Frequently asked questions about the basic income

What is the purpose of the experiment testing a basic income?

The main purpose of the two-year experiment is to see if a basic income can help to boost employment.

What are disincentives?

One of the objectives of the basic income is to eliminate disincentives. A disincentive is a situation where working is not a worthwhile option for someone who is paid social security benefits because any earnings they would get would reduce their benefits with the result that their total income would increase only slightly or not at all.

Has any country introduced a basic income?

Some countries have trialled a basic income. However, these trials have important differences. Learn more: The Finnish basic income experiment and its international predecessors (in Finnish).

From which group are those included in the basic income experiment selected?

A study group of 2,000 was selected by means of random sampling in December 2016. Included in the sampling are all persons between 25 and 58 whom Kela paid labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance in November 2016 for some other reason than a temporary layoff.

What if I find work during the experiment?

Anyone who is paid a basic income and who finds work during the experiment can keep the basic income. Wages, salaries and income from self-employment do not affect the amount of the basic income. The basic income is also not affected by whether the recipient is working on a full-time or part-time basis.

Can you decline if you don't want to participate in the experiment? Why not?

It is not possible to decline to participate in the basic income experiment because that would skew the results of the follow-up study.

Must I continue to visit the Employment and Economic Development (TE) Office?

The services of Employment and Economic Development Offices and the labour market policy conditions for unemployment benefits are not affected by the basic income.

Is it necessary to submit unemployment status reports?

Anyone receiving unemployment benefits in addition to a basic income will need to complete unemployment status reports and submit them to Kela.

Many recipients of the labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance receive their benefits at a higher rate, such as when the benefit includes an additional amount for dependent children or for participation in an employment promotion measure. Their unemployment payments may be large enough that even after deduction of the basic income, some unemployment benefit still remains payable. If you only receive the regular labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance without any additional amounts, no benefit remains payable after the basic income has been deducted, which means that it is not necessary to submit unemployment status reports to Kela.

Will I continue to receive a basic income if I start a business? Does receiving a business start-up grant affect the basic income?

Starting a business does not prevent you from receiving basic income payments. Start-up grants or any other financial assistance for starting a business also do not affect the amount of the basic income or the terms under which it is paid.

Can the basic income be supplemented by an additional payment for children?

The basic income is a fixed monthly payment of €560 and cannot be supplemented by an additional payment for children. Participants who have dependent children should also apply for unemployment benefits for the duration of the experiment. Unemployment benefits can include an increase for children. Because the full unemployment benefit including an increase for children exceeds the basic income, the exceeding part is paid on top of the basic income.

How does the basic income affect housing benefits?

When a claim for housing benefit is decided, the basic income is taken into account at least at the amount of the basic unemployment allowance. Also other types of income that count towards housing benefits, such as wages and salaries, are taken into account as income when calculating housing benefits.

Does the basic income affect child day care fees?

Like other types of income, the basic income counts as income when calculating the gross family income affecting child day care fees. For further information, contact the municipal authorities.

I will be moving abroad. Will I get a basic income?

If you stay abroad for longer than 30 days, you will not be paid a basic income. The payment can be resumed when you return to Finland.

Can I begin a course of study if I'm paid a basic income?

Yes, you can. If you begin a course of study while participating in the basic income experiment you can either

  • continue to participate in the experiment. In this case you will not qualify for financial aid for students, for the housing supplement for students (until 31 July 2017), or for government loan guarantees. However, you will be able to claim general housing allowance towards your housing expenses.
  • apply to Kela for financial aid for the duration of your studies. However, you cannot get financial aid at the same time as a basic income, which means that payment of the basic income will be stopped for as long as you receive financial aid for students. Payment can be resumed after you no longer receive financial aid.

Is it possible to lose your basic income during the experiment?

Payment of certain social security benefits and a number of other restrictions can result in the payment of the basic income being stopped. Persons receiving a basic income must tell Kela of any changes which are relevant to the basic income or which disqualifies them from receiving a basic income.

What information is collected about me and how is it used?

Information about participants is stored in a register created by Kela for the experiment.

Information collected in the register is only used for administrative, statistical and research purposes relating specifically to the basic income experiment.

The following types of information are collected about the participants:

  • name
  • personal identity code
  • information about receiving labour market subsidy or basic unemployment allowance as of November 2016
  • information about the basic income paid
  • information about decisions issued by Kela.

Kela releases the names and personal identity codes of the persons included in the study group to the Tax Administration and to municipal authorities.

Learn more

Last modified 29/03/2017
Updated 07/12/2016