Disability pensions

A disability pension is granted to an insured person who meets all of the following conditions:

  • is incapable of work,
  • has completed the required contributory and non-contributory period: at least 5-years of contributory and non-contributory periods during the last decade before claiming the pension or before the occurrence of the incapacity for work; in the event of the incapacity for work occurring at an age lower than 30 years, the required contributory and non-contributory periods are respectively shorter – from 1 to 4 years, however, if the person has lost his or her earning capacity due to an accident on the way to or from work, s/he does not have to prove the required contributory and non-contributory period),
  • the incapacity for work must have occurred during contributory and non-contributory periods, but not later than within 18 months after the cessation of these periods; this requirement does not relate to a person insured who has proved the contributory and non-contributory period of at least 20 years for women and 25 years for men and is completely incapable of work.

Insured persons who have proved a contributory and non-contributory period of at least 25 years in the case of women and 30 years in the case of men and have been recognised as completely incapable of work, do not need to document at least a 5-year period of insurance during the last 10-year period before the claim is filed or before the incapacity occurred.

A ZUS doctor evaluates the incapacity for work, its degree and gives his or her certificate in this regard. A ZUS doctor also establishes:

  • the date of disability occurrence,
  • the permanency or expected duration of the incapacity for work,
  • the causality of the incapacity for work or death with certain circumstances,
  • the inability to an independent existence,
  • the suitability of vocational retraining.

A person incapable of work means a person who has lost, completely or partly, their earning capacity due to a disturbance of body fitness, and for whom retraining does not promise the restoration of his or her earning capacity.
Completely incapable of work is a person who has lost their capability for any work.
Partly incapable of work is a person who has lost – to a considerable degree – their capability for work corresponding to their qualifications.
Incapacity for work is certified for a period of up to 5 years or longer – if there is no prognosis as to the restoration of earning capacity before the lapse of the 5 years. During a period of certified incapacity for work (indicated in the ZUS decision), the pension is payable.
The person concerned may appeal to a ZUS medical board against the ZUS doctor’s decision within 14 days of the decision being delivered. The president of ZUS may consider the certificate invalid and refer the case to a ZUS medical board within 14 days after the ZUS doctor issued the certificate.
The following constitute the basis for a pension body decision on a disability pension:

  • an evaluating ZUS doctor’s decision which has not been opposed or claimed to be invalid,
  • a medical board decision.

A disability pension in respect of an accident at work or occupational disease is awarded irrespective of the duration of the accident insurance period and irrespective of the date of the occurrence of the incapacity for work as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease.

A pension in respect of a complete incapacity for work amounts to:
24% of the base amount,
+ 1.3% of the assessment basis for each contributory year,
+ 0.7% of the assessment basis for each non-contributory year1
+ 0.7% of the assessment basis for each year short of the full 25 years of contributory and non-contributory
             periods, from the day of claiming the benefit to the day when the pensioner would have reached the
             statutory retirement age determined for women, ultimately 67 years.

1 Non-contributory periods are taken into account at a rate not exceeding 1/3 of the proved contributory periods.

An accident at work means a sudden occurrence associated with work, arising out of an external cause and resulting in injury or death.
An occupational disease means a disease specified in a list of occupational diseases, which is caused by harmful agents in the working environment or by the manner in which the work is performed.
The pension for a person who is partly incapable of work is payable at a rate of 75% of the pension for a person completely incapable of work.
A person entitled to the pension who has been recognised as completely incapable of work and of an independent existence is awarded a nursing supplement.
The amount of the pension in respect of an accident at work or occupational disease is calculated in the same way as the disability pension, and it may not be lower than:

  • 60% of the pension assessment basis – for a person partly incapable of work,
  • 80% of the pension assessment basis – for a person completely incapable of work,
  • 100% of the pension assessment basis – for a person eligible for a training pension.

The assessment basis of the pension in respect of an accident at work or occupational disease may be calculated based on the basis of an assessment index higher than 250%. When the calculation was made using an assessment index higher than 250% of the basis for pension assessment, the above mentioned guarantees do not apply.

The structure of work disability pensions in December 2014 on the basis of the degree of work disability

Work disability pensions in general
including those of: 
100.0%
complete inability to undertake employment and an independent existence 9.4%
complete inability to undertake employment 26.0%
partial inability to work  64.6%

In 2014 disability pensions were paid on average to 993.5 thousand persons, and the average monthly amount of the pension was 1,479.74 PLN. 51.5 thousand new pensions were granted in 2014.
A monthly average of 192.2 thousand pensions in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases were received in 2014, of an average amount of PLN 2,750.52. They accounted for 19.3% of the total number of disability pensions.


(Note: 1 EUR = ca 4.32 PLN)