Payment of benefits abroad
The benefits available from Kela can be divided into two groups based on whether they are payable to persons living abroad on a temporary or permanent basis. Under certain conditions, the following benefits are available even if you stay abroad for longer than a year as a posted worker, civil servant of the Finnish Government or student, or as a family member of any of three:
- national pensions and survivors' pensions
- child benefits
- maternity grants
- and general housing allowances (only towards the costs of a home located in Finland).
The following are available only if you live abroad temporarily (i.e., for less than a year):
- pensioners' housing allowances
- disability allowances for persons under 16 years of age
- disability allowances for persons aged 16 years or over
The main rule is that if you live abroad temporarily (i.e., for less than a year), you are covered by the Finnish social security system and are eligible for benefits from Kela just as if you lived in Finland. This means that benefits already in payment can be paid to you while you are abroad, and you can apply for new benefits. However, if you live abroad permanently (for more than a year), you are normally not eligible for benefits from Kela. The payment of benefits ends immediately when you move abroad.
Residence-based social security systems (such as those in Finland and the rest of the Nordic countries) may require a certain period of residence to qualify for benefits. In Finland, such a qualifying period is a requirement for the award of maternity allowances, national pensions and surviving spouses' pensions. Any periods of insurance you may have completed under the social security system of another EU/EEA country or of Switzerland count towards this qualifying period.
This section tells you which Kela benefits are available outside Finland and what happens to any benefits you are receiving when you move abroad. The section discusses the most common types of situations. Before you move abroad, you should contact Kela to find out whether the benefits you are receiving can be paid outside Finland.