The change in the service structure of the disability services is clearly visible in the number of customers and costs of the six largest cities. In 2019, the total cost of the disability services in the six largest cities in Finland was €497.6 million, which is 4.3 per cent more than in the previous year. The cost increase is 14.5 per cent, when compared to the year 2015. The net costs for intellectual disability services grew by 5.0 per cent from last year, to €274.8 million. In intellectual disability services, the cost increase from 2015 is 10.4 per cent.


The change in the service structure of the disability services is clearly visible in the number of customers and costs of the six largest cities. In 2019, the total cost of the disability services in the six largest cities in Finland was €497.6 million, which is 4.3 per cent more than in the previous year. The cost increase is 14.5 per cent, when compared to the year 2015. The net costs for intellectual disability services grew by 5.0 per cent from last year, to €274.8 million. In intellectual disability services, the cost increase from 2015 is 10.4 per cent.

The total number of customers in the services for the disabled has remained almost unchanged during the last few years in the six largest cities, but the number of customers has varied inside the different service entities. The share of customers who have received services in accordance with the Act on Disability Services and Assistance has decreased by 1.9 per cent from last year, while the share of customers who have received services in accordance with the Act on Intellectual Disabilities has increased by 3.6 per cent. The growth in the number of customers in intellectual disability services is due especially to the increase in the share of foreign-language speakers in the large cities. Another thing that may explain the growth is the development of the diagnosing and the fact that the customers live longer. 1.9 per cent of the population are entitled to the disability services while 0.4 per cent are entitled to the intellectual disability services. In 2019, the costs of the round-the-clock housing services constituted the biggest part of the expenses in all of the six largest cities. The service structure reform is seen especially in the significant growth in supported housing. Compared to 2015, the number of customers in supported housing has grown by 56.4 per cent, while the number of customers in institutional care for people with intellectual disabilities has decreased by more than half during the same time.

The bulk of the costs for the services for the disabled stems from the arranging of the three biggest service forms – personal support, transport services and service housing for the seriously disabled. A majority of the customers who have received a positive service decision in accordance with the Act on Disability Services and Assistance are aged 65 or over. During the last few years, the rise in the number of customers in disability services has clearly focused on personal support. The number of customers receiving personal support has increased by 36.2 per cent from 2015. The use of service vouchers as a way of arranging personal support has become a lot more common during the last decade.

These are some of the results in the report by the Kuusikko working group, which describes the use and costs of disability services in the six largest cities in Finland. The report for 2019 is the first to include descriptions of services organised by disability service associations in the six largest cities in accordance with the Social Welfare Act. The Social Welfare Act (1301/2014), which came into effect in 2015, includes the promotion of social security and welfare and the social welfare functions and services in accordance with general and special legislation. The services arranged by the six largest cities in accordance with the Social Welfare Act are dissimilar and they have been shaped according to the service needs of the cities.

Further reading:

Six largest cities, comparison of disability services and costs in 2019  (In Finnish)

Photo: Maija Astikainen © City of Helsinki