Exceptionally few new retirees on a disability pension
In 2021, the number of new retirees on a disability pension declined by more than eight per cent. The decline was evenly distributed between the main disease categories. Mental disorders continue to be the most common cause for retirement on a disability pension. The single most common cause is depression – on average, it causes nine persons a day to retire on a disability pension.
The number of new retirees on a disability pension declined already in 2020, the first year of the corona pandemic. The positive trend continued last year, showing the lowest number of new retirees on a disability pension throughout the 2000s.
In 2021, roughly 17,500 persons retired on a disability pension. This was a drop of eight per cent (or 1,600 persons) compared to 2020. Nearly every third disability pension was granted as a partial pension.
The main cause for retirement on a disability pension continued to be mental and behavioural disorders (33%). Musculoskeletal diseases (32%) was the second most common cause for retirement on a disability pension. The number of new retirees on a disability pension declined at the same ratio in both main disease categories. Of the most common causes for retirement on a disability pension, only tumours were on the increase compared to 2020.
Even when viewed by age group, the decline was even. The share of over-60-year-olds was the only one that remained unchanged.
“Time will tell if the positive trend is permanent or if we are dealing with a backlog that will clear once the pandemic is over. The trend among the over-60-year-olds is explained by the rising retirement age, which means that retirement on a disability pension is possible only at an increasingly higher age,” explains head of statistics Tiina Palotie-Heino (Finnish Centre for Pensions).
Mental disorders stand out among new young or female disability retirees
The average age of new disability pension retirees was 52 years. A slight majority (54%) were women.
Among women, mental disorders were the most common reason for retirement on a disability pension. Among men, musculoskeletal diseases were slightly more common than mental disorders.
Mental disorders was clearly the most common cause (81%) of retirement on a disability pension. The share of musculoskeletal diseases grows by age. It is nearly 50 per cent among the over-60-year-olds.
The most common single diagnosis underlying new retirees on a disability pension in 2021 was depression. In 2021, 3,300 persons retired due to depression. That equals 9 persons for each day of the year.
Two out of three persons retiring due to depression were women. On average, people retiring on a disability pension due to depression were 47 years old.
Number of disability pension retirees down by more than one third in a decade
At year-end 2021, a total of 125,000 persons drew an earnings-related disability pension. This was around 5,000 fewer than in 2020.
In 2011, the number was an ample 200,000. Over a period of ten years, the number of persons on a disability pension has thus been reduced by more than one third.
Photo: Karoliina Paatos