienced industrial injuries are entitled to either sickness benefits or equivalent benefits in the event of a temporary loss of work-ability. In the event of long-term or permanent loss of workability, a disability pension or similar benefit is payable.

An industrial injury is defined as an accident at work or a work-related absence due to sickness resulting in temporary or permanent loss of the ability to work.

In all the Nordic countries, compulsory industrial injury insurance schemes have been established, but are subject to different rules. The industrial injury insurance fund pays compensation for permanent injuries and loss of workability, in the form of either monthly payments or a non-recurrent payment. The industrial injury insurance fund also typically covers expenses for treatment that are not covered by the general sickness insurance scheme.

Denmark

Compensation is granted if an industrial injury reduces workability by at least 15 per cent. In addition, a non-recurrent payment is payable if the permanent injury results in a loss of workability of 5 per cent or more. Compensation for loss of workability can also take the form of a non-recurrent payment if the loss of workability is less than 50 per cent. If the loss of workability is 50 per cent or more, compensation is paid as a current benefit monthly.

Faroe Islands

Daily cash benefits will be granted if the injury results in a loss of workability, and amount to a maximum of 80 per cent of annual earnings. Compensation for people with disabilities may also be granted where the industrial injury reduces workability by 5 per cent or more.

Finland

A pension is payable where workability has been reduced by at least 10 per cent. For individuals who are completely incapable of working, the pension payable amounts to 85 per cent of previous income from work. An employee with a partial loss of workability is entitled to part of the full pension amount, corresponding to the reduction of the ability for work. The compensation level for pensions due to work-related accidents falls to 70 per cent of income from work when the recipient turns 65. Similarly, pensions payable for partial loss of workability due to work-related accidents are also reduced when the recipient turns 65.

Iceland

The most important benefit for injured people is the entitlement to wages/salaries during sickness absence (absence due to an accident). However, for those who are not entitled to wages/salaries, or when the period during which they are entitled to a wage/salary expires, daily cash benefits may be drawn from the general industrial injury insurance fund. This benefit is a fixed amount, independent of wages/salary earned prior to the accident, and usually payable for a maximum of 52 weeks. If workability is reduced by 10–49 per cent, a disability pension is payable in the form of a non-recurring amount. However, for a reduction of workability of 50 per cent or more, a disability pension is payable according to the general rules.

Norway

A disability pension may be awarded if an industrial injury or a work-related accident reduces workability by 30 per cent. In other circumstances, the requirement for awarding a disability pension is a reduction in workability of 50 per cent. Compensation for an individual with disability is awarded if the loss of workability is 15 per cent or more.

Sweden

If an employee’s ability for work is permanently reduced by at least 6.6 per cent, compensation takes the form of annual payments. The annuity is normally calculated based on the same income that entitles the insured person to sickness benefits. The annuity is calculated by comparing the income that the individual would have earned had s/he not been injured, with the estimated income after the injury. The annuity constitutes the difference between these two incomes, but never exceeds 7.5 price basic amounts per year.