Disability pension

The disability pension is granted to an insured person who:

  • is incapable of work,
  • has completed the required contributory and non-contributory period of at least 5-years during the last decade before claiming the pension or before the occurrence of the incapacity for work; if the incapacity for work occurred at the age lower than 30 years, the required insurance period is respectively shorter; the person whose incapacity for work is due to an accident on the way to or from work, does not have to meet this condition,
  • has become incapable of work during a contributory or non-contributory period as defined in the Old-Age Pension Act or within 18 months of the end of that period; a person who has completed at least 20 years (woman) or 25 years (man) of contributory and non-contributory periods and is totally incapable of work does not have to meet this condition,
  • does not have an established right to a pension from FUS or does not meet the conditions to establish it.

Furthermore, the condition of documented 5 years of insurance period within 10 years before the incapacity for work has arisen or before a claim has been lodged, does not have to be met by a person who has met both of the following conditions:

  • has been considered as completely incapable of work,
  • has completed a contributory period of at least 25 years (woman) or 30 years (man).

Medical assessment for the purposes of social insurance benefits and other benefits paid by ZUS is carried out by ZUS evaluating doctors and ZUS medical boards.

They evaluate the incapacity for work and its degree on the basis of the insured person’s medical records and examination. They also determine:

  • 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 incapability to independent existence,
  • the suitability of vocational retraining of the insured person.

The person incapable of work is a person who has lost, completely or partly, his/her earning capacity due to a disturbance of body fitness, and for whom retraining does not promise the restoration of earning capacity.

Completely incapable of work is a person who has lost his/her capability to any work.

Partly incapable of work is a person who has lost – to a considerable degree – his/her capability to work corresponding to his/her qualifications.

ZUS evaluating doctor or ZUS medical board certify incapacity for work for a maximum of 5 years. This period may be longer if, according to medical knowledge, the insured person will not regain the capacity for work before its expiry. The insured person is entitled to a pension during the period of certified incapacity for work, which ZUS indicates in the decision.

ZUS medical board considers the case if:

  • the person concerned does not agree with the decision of ZUS evaluating doctor and raises an objection within 14 days of receiving the decision,
  • ZUS president raises an objection that the ruling is defective within 14 days from the day on which ZUS evaluating doctor issued his/her decision.

ZUS decision on disability pension is issued based on:

  • a decision of ZUS evaluating doctor, which has not been objected against and has not been claimed as being defective,
  • the decision of ZUS medical board.

The disability pension in respect of an accident at work or an occupational disease is awarded irrespective of the duration of the accident insurance period and irrespective of the date on which incapacity for work occurred.

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 calculation basis for each non-contributory year (noncontributory periods are taken into account at a rate not exceeding 1/3 of the documented contributory periods)
+ 0.7% of the calculation basis for each year missing up to the full 25 years of the insurance period – from the day of claiming the pension to the day when the pensioner would have reached 60 years, i.e. the retirement
age determined for women.

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 in respect of partial incapacity for work is payable at a rate of 75% of the pension in respect of complete incapacity for work.

A person entitled to the disability pension who has been recognised by ZUS evaluating doctor as completely incapable of work and of 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. It cannot be lower than:

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

The assessment basis of the disability pension in respect of an accident at work or an occupational disease may be established by ZUS on the basis of an assessment index higher than 250%. When the assessment was made by ZUS using such index, the above mentioned guarantees do not apply.

The structure of disability pensions in December 2018 on the basis of the degree of incapacity for work

Disability pensions in general
including those in respect of:
100.0%
complete incapacity for work and incapability to independent existence 9.7%
complete incapacity for work 25.8%
partial incapacity for work 64.5%

In 2018 disability pensions were paid on average to 779.0 thousand persons, including 42.9 thousand persons who have received it for the first time this year.

The average monthly amount of the pension was PLN 1762.26.

A monthly average of 168.3 thousand persons received pensions in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases in 2018, including:

  • 83.7 thousand persons who received pensions in respect of occupational diseases,
  • 73.8 thousand persons who received pensions in respect of accidents at work,
  • 10.8 thousand persons who received pensions in respect of accidents on the way to or from work.