Disability pensions

The 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 aft er the cessati on 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.

Medical assessment for the purposes of social insurance benefits and other benefits paid by ZUS are realized by ZUS evaluating doctor and ZUS medical commissions.

ZUS evaluating doctor and medical commission evaluates the incapacity for work, its degree and gives his or her certificate in this regard. ZUS evaluating 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.

The person incapable of work is 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 commission against ZUS evaluating doctor decision up to 14 days from the day the decision was received. In turn the president of ZUS may submit an application raising objections as to the correctness of the judgement sending the matter for examination by the ZUS medical comission within 14 days from the issuing of the decision by ZUS evaluating doctor.

The following constitute the basis for a pension body decision on a disability pension:

  • ZUS-certified doctor decision which has not been opposed or claimed to be invalid,
  • ZUS medical commission decision.

The 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.

The disability pension in respect of a complete incapacity for work amounts to (a calculation basis):
24% of the base sum,
+ 1.3% of the calculation basis for each contributory year,
+ 0.7% of the calculati on basis for each non-contributory year1
+ 0.7% of the calculation 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 60 years –
the statutory retirement age determined for women.

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 disability 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 disability pension who has been recognised as completely incapable of work and of an independent existence is awarded a nursing supplement.
The amount of the disability 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 calculation basis – for a person partly incapable of work,
  • 80% of the calculation basis – for a person completely incapable of work,
  • 100% of the calculation basis – for a person entitled for a training pension.

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

The structure of disability pensions in December 2016 on the basis of the degree of disability

Work disability pensions in general
including those of: 
100.0%
Complete inability to undertake employment and an independent existence 9.4%
Total incapacity for work 25.4%
Parti al incapacity for work 65.2%

In 2016 disability pensions were paid on average to 883.6 thousand persons, the average monthly amount of the pension was PLN 1571.51, and 48.1 thousand new pensions were granted.

A monthly average of 180.6 thousand pensions in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases were received in 2016, of an average amount of PLN 2,852.14. They accounted for 20.1% of the total number of disability pensions.


(Note: 1 EUR = ca 4.26 PLN)