Areas of Research

  • Factors affecting retirement on a disability pension  
  • Changes in starting disability pensions, readiness to apply for a disability pension and share of rejections   
  • Follow-up of persons who have received a rehabilitation allowance, started vocational rehabilitation or received a rejection on their disability pension claim  


My research focuses on questions relating to retirement on a disability pension. I am particularly interested in factors that contribute to retirement on a disability pension and the changes in disability retirement over time. My recent studies have dealt with, among other things, risk factors relating to retirement on a disability pension, changes in starting rates and rejections of disability pensions and the link between corporate-specific factors and retirement on a disability pension and participation in vocational rehabilitation.  As a rule, my research is based on extensive register data and conducted in cooperation with, among others, researchers from Kela, the National Public Health Institute and different universities. 

Ongoing research projects

The share of fixed-term disability pensions, that is, cash rehabilitation benefits, of all starting disability pensions has increased. Currently more than half of the starting disability pensions are granted for a fixed term. The disability pension is granted as a fixed-term benefit if there is reason to believe that an individual’s work ability can be restored and the person can return to work. A considerable share of the cash rehabilitation benefits is later converted to a disability pension valid until further notice. In this study we use register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions to examine the conversion of cash rehabilitation benefits to disability pensions valid until further notice and the return to work of persons on a cash rehabilitation benefit.


Researchers: Mikko Laaksonen, Heidi Nyman

Retirement on a disability pension and receiving a sickness allowance have become less common in the 2000s, but in the last few years, the number of persons receiving these benefits has grown, particularly due to mental disorders. In this study, we examine trends relating to disability pension claims, retirement on a disability pension and rejected disability pension claims, and related predictive factors, particularly from the point of view of the benefit processes.} We examine the labour market position and the receiving of different social security benefits as predictors of retirement and pension claim rejections. The study is based on combined register data of Kela, the Finnish Centre for Pensions and Statistics Finland that covers the entire population of Finland. The research questions include: How has claiming and retiring on a disability pension developed in the 2000s in different population and diagnosis groups when looking at earnings-related and national pensions as a whole? Have the factors that predict retirement on a disability pension and the process of retirement on a disability pension changed in the 2000s? What is the labour market position and use of social security benefits of disability pension applicants before and after claiming a disability pension when considering also the rejected claims? The study is done in cooperation with Kela.


Researchers: Mikko Laaksonen, Jenni Blomgren (Kela), Riku Perhoniemi (Kela), Anu Polvinen

Retirement on a disability pension has become less common in Finland since the early 2000s particularly among manual workers and the unemployed. Retirement on a partial disability pension has increased, on the other hand, particularly among the older working-age population. It is unclear to which extent this development depends on changes in health and work ability and to which extent it has been affected by other factors. 

In this study, we use questionnaire studies to measure the development of self-reported work ability in different population groups in the 2000s. The study is based on the nationally representative Health 2000, Health 2011 and FinHealth 2017 data of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. The perceived changes in work ability are compared to the changes that have occurred in retirement on a disability pension. 


Researchers: Mikko Laaksonen, Päivi Sainio (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare), Seppo Koskinen (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)