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Determination of disabilities

People with different special needs may need more support and help to live a full life. In order to determine the amount of help needed, the person's severity and type of disability of the person are determined. People with disabilities can receive a number of allowances and benefits.

What is a disability and the determination of the severity of a disability

Disability is a long-term established (i.e., difficult to reverse or irreversible) condition:

  • in which there is a deficiency or disorder (one or more) of any structure of the body of a permanent nature,
  • due to which a person's ability to cope is limited in normal situations
  • due to which the person needs auxiliary help and/or aids

The need for treatment is not a basis for determining disability because:

  • it is not possible to compensate for the disability with treatment and/or medication
  • the disability is not caused by the constant need for medication, the treatment of an acute or chronic disease
  • disability is not caused by a large number of drugs used
  • the disability is not caused by the need for frequent medical visits
  • giving the child medicines (tablet therapy, inhalation therapy) is an age-appropriate secondary aid and does not cause disability
  • children who often suffer from infectious diseases, who are therefore often absent from kindergarten or school - this is an increased need for treatment, and functional limitations of a permanent nature have not been described by treating doctors - there is no basis for determining a disability.

In order to cope with the additional costs arising from special needs, we pay monthly social benefits to disabled people. A number of service providers also offer discounts for people with disabilities, for example, in public transport, ferry rides, museums, and theatres. 

The grounds for the determination of a disability of children, working-age, and old-age pensioners are different.


Determining the severity of the child's disability

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Determining the severity of a disability of persons of working-age 

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Determining the severity of disability of a person of retirement age

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Submission of application

To determine the severity of the disability, submit an application to the Social Insurance Board.

There are several ways to apply:

Repeat application

If the term of the determination of a disability is about to expire and the condition has not changed, a new application must be submitted.

A repeat examination is necessary if your condition has not changed (limitations in performing daily activities are the same or have become more difficult). In this case, you can submit the request starting 50 working days before the deadline for the duration of the previously valid decision on the severity of the disability.

Early application

If your health condition has changed before the end of the disability period, submit a new application to us.

An early examination is necessary if your condition has changed significantly. In this case, you can submit a new application ahead of time (more than 50 working days before the deadline for the duration of the previously valid decision of severity of the disability). Before applying, it is important that the family doctor or specialist has made an entry in the e-health information system (digital health records) describing the changed/deteriorated state of health and the resulting limitations.

We remind you that if the state of health has improved compared to the time of submitting the previous application (limitations on basic daily activities have decreased), then the recipient of the benefit also has the obligation of information thereof. Limitations to daily activity do not include the addition of new diagnoses if they do not cause additional restrictions and additional prescriptions for drugs that help compensate for the condition.

Disability card and benefits

With the disability card, you can easily prove the severity of your disability and the right to receive a discount on services with service providers. We issue cards for both children and adults.

The card is valid for as long as the period of the determined severity of your disability. If you apply for disability repeatedly when the disability term expires, we will issue you a new card together with the new disability decision.

According to the Public Transport Act, in addition to preschool children, disabled children, profoundly disabled persons aged 16 and over, severely visually impaired persons, and a companion of a profoundly or severely visually impaired person or a guide dog accompanying a visually impaired person can travel for free on domestic routes.

The right to ride for free can be proved by a disabled person with a pension certificate or a disability card. An identity document must be presented with the card.

In addition to the right to free travel arising from the Public Transport Act, the local government can apply additional travel fare concessions to people with disabilities. 

Several service providers in the field of sports and culture - in theaters, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, and concerts - also offer discounts to people with disabilities. Benefits can be found on the website of the Estonian Chamber of People with Disabilities

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Last updated: 03.01.2024

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