Fact Check

Man Gets Medical Benefits for Heavy Metal Addiction?

Rumor: A man in Sweden received medical benefits for his addiction to heavy metal music.

Published Feb 26, 2015

Claim: In 2007 a man from Sweden received disability payments for his for his addiction to heavy metal music.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2015]

I saw an article on a Roger Tullgren who apparently is addicted to heavy metal music and is given a disability status on that basis. This sounds too wierd to be true.

Origins: Roger Tullgren became an Internet celebrity in 2007 when he convinced Employment Services in Sweden to classify his "addiction" to heavy metal music as a disability:

Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren's salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

"I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap," Tullgren told The Local. "I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against."

The ageing rocker claims to have attended almost three hundred shows last year, often skipping work in the process.

Eventually his last employer tired of his absences and Tullgren was left jobless and reliant on welfare handouts.

But his sessions with the occupational psychologists led to a solution of sorts: Tullgren signed a piece of paper on which his heavy metal lifestyle was classified as a disability, an assessment that entitles him to a wage supplement from the job centre.

While the strange circumstances behind Tullgren's disability made headlines around the globe in 2007, several publications continue to publish his story as if it were current news. In 2013 the story was republished by the Huffington Post, and in February 2015 NME and Ultimate Classic Rock published stories mistakenly claiming that Roger Tullgren had just started receiving benefits for his heavy metal addiction.

According to the Swedish newspaper The Local, Tullgren stopped receiving benefits for his heavy metal addiction in 2012:

Tullgren's remarkable story once again struck a chord with the international media last month, with articles popping up in the Huffington Post and on the website of the New Musical Express (NME), a well-known British music publication.

"It's really funny," Tullgren told The Local.

"I'm not really sure why the story popped up again, but I've had a lot of people emailing me about it from all over the world."

He explained, however, that he hasn't been receiving benefits since January 2012.

"I took a new job as a janitor. I work four hours a day and then spend most of the rest of my time with my band, Papa Midnite," he said.

While Roger Tullgren really did receive some benefits for his heavy metal addiction beginning in 2007, as of 2012 that is no longer the case.

Last updated: 26 February 2015


    Landes, David.   "Swedish Heavy Metal Man: I'm Still Addicted."

    The Local.   11 January 2013.

    The Local.   "Man Gets Sick Benefits for Heavy Metal Addiction."

    19 June 2007.

    Bradford, Harry.   "Roger Tullgren Says His Heavy Metal Addiction Gets Him Disability Payments."

    The Huffington Post.   21 December 2012.

    Cooper, Leonie.   "Swedish man gets disability benefits after his heavy metal obsession is declared an 'addiction'."

    NME.   24 February 2015.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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