‘Family members' are considered to include married and cohabiting spouses and partners in a registered partnership. Children under 18 years of age (children of one's own, adopted children or children of one's spouse if living in the same household) are also considered as family members. As a rule, only those family members who were covered by the Finnish social security system on moving from Finland can enjoy continued coverage under the Finnish system while living abroad.
Kaisa from Finland works in Poland, where she marries a Polish man. Even if Kaisa were covered by the Finnish social security system, her husband would not be because he has not lived in Finland before Kaisa moved outside Finland.
As a family member in an EU/EEA country or in Switzerland
According to the new EC Regulation 883/2004, persons who are not working are covered by the social security legislation of their country of residence. The social security coverage of a family member is thus determined according to the national provisions of the family member's country of residence. The new Regulation concerns EU citizens, their family members and, since 1 January 2011, also third-country citizens legally resident in the EU area who move between the EU countries (with the exception of Denmark and the United Kingdom as regards third-country citizens). Switzerland applies EC Regulation 883/2004 to EU citizens since 1 April 2012 and the EEA countries (e.g. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) since 1 June 2012.
However, if you start work in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland, your social security coverage is determined on the basis of the employment. This means that you will normally be covered by the social security system of your country of employment as long as you meet the minimum requirements concerning employment in that country.
Even if the family members of a person working in another EU/EEA country are entitled to social security benefits from Finland during a temporary stay outside Finland, they may have a primary right to medical treatment and family benefits in the country of employment on the basis of the EU provisions. You should always seek to find out what benefits are available from each country.
As a family member in some other country
The social security coverage of family members moving from Finland is as a general rule decided solely by reference to the length of their residence outside Finland. If your residence lasts up to a year, you will be covered by the Finnish social security system.
The family members accompanying a posted worker, civil servant, person engaged in development aid or missionary work, student or researcher who live in the same household as the principal person can apply for coverage under the Finnish system even if they will stay abroad for more than a year. This requires that you are not covered by the social security system of your country of residence by virtue of your own employment or that your ties to some other country are not closer than your ties to Finland.
If you work while abroad, you cannot normally be covered by the Finnish social security system as a family member. However, you can do a little work on a short-term basis without losing your coverage as a family member.
Family members moving abroad for under a year must notify Kela. Family members moving abroad for more than a year must apply to Kela's Office for International Affairs for continued coverage under the Finnish social security system within one year of the move or the expiration of a previous decision. Adult family members must apply for continued coverage personally; applications for minors can be appended to the application filed by one of their parents.
The family members of diplomatic staff, state employees or persons engaged in development aid or missionary work must also apply for continued coverage under the Finnish social security system, but they can file their application at any time.