Swedish benefits agency to require doctor’s notes again

Swedish benefits agency to require doctor's notes again
VAB benefit is intended to be used on days when the parent's child is too unwell to go to school or daycare. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / SCANPIX NORGE/TT
Sweden's social insurance agency will from next month again require a doctors' note from anyone applying for sickness benefit or compensation for caring for a sick child, after suspending it due to coronavirus.
The Försäkringskassan benefits agency suspended the requirement in March in order to reduce the number of people visiting primary care centres and so reduce crowding and make way for coronavirus patients. 
 
The normal requirements will now reenter into force on November 1st, meaning doctor's notes will be required from the 15th day for sickness benefit, and from the eighth day for payments for caring for a sick child. 
 

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“It was an extraordinary situation in the spring of 2020 and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency was forced to adapt our way of working so that society would continue to function,” Michael Erliksson, the agency's legal director, said in a press release
 
“We now see that the healthcare system has a much lighter load, and after dialogue with other actors, we have come to the conclusion that we will now return to normal handling of applications and the associated time limits.” 
 
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Parents in Sweden can claim a so-called VAB (Vård av barn, or 'care of child') payment, of up to 80 percent of their usual wage up to a fixed cap, if they need to stay home from work when their child aged under 12 is unwell. 
 
That's in contrast to standard sick leave, if the employee themselves needs to stay home from work due to sickness, in which case there is an unpaid karensdag or 'waiting day' at the start of any period of illness.
 
The Social Insurance Agency made the decision in consultation with Sweden's municipalities and regions (SKR) the National Board of Health and Welfare, and the Swedish Public Health Agency. 
 

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