Recovery of overpayments

If a benefit has been paid to a too high amount or without grounds, Kela has to recover the overpayment.The reason for recovery is often the customer's neglect to inform Kela about changed circumstances in time and benefits have then been paid to the customer.

You will receive a separate decision about the recovery stating the amount of the overpayment, the due date, and other payment details. The amount overpaid must be repaid to Kela in a single payment.

In certain situations, Kela can waive recovery or reduce the amount being recovered.

Paying back an overpayment

If you cannot afford to pay back the amount being recovered from you, Kela can set it off against another benefit that you are being paid, i.e., deduct the amount owed from the second benefit. The minimum amount deducted monthly is €30.

If you are being paid a benefit which is the same or comparable to that for which you have accrued repayable debt, Kela is authorised under law to collect the debt, without your consent, by deducting it from your current benefit.

Kela will usually set off the overpayment against some other benefit being paid to you. However, a certain share of unemployment benefits is, under the Enforcement Code, defined as an exempt amount which places limits on the amount that can be used as an offset. Kela will typically not able to set off the debt against your unemployment benefit because it will most likely be less than the exempt amount.

The recovery of overpayments may not result in your having to apply for social assistance. If you receive social assistance, Kela will stop the offset process.

If you are not currently being paid any benefits by Kela, you can make a separate repayment agreement with Kela's Overpayment Recovery Centre. You can find the contact information of the centre handling your case on the notice of decision informing you of the recovery of the overpayment.

You can also propose a repayment plan by logging into Kela's online customer service at (only in Finnish and Swedishand selecting Viestit ja liitteet (Messages and attachments) and then Liikamaksu- ja takaisinperintäasiat (Overpayment and recovery).

Payment reminder and enforcement

If you have not paid the benefit being recovered and not agreed on a payment plan with Kela, Kela will send a payment reminder. The first payment reminder is sent 2 weeks after the payment becomes overdue and the second reminder is sent after the following 2 weeks. If you have not paid the debt and not contacted Kela even after two reminders, the debt will be transferred to the enforcement authorities for recovery.

Contact Kela without delay if you notice that you cannot pay the benefit being recovered according to the payment plan. In that way, a new payment plan can be drawn up for you.

The recovery of overpayments may not result in your having to apply for social assistance. Kela cannot make a repayment plan with you if your income is less than the basic amount of social assistance. If you have not paid off the debt, the matter will be referred to the enforcement authorities for collection after you are sent a payment reminder.

If someone owes money to Kela and does not have a repayment plan or has failed to comply with its terms, Kela will ask that their tax refunds be garnished for the overpayment. If you owe money to Kela, your debt will be collected through garnishment if you have agreed to a repayment plan but fail to keep up with it and you do not contact Kela to agree on the terms of repayment.

Collection of child support debt

If a resident parent receives child maintenance allowance payments from Kela because the parent liable for child support has not made the required payments, the unpaid child support will be collected by Kela. Contact Kela either via the online customer service or by calling the Overpayment Recovery Centre in order to agree on repayment plan. Unlike with regular social benefits, only one payment reminder is sent about child support debt. Kela will ask for garnishment of tax refunds if a customer has outstanding child support debt to Kela. For further information, see If you are unable to pay a child support debt.

Collection of student loan debt repaid under the government loan guarantee

If Kela, in its capacity as the loan guarantor, pays back your student loan to the bank, Kela will collect the loan from you at 7 percent interest. Contact Kela either via the online customer service or by calling the Overpayment Recovery Centre in order to agree on repayment plan. For further information, see Difficulty paying back a student loan.

Visit Kela's online customer service to check your repayment status

By logging in to Kela's online service (only in Finnish and Swedish) with your web banking codes you can view the data on the benefits subject to recovery.You can at any time check how much of the benefit still has to be recovered and for which time period the benefit is recovered.The service shows benefits subject to recovery, child support debt and guarantee liability debts on student loans.All recovery matters, such as recovery of legal expenses, do not show in the service.

Last modified 30/12/2016
Updated 22/10/2012