SU, maternity leave and illness
Keep track of the rules
Understand the rules pertaining to SU, maternity leave and illness
Normally, in order to receive benefits in Denmark, you must be a Danish citizen. However, as a foreign citizen, you have the opportunity to apply for equal status with Danish citizens, thus approving you to receive SU and other benefits. For this to be granted, there are specific conditions you must fulfil. For more information visit SU.dk and Borger.dk.
Note that the rules below apply to Danish citizens in general. If you have been granted equal status with Danish citizens, there might the additional or different rules that you have to abide by and be aware of. Hence, in case of changes to your circumstances, always make sure to consult these rules on SU.dk and your municipality, if you are in doubt.
Extra grants in case of illness?
Students who are or become chronically ill or gravely ill during their time of study can apply for extra monthly grants to get through their studies.
Extra grant portions
If you extend your studies due to newly arisen or deteriorating health due to chronic illness or a functional impairment, you are able to apply for extra grant portions to cover the time period you have been delayed.
In that connection, it is a requirement that you can show documentation from your doctor, for the time period in which you have not been fully active in your studies.
Contact the local unit at your place of study that handles grants or visit su.dk.
Sick pay as a student
You may be entitled to sick pay or ordinary pay from your employer in up to 30 calendar days, if in the eight weeks prior to your absence you have been continuously in employment and employed for at least 74 hours.
You can apply for sick pay at the municipality if:
- You are in employment and have been employed for at least 240 hours within the last six months prior to your first sick day. In at least five of these months you have to have been employed for at least 40 hours each month.
- If you had not become ill, you would have had the right to unemployment benefits or temporary labour market support.
- Within the last month, you have completed an occupational education that took at least 18 months.
- You are a student in a payed internship enrolled in an education that has been regulated with reference to the law.
- You are employed in a flexijob.
- You are ill during a payed internship.
Check your entitlements in your letter of appointment or company settlement.
Sick pay is estimated based on lost income and can be granted simultaneously with SU.
Did you begin studying before your absence owing to illness, you are usually allowed to continue your education to unlimited extent. You must, however, be able to continue your treatment so as not to extend your period of illness further.
Log on to borger.dk and find the job centre in your municipality.
You can be considered for rehabilitation, if physical, psychological or social reasons limit your ability to work.
The municipality evaluates your ability to work and approves your education plan.
If granted, you will receive a subsidy for the educational expenses such as books or transport, and/or rehabilitation benefits, which is instead of the SU.
You apply for rehabilitation at your job centre.
Special Pedagogical Support (SPS)
SPS is a scheme made to ensure that students with physical or psychological functional impairments are able to complete their studies on equal terms as other students.
You are for instance entitled to:
- Secretarial services
- Assistive technology for supportive reading
- Ergonomic workplace or
- A support person or academic support teacher
You can apply for SPS at your place of study.
SU-rules concerning maternity leave
It can be difficult to decipher the rules around benefits for students who are soon to be parents. That is why we have comprised a list of the different possibilities below. If in doubt, you are always welcome to contact us.
Extra grant portions when becoming a parent
Are you to be a mother while attending a further education, you can receive 12 extra grant portions. Hence, you are not to apply for leave of absence from your studies when going on maternity leave, as you will lose your rights in the SU system.
Are you to be a father while attending a further education, you can receive six extra grant portions, regardless of the mother being enrolled in education.
If you are both students attending a further education, the mother can transfer up to six of her extra grant portions to the father. You must apply for extra grant portions at Min-SU.dk.
Providers can apply for a supplementary student loan alongside SU, student loans and ‘slutlån’ (a loan you can take out, if you have used up all your grant portions 12-24 months before completing your studies). The additional student loan cannot be disbursed concurrent with the extra grant portions when becoming a parent.
Are you a lone provider or cohabiting parents who both receive SU, you are able to apply for an extra grant in addition to your SU.
Note, the additional grants cannot be disbursed concurrent with the extra grant portions when becoming a parent.
You have the right to maternity pay in one of the following cases:
- You must be employed on the first day of or the day before your leave of absence. You must have worked at least 160 hours within four full months prior to your leave. You must have worked at least 40 hours a month in at least three of the four months.
- You would have been entitled to unemployment benefits, if you were not on maternity leave.
- You have completed an occupational education of at least 18 months, within the month of giving birth. Here, joining an unemployment insurance fund is not required.
- You will complete an occupational education of at least 18 months, after giving birth but within the regular maternity leave (46 weeks post birth).
In this case, you have the right to maternity pay from the moment you would have been entitled to unemployment benefits from an unemployment insurance fund, if you had not had a child.
- You are an intern in a payed internship enrolled in an education that has been regulated with reference to the law.
Note that, if you receive maternity pay on the basis of a payed internship, you will still be entitled to maternity pay once the internship is completed.
Please note that it is possible to receive SU and maternity pay simultaneously. There is however an exception, if you have obtained the right to maternity pay based on the payment from an internship.
Regardless, be aware of your tax-free amount, which nonetheless will increase when becoming a provider.
