The same distinction between temporary and permanent residence is applied to pensioners as to others moving abroad. In practice, pensioners who move abroad for less than a year retain coverage under the Finnish social security system, while pensioners who move for more than a year do not. Pensioners also have to report a move abroad to Kela.
Pensioners who regularly stay most of the year abroad typically are not entitled to coverage under the Finnish social security system. However, if you continue to maintain close ties to Finland, you may retain your coverage. In uncertain cases an assessment can be made regarding which country you maintain closer ties to. If necessary, this can be established by reference to such factors as
- length of residence in Finland and abroad
- family ties
- housing circumstances
- repeated residence in Finland and
- the country from which you receive your pension.
This means that you may continue to receive a pension from Finland even if you no longer are covered by the Finnish social security system. For details about the payment of Finnish pensions outside Finland, see the section titled Payment of benefits.
Pensioners moving to another EU/EEA country or to Switzerland for less than a year are entitled to benefits from Kela during their stay abroad. This applies also to pensioners who regularly spend more than half of each year abroad but who continue to maintain close ties to Finland.
Pensioners who move abroad for more than a year are not covered by the Finnish social security system. Whether you will be covered by the system of your new country of residence depends on the laws applicable in that country. You should find this out before leaving Finland.
Even if you no longer are covered in Finland, you may under certain circumstances be entitled to medical treatment abroad at Finland's expense. In such cases, one requirement is that you receive some statutory pension covered by the EU legislation from Finland and that you do not receive a pension covered by the EU legislation from your country of residence. This does not include voluntary pensions or pensions based on a collective bargaining agreement. If you only receive such pensions from Finland, you are not entitled to medical treatment abroad at Finland's expense. You can prove your entitlement to medical treatment by presenting an E121 or S1 form from Kela.
If you have accrued pension rights in another EU/EEA country at some point during your career, the pension to which you are entitled will be paid to you in the country in which you spend your retirement. You should claim the pension from the local pension authority. As a general rule, pensions from Finland are taxed in the country of residence.
If Finland is responsible for the medical expenses incurred by pensioners living in an EU/EEA country, a health insurance contribution towards medical treatment is levied from any pensions paid from Finland.
As regards the countries with a social security agreement with Finland (does not concern the Nordic countries), the decisive factor is whether the move is temporary or permanent. If you move to a country with a social security agreement with Finland for more than a year, you will not be covered by the Finnish social security system, except for the benefits to which the agreement applies. You should contact the local social security organization to find out your rights to social security.
The social security agreements with the United States, Canada, Chile and Israel mainly concern national pensions and survivors' pensions. The social security agreement with Australia concerns old-age pensions. This means that you remain eligible for these benefits from Finland even if you move to the other signatory country for a period of more than 12 months.
The social security coverage of pensioners moving to some other country than an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or a country with a social security agreement with Finland is determined solely by reference to the length of their residence abroad. If you move abroad for less than a full year, you can retain your coverage under the Finnish social security system and your eligibility for Kela benefits. If you leave Finland with the intention of staying abroad longer than a year, your coverage will end on the date you move.