Swiss disability insurance (DI) is a compulsory social insurance scheme for all persons living in Switzerland. Its purpose is to guarantee the livelihoods of insured persons who become disabled, by providing rehabilitation measures or a pension.
All persons residing or working in Switzerland are compulsorily insured under DI. To receive DI benefits, you must fulfil several conditions.
Nationals of an EU or EFTA Member State have the same rights as Swiss citizens. If you come from another country, benefits may be limited once you return to your country of origin if it has not concluded a social security agreement with Switzerland.
Swiss citizens and nationals of EU or EFTA countries residing in a country outside of this zone have the option, under certain conditions, of joining the voluntary DI scheme.
You need to contact your DI office.
If you live in Switzerland, you need to contact the DI office in your canton.
Cross-border commuters need to contact the DI office of the canton where they work.
If you live and work abroad, contact the DI office for people living abroad.
In order to receive benefits, you need to complete an application form for DI benefits (form available in German, French and Italian).
Once you have submitted your request, the DI office will review your file to determine whether you are eligible to receive DI benefits, and if so, what type.
It is in your interest to register as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your benefits may be reduced.
The purpose of rehabilitation measures (web page available in German, French and Italian) is to help you maintain or increase your earning capacity in a sustainable and significant way.
DI benefits also include counselling, training, job placement and guidance services as well as occupational therapy to help you keep your job or find a new one.
Disability insurance can also cover medical services and provide medical aids such as a wheelchair or hearing aids.
Support for entering the working world and therapy is also available for persons with mental disorders.
If you are taking part in rehabilitation measures, but do not receive a pension, you are entitled to receive a daily allowance based on your last salary. In addition, travel and childcare costs are covered during rehabilitation.
If the rehabilitation measures are not possible or inadequate, the DI office examines the right to a disability pension (web page available in German, French and Italian). To receive a pension, you must have been unable to work for an average of at least 40% for one year and the situation must appear to be irreversible.
The amount of the pension is calculated individually; it depends on the degree of disability, the qualifying income and your years of contributions.
If you receive a DI pension and have children, you are also entitled to receive a pension for each child under the age of 18 (25 for children still in school). The amount per child is 40% of your DI pension.
You may also receive a disability pension from the accident insurance or the military insurance.
You are entitled to receive a disability allowance (web page available in German, French and Italian) if you are unable to perform two basic activities of daily life on your own, such as getting dressed, getting up, going to bed, preparing meals, eating and washing.
The allowance is paid in addition to the DI pension. It is calculated to cover the extent of your limitations. Only persons living in Switzerland are entitled to receive it.
You may also receive a disability allowance from the accident insurance or the military insurance.
If you receive a DI disability allowance, live at home and pay someone outside of the family to help you with basic activities, you are entitled to receive a DI assistance contribution (web page available in German, French and Italian). This could help you avoid having to move into a home for the elderly.
The amount of the assistance contribution is based on the required qualifications for the hired help and the time it takes the help to provide assistance.
If the total cash benefits paid to you by the DI are not enough to cover your basic needs, you are entitled to receive supplementary benefits.
The OASI/DI website
FAQ about disability insurance (available in German, French and Italian) of the Federal Social Insurance Office
Forms for requesting DI benefits (available in German, French and Italian)
ch.ch web page on leave from work
ch.ch web page on accident insurance