If you go on maternity leave more than a month after you have graduated, you are only entitled to maternity pay, if you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund.
Remember to join an unemployment insurance fund no later than 14 days after completing your education.
If you become a student member no later than 12 months before completing your education, you are able to receive your insurance benefits immediately instead of having to wait five weeks. Remember, even though you are already a member as a student, you must contact the unemployment insurance fund after graduating to change your status as ‘graduate’.
Despite being able to receive maternity pay, if your maternity leave begins within a month of completing your education, you must be a member of an unemployment insurance fund, as mentioned above, to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits after your maternity leave ends.
In case you do not meet the requirements for maternity pay, you can apply for social security during your maternity leave at the municipality. However, in order to be considered for it, you must be without a fortune or a spouse to support you financially.
It is a parent’s duty to support their children. If a parent does not live with the child, they must pay child support to the person supporting the child.
If a payment is termed overdue by the Agency of Family Law, and you have been unsuccessful in your own attempts to get it disbursed, you can apply for ‘Udbetaling Danmark’ to disburse it in advance.
This arrangement is called ’child support in advance’ (forskudsvist udbetalt børnebidrag).
Child and youth benefit
Child and youth benefits (also called ‘børnechecken’ which translates to ‘children’s cheque’) is automatically paid to families with children.
The benefit’s amount depends on the child’s age. You will receive a fixed amount for each child and it will generally be paid to the mother.
Child benefit for studying parents
During some periods of internship and school, it is possible to apply for additional child and youth support. In some cases, as a student, you may be granted a special child benefit.
The benefit depends on your income and is only granted insofar as you apply for it through ‘Udbetaling Danmark’.
Child benefit for sole providers
You can apply for ordinary child benefit, if you are the genuine sole provider. This means that you are not to live in a relationship similar to a marriage.
The benefit is paid each quarter and only insofar as you apply for it through ‘Udbetaling Danmark’
Additional child benefit
You can receive an additional child benefit, when you have custody of one or more children and receive ordinary child benefit as the sole provider.
Only one additional child benefit can be payed, regardless of the number of children. The benefit is payed each quarter and only by applying for it.
Other social services
In some cases, as a student, it is possible to apply for other social services than SU. Have you for instance used all of your SU-grants, do your personal circumstances change or do you have a right to a disability supplement? Get an overview of your possibilities below.
Again, note that the services mentioned below might be different or altogether not applicable, if you are a foreign exchange student. So make sure to contact your municipality and the possibilities pertaining to your situation.
As a general rule, students are not entitled to social security – a financial service provided by the municipality.
There are, however, some exceptions to the rule, which means that you may apply if:
- You are unable to work due to illness, and you do not have any other means of income – including SU and ‘slutlån’ (a loan you can take out, if you have used up all your grant portions 12-24 months before completing your studies).
- You have lost your basis for support due to a divorce, and you are not entitled to SU or ‘slutlån’.
- You become unemployed after having supported yourself through full-time employment, as you are not entitled to SU or ‘slutlån’.
- You are currently in rehabilitation, studying as part of your activation, receiving an reimbursement due to education (‘uddannelsesgodtgørelse’) etc.
Benefits during leave of absence
Are you on leave from your studies and you do not have any SU-grants or ‘slutlån’ left, you are entitled to social services.
Benefits when completing your education
When you have completed your education, you can get social security until your first salary or unemployment benefit, if you do not have any other way of supporting yourself.
In some cases, the municipality will demand a repayment of the social security. Some municipalities might choose to send you into activation during the unemployment insurance fund’s quarantine period.
If you remember to join an unemployment insurance fund 12 months prior to completing your education, you will avoid the quarantine period and be entitled to unemployment benefit immediately.
If you drop out of your studies without having any other income or fortune, you can apply for social security as well.
Financial aid for single expenses
The Law of Active Social Policy allows for you to apply for aid in certain cases, where you are not able to meet the expenses. This for instance includes:
- Expenses related to medical treatments, psychologist, medicine, dental care or the like. Aid is only rendered insofar as the treatment is necessary and medically well-founded.
- Relocation that improves the applicant’s housing or occupational conditions, including moving to an accommodation with lower rent.
- Contact with your own children under the age of 18.
Financial supplement due to disability
Do you have a physical or psychological function impairment that prevents you from working concurrently with studying, you can apply for a financial supplement due to disability.
You apply for the supplement through the SU-office, and it will be function as a supplement to your regular SU.
You must be able to provide a medical document for your functional impairment.
Contact your local SU-office and read more on SU.dk.
Get help and good advice at ‘Gældsrådgivningen’ (advises about money, debts and economy)
Where can I get help
Depending on the issue at hand and what you need help with, there are different services you can make use of.
See the list below:
Thriving while studying
Loss and grief
SU and loans
Moving away from home
Other social services
Sammenslutningen af Unge med Handicap
Students from Greenland
SUMUT - Det grønlandske hus København
BRUS - Free professionel counselling to those who grow up in families with drug and alcohol problems.