Living in Finland

Cities

Vammaiset
theme icon

Disabled persons

According to Finnish law, a disabled person is someone who, due to a disability or illness, has long-term difficulties in managing matters of everyday life.

Rights of disabled persons

Finnish law states that a disabled person must not be discriminated against because of his or her disability. A disabled person has the right to live a normal life, for example, to study, work and start a family.

Municipalities are required to organise services for disabled persons who need them. These services include, for example, transport and assistant services. If you have a residence permit and a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to the services that your municipality offers. Read more on the services for disabled persons and how to apply for them on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

Associations for the disabled

There are several organisations in Finland which strive to improve the status of the disabled in society. These organisations can provide you with advice and assistance on, for example, how to apply for services. They also often provide leisure time activities and peer support. Contact information for these organisations is available on the National Council on Disability website.

Hilma, the Support Centre for Immigrant Persons with Disabilities, also operates in Finland. It provides support and activities for disabled immigrants.

linkkiThe National Council on Disability :
Contact information of associations for the disabledFinnish

linkkiHilma, the Support Centre for Disabled Immigrants:
Support and assistance for disabled immigrantsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish

Visually impaired persons

A person is considered visually impaired (näkövammainen) when his or her eyesight is so poor that it makes his or her daily life difficult. Visually impaired persons include both blind and partially sighted persons.

If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), visit your local health centre first for a medical examination. Once a doctor has confirmed that you have a visual impairment that makes managing matters of everyday life more difficult, you may be given aids and equipment to help you. Such aids and equipment include, for example, white canes, computer software, speech synthesizers, Braille displays and guide dogs. Your health centre and central hospital will pay for aids, which are given as medical rehabilitation (lääkinnällinen kuntoutus). This means that you do not have to pay anything for the aids and equipment that you need to manage in your daily life. Kela pays for devices that are required for working and studying.

For example, if you need a special computer or household appliances due to your disability, you can get financial support for these from the social services office (sosiaalitoimisto) of your municipality of residence. However, this is discretionary support, in other words, it is not necessarily granted. Read more on the Infopankki page Services for disabled person.

From the Celia library for the visually impaired (Näkövammaisten kirjasto Celia), you can borrow talking books, Braille books, e-books and relief pictures. The library also produces school books needed by visually impaired schoolchildren and students.

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (Näkövammaisten keskusliitto) is an organisation that strives to improve the status of the visually impaired in society. The Federation also provides a lot of useful information and services for visually impaired persons.

linkkiAviris:
Most common devices of the visually impairedFinnish

linkkiCelia:
Library for the visually impairedFinnish | Swedish | English

The hard of hearing

The hard of hearing (kuulovammainen) refers to deaf and hearing-impaired persons who use, for example, sign language or a hearing aid to communicate with others.

If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), visit your local health centre first for a medical examination. Once a doctor has confirmed that you have a hearing impairment that makes managing matters of everyday life more difficult, you may be given aids and equipment to help you. These include, for example, hearing aids. Your health centre and central hospital will pay for aids, which are given as medical rehabilitation (lääkinnällinen kuntoutus). This means that you do not have to pay anything for the aids and equipment that you need to manage in your daily life. Kela pays for devices that are required for working and studying.

You can get, for example, a fire alarm and a text telephone for hearing impaired so that you can live at home more safely. You can apply for these aids and equipment from the social services office(sosiaalitoimisto) of your municipality of residence.

Hard of hearing persons have the right to use the services of a sign language interpreter (viittomakielen tulkki), if they need interpretation in order to manage in daily life, such as work, study and attending to their matters. Apply the right to use interpretation services from Kela.

Read more on aids and equipment and interpretation services on the Infopankki page Services for disabled person.

You can find Suvi, the dictionary of Finnish sign language, on the Internet.

The Finnish Federation of Hard of Hearing (Kuuloliitto) and the Finnish Association of the Deaf (Kuurojen liitto) are organisations that strive to promote the interests of people who are hard of hearing in society. They also provide a lot of useful information and services for hard of hearing persons.

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Hearing devicesFinnish

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Hearing aidFinnish

linkkiThe Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela:
Interpreter services for the disabledFinnish | Swedish

linkkiSuvi.viittomat.net:
Online dictionary for Finnish sign languageFinnish

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Information about the Federation of Hard of HearingFinnish

linkkiThe Finnish Association of the Deaf:
Information about the Association of the DeafFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFolk high school for the deaf:
Education for deaf immigrantsFinnish | Swedish | English

Physically disabled persons

Physically disabled persons (liikuntavammainen) cannot move independently or need aids and equipment or an assistant for moving around. Physical disability may result from an illness or accident.

If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), you must first have a medical examination. Once a doctor has confirmed that you have a physical disability that makes managing matters of everyday life more difficult, you may be given aids and equipment to help you. These include, for example, canes, rollators, wheelchairs and prostheses. Your health centre and central hospital will pay for aids, which are given as medical rehabilitation (lääkinnällinen kuntoutus). This means that you do not have to pay anything for the aids and equipment that you need to manage in your daily life.

If you need alteration work in your home or some disability equipment have to be installed there, your municipality of residence may reimburse you for them. For example, your home can be changed in such a way that it is possible to get about in a wheelchair. Fixed disability equipment include, for example, support handles, ramps and electric door openers. Read more on aids and equipment and alteration work on the Infopankki page Services for disabled person.

linkkiFinnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities:
Support and activities for people with disabilitiesFinnish

Persons with mental disabilities

Mental disabilities (kehitysvamma) make learning and understanding new things difficult. Learning and remembering things is a great deal more difficult for a person with mental disabilities than for other people. Mental disability emerges in childhood or adolescence.

Various types of special services are available to persons with mental disabilities. These include, for example, housing services, work activities and daytime activities. Read more on the services for mentally disabled persons on the Infopankki page Services for disabled person.

There are also many organisations that offer information and support. More information is available, for example, on the websites of the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Kehitysvammaliitto) and Inclusion Finland KVTL (Kehitysvammaisten Tukiliitto).

linkkiVerneri.net:
Information for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish

linkkiThe Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD):
Lobbying organisation for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish

linkkiLobbying organisation for people with mental disabilities:
Lobbying organisation for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish