Research projects

The objective of research conducted in Kela is to produce information for the development and implementation of social security. The main emphasis is placed on research supporting national development, in addition to which an important task is to acquire and distribute information about social security reforms carried out in other countries (see our research programme for more information).

Research conducted in Kela deals with income security schemes administered by Kela, Kela's own operations, healthcare provision and rehabilitation. Our key research projects are introduced here briefly by subject categories.
 

Benefits for families

Labour markets and income security

Pensions

Private medical and dental services

Medicines

Sickness benefits

Rehabilitation and ability to work

Kela's services and operations and the implementation of social security

Social security system:

Health insurance system

Income security system

BENEFITS FOR FAMILIES

Families with children

This research project looks at mothers who have given birth in the 2000s and their families from different perspectives. The research data covers 60 percent of mothers who gave birth in 1999–2009. The factual content of the data comprises Kela benefits, benefit periods and background information gathered from the labour force survey conducted by Statistics Finland. The sample has approx. 33,000 mothers per annum.

By using registers of Kela and Statistics Finland, the mothers' spouses have also been found and the same background information is available on them as well. This representative sample is used in both cross-sectional and longitudinal research frames. Individual families with children may be followed up to 10–11 years.

The objectives of this research project are

  1. to produce information on the interconnectedness of family leave reforms and how family leaves are distributed between parents and on how family leave reforms affect mothers' and fathers' labour market positions,
  2. to produce more accurate information particularly on such families with children which have previously been studied only marginally or not at all due to small sample sizes, and
  3. to look at how companies' background features explain the use of family leaves and the allocation of paid leaves.

The following working papers have been completed to date:

Publications and blogs related to the project:

  • Jussi Tervola: Maahanmuuttajien kotihoidon tuen käyttö 2000-luvulla. (Take-up of home care allowance among immigrant mothers in the 2000s.) Yhteiskuntapolitiikka 2015 80:2, 121–133. Permanent address of the publication: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe201504162727
  • Anita Haataja: Kotihoidon tuki kehittyy omaan tahtiinsa Pohjoismaissa. Sosiaalivakuutus 17.03.2016. (Home care allowance develops at its own pace in the Nordic countries.)
  • Anita Haataja and Miia Saarikallio-Torp: Korvamerkityt rahat kannustavat isiä vapaille. (Earmarked approriations encourage fathers to take parental leaves.) Sosiaalivakuutus 17.03.2016.
  • For issues related to the informal care of a sick child, see also the article by Johanna Hytönen: Hoivan ja tasa-arvon vaikea yhtälö. Sosiaalivakuutus, 17.03.2016. (The difficult equation between caring and equality.)
  • Jussi Tervola: Kotihoidon tuki vai kotouttaminen? Sosiaalivakuutus, 19.05.2016. (Home care allowance or integration?)
  • Jussi Tervola, Ann-Zofie Duvander, Eleonora Mussino: Promoting parental leave for immigrant fathers – what role does policy play?  Stockholm Research Reports in Demography 14, 2016.
  • Tapio Räsänen: Uusien äitien paluu työuralle – syitä pitkiin perhevapaajaksoihin. (Return to work among mothers with infants: about the reasons behind long periods of parental leaves.  Research blog, posted 29.02.2016. http://blogi.kansanelakelaitos.fi/arkisto/3382.

A theme book Laulu 573 566 perheestä. Lapsiperheet ja perhepolitiikka 2000-luvulla, (A Song about 573,566 Families. Families and family policies in the 2000s), Eds. Anita Haataja, Ilpo Airio, Miia Saarikallio-Torp and Maria Valaste, was published on 16 June 2016. The book contains 15 articles by 15 researchers on various aspects related to families with children and their current status. Summaries of the articles are accessible online both in Finnish and English.

Cooperation partners: Statistics Finland, Kela Statistical Unit and Kela ITC Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Institute for Economic Research (VATT).

Additional information:
Anita Haataja, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1942 or +358 (0)50 583 8594, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Family leaves 2013 – a population survey

The project aims to explore the use of family leaves among parents of small children. The purpose is to examine the experiences and opinions of parents concerning parental leaves and child home care leaves, the use of family leaves by fathers and the reconciliation of family and working life in families with children.

The study material was collected by means of an online questionnaire survey targeting mothers and fathers of children born in 2011. For the survey, the respondents were sampled from Kela’s registers and the material collection took place in autumn 2013.  The data obtained from Kela’s registers are used to supplement the questionnaire data.

The study is the continuation of a questionnaire study conducted in 2006 and is implemented jointly with the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). At Kela Research, the questionnaire has been utilised in the abovementioned ‘Families with children’ project and related publications.

In addition to the population survey, two specifically targeted surveys were carried out.  The ‘Multiple-birth families’ survey was targeted to mothers who had given birth to twins or triplets in 2011, and the ‘Young mothers’ survey, correspondingly, to mothers aged under 22 who had given birth in 2011.   Separate reports will be published on the Multiple-birth families and Young mothers surveys.

Family leave study on the THL website: Family leaves, financial crisis and gender equality (Perhevapaat, talouskriisi ja sukupuolten tasa-arvo)

The following persons from Kela Research were involved in the project: Anita Haataja, Ulla Hämäläinen, Vesa-Pekka Juutilainen, Miia Saarikallio-Torp (on leave of absence).

Publication:

Additional information: Miia Saarikallio-Torp (on leave of absence), tel. +358 (0)20 634 1968, Vesa-Pekka Juutilainen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1979, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Child care arrangements in families with children in Helsinki in the 2010s (HELA)

Information concerning child care arrangements in families is readily available for those parents and children that are receiving family leave benefits from Kela. In contrast, there are no individual or family level statistics on the use of early childhood education services. How many families are using early childhood education services and how does the family structure affect the choices? What kind of child care paths do children have before they start school? How does a long-term illness of either the child or parents affect the choices? What kind of child care arrangements are made in families when the number of children in the family increases, or when one or both parents are unemployed or work part-time, either voluntarily or due to the lack of full-time work? 

The research project HELA aims to find answers to the aforementioned questions. The first task is to compile research material which, for the first time, utilises longitudinal data both on the use of early childhood education services and on other child care solutions made by families.

The research material is constructed by combining data on children in day care in the years 2008–2015, as obtained from the Department of Early Education and Care of the City of Helsinki, and data on all families with children in Helsinki. The material will be updated during the project until the year 2017. In addition, the combined research material will include data on the families’ incomes, including the family leave benefits paid by Kela, other income and income transfers, as well as unemployment periods.

The project is conducted in cooperation by Kela Research, City of Helsinki Urban Facts and City of Helsinki Early Education and Care. The research is a part of the consortium projects ‘Tackling Inequalities in Time of Austerity (TITA)’ and ‘Work, Inequality and Public Policy (WIP)’, which are funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland.

Publications related to the project:

  • Haataja, Anita and Koskenvuo, Karoliina: Oikeutta varhaiskasvatuspalveluihin ei kannata rajata lailla. (Right to early childhood education should not be restricted by law.) Research blog, posted 19.11.2015. http://blogi.kansanelakelaitos.fi/arkisto/2854
  • Haataja, Anita and Valaste, Maria: Subjektiivinen päivähoito-oikeus jää usein käyttämättä. (The subjective right to day care often remains unused.) Research blog, posted 21.09.2016. http://sosiaalivakuutus.fi/subjektiivinen-paivahoito-oikeus-jaa-usein-kayttamatta/

The following persons from the various parties are involved in the HELA project: Anita Haataja, Karoliina Koskenvuo, Maria Valaste and Miia Saarikallio-Torp (on leave of absence) from Kela Research and Sanna Ranto and Hanna Ahlgren-Leinvuo from City of Helsinki Urban Facts.

Contact information firstname.lastname@kela.fi for Kela and firstname.lastname@hel.fi for City of Helsinki Urban Facts.

LABOUR MARKETS AND INCOME SECURITY

Labour markets, social security and income distribution

This study analyses the effect that a transition from one labour market status to another is likely to have on personal incomes in different EU countries. Among other questions, the study looks at the income effects of retirement and examines the extent to which acquired pension rights are indexed to keep pace with general income growth. In addition, the study looks at such life events as unemployment, illness, childbirth and return to the labour market following unemployment or childbirth. The incentives built into the social security systems of different countries are another focus of the study. The study draws upon longitudinal data from the European Community Household Panel, which tracks subjects between 1994 and 2000. The data set will be complemented with EU-Silc data for the 2000s.

One article has been published in an international journal. Two articles and a book manuscript (commissioned by Policy Press) were completed in 2011.

Cooperation partners: Syd dansk universitet (Odense, Denmark) and Stockholms universitet (Sweden).

Additional information:
Olli Kangas, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1935, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Basic social protection: Gaps in coverage and links to social assistance

The Finnish system of basic social protection encompasses the provision of housing benefits and benefits associated with specific contingencies (such as unemployment and sickness allowances). If the level of basic protection is insufficient to meet the subsistence needs of an individual or a family, they are entitled to social assistance.

This project looks at the use of social assistance and at the recipient population. Questions addressed include: What is the role of housing costs in creating need for social assistance? To what extent do health care expenses (doctors' fees, pharmaceutical expenses, dental care) create need for social assistance? How extensive is social assistance use among immigrants? What is the prevalence of multiple concurrent problems among young homeless recipients of social assistance?

The study utilises the client information system of the City of Helsinki Department of Social Services and Health Care and the registry data available to Kela. A book titled Köyhyyttä Helsingissä – Toimeentulotuen saajat ja käyttö 2008–2010 (Poverty in Helsinki - An analysis of social assistance recipients and use in 2008-2010) came out in April 2013 as part of the project (see press release). There will be additional publications as the project progresses.

Additional information: Elina Ahola, Tel. 020 634 1879, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

The role of the cause of immigration in integration

The project examines, using extensive follow-up material, the significance of the cause of immigration in integration and settling in. In general, immigrants represent a selected population on the basis of the causes of immigration. On the basis of the cause of immigration records registered by Kela, this study intends to look closer into how the selection is reflected in, for example, the demographic characteristics and integration into society among immigrants. The results will provide new information for the planning of integration and immigration policies.

Cooperation partners: Pellervo Economic Research (PTT) and Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK).

Additional information: Jussi Tervola, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1874, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

PENSIONS

The direction of pension security

The project entitled ‘The direction of pension security’ aims to provide updated and new information about the realisation, sufficiency and development of pension security in various groups, such as women and men, different age groups, or the recipients of minimum pension security, survivors’ pension and disability pensions. Another area of interest is the citizens’ opinions concerning a good and fair pension system and the pension reform in 2017.

As part of the project, a population survey will be conducted that utilises the ISEA (International Survey of Economic Attitudes) survey questions concerning opinions and attitudes related to pension security. This facilitates the comparison of changes that have taken place in opinions and attitudes in Finland over the course of two decades.  The study concerning the pension reform 2017 is conducted in cooperation with the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK).

Project period: 1 September 2015–31 December 2018.

Additional information: Olli Kangas, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1935, Ilpo Airio, tel. 358 (0)20 634 1954 and Karoliina Koskenvuo, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1355, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

The impacts of survivors’ pension on welfare

The project aims to analyse the role of survivors’ pensions in terms of subsistence and health, thereby facilitating the evaluation of the risks possibly included in the suggested plans to renew the survivors’ pension system. Moreover, the project aims to explore citizens’ opinions about the survivors’ pension security, by utilising the questions about widow(er)’s pension security from the survey material completed in early 2016 (the material was collected jointly with the ‘Direction of pension security’ project).

Project period: 25 March 2014–31 December 2017.

Additional information: Karoliina Koskenvuo, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1355 and Elina Ahola, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1879, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Time and processes before disability pension

The study is being undertaken jointly by the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK) and Kela for the purpose of investigating the factors contributing to retirement with disability pension. In order to understand the process that leads to disability pensioning and in terms of possible preventive measures, it is important to investigate the routes and mechanisms within the different social security systems through which individual persons end up becoming recipients of disability pension. The objective is, in particular, to identify those stages of the process before disability pensioning in which the process might take a different turn and enable one’s return to working life. The study will produce topical register-based data on those factors that help in recovering one’s work ability and return to work after a sickness leave. The subjects’ health status, unemployment periods, sickness leaves as well as earlier pension and rehabilitation decisions before the application for disability pension are examined for the study.  The material is comprised of extensive register-based material on working-age population, including data sampled from different registers.

The project is in progress during the period 2012–2018.

Cooperation partners: Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK).

Additional information: Jenni Blomgren, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1893, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

PRIVATE MEDICAL AND DENTAL SERVICES

The elderly within the health service market (VANTTERA study)

The aim of the Vanttera project is to explore the use of private medical services among people in retirement age in the Päijät-Häme region. The study includes a register-based analysis of the use of health services among retirement-aged people, a questionnaire survey among pensioners concerning their willingness to pay for health care services and an interview study among experts to collect their views on the provision of health services for the ageing population. The project is being undertaken in collaboration between Kela,  the University of Helsinki and the health research project Ikihyvä Päijät-Häme. The objective is to investigate the following:

In what ways has the use of private medical services among the retirement-age population changed from the year 2002 to the year 2012?

How does retirement with pension affect an individual’s use of medical services?

  • What is the division of work between the municipal and private sector in terms of the provision of health care for people in retirement age?
  • What is the willingness to pay for health services among patients, and is there a variation in the use of private medical services in the Päijät-Häme region?
  • The study started in 2015, and articles will be published as the study advances.

Additional information: Sari Kehusmaa, tel. +358 (0)20 634 2866 and Ulla Tuominen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1904, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

New models of operation in dental care

The project consists of three sub-studies. In the first one the results of partnership projects between private and public dental services will be evaluated. The study follows private sector patients' use of services and the types of procedures (and their costs) performed on them. Dental procedures and costs of patients in the partnership project are compared to procedures and visits of other patients using private services.

The second sub-study looks to evaluate the operations of different companies in the dental care market and how changes in the market affect procedures performed on patients, treatment practices and the frequency of use. In the third sub-study the effects of a voucher trial on the compensations for dental expenses and the service providers' pricing are evaluated by using Helsinki as a case example.

The data used in the sub-studies is the Kela register of compensations for medical expenses 2008–2015 and the data is analysed with applicable statistical methods.

Additional information:
Hennamari Mikkola, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1890, firstname.lastname@kela.fi and Merja Komu, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1959, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Online access to health care service fee data

This project seeks to create a data repository within Kela's statistical database to collect data on fees charged for the services of private physicians and for laboratory tests and x-rays on a yearly basis. The database will contain price details about the most common types of visits to physicians and dentists (e.g. surgery, internal medicine), laboratory tests and medical procedures (e.g. the most frequent imaging and ultrasound examinations). The data is set to be open and to make price comparisons possible for citizens. The service was opened to users in April 2012.

Additional information: Ulla Tuominen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1904, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

MEDICINES

Medicine reimbursement system: assessing the development and savings measures

According to the Government Programme, the expenditure for medicine reimbursements shall be reduced by a total of 134 million euro in 2017 on top of the already realised savings.    This development project involves an assessment of the proposed savings measures, which will serve as background support for the decision-making process. Other aims of the project are to further develop the simulation tool in use and to produce data that can be utilised in the development of the medicine reimbursement system. The project will be undertaken in 2016–2018.

Additional information: Jaana Martikainen, tel. +358 (0)40 192 3827, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Trends in the use of diabetes medications in 2003–2015

Over the past decade, the costs for diabetes medications have increased strongly. Several new medicinal products have entered the market and their use has expanded rapidly. The aim of the study is to investigate the use and costs of various diabetes medications during 2003–2015.  Another aim of the study is to explore possible socioeconomic differences in medication that is in line with treatment recommendations. 

Additional information: Katri Aaltonen, tel. +358 (0)40 132 1429, firstname.lastname@kela.fi.

Follow-up of changes to medicine reimbursements in 2016

As of the start of 2016, several changes were made to the system of medicine reimbursements for the purpose of reducing the expenditure from medicine reimbursements (Government proposals 330/2014, 106/2015 and 128/2015). Changes with a direct effect on the patient’s out-of-pocket payments included the introduction of an annual initial deductible (non-reimbursable sum), the increase of the compensation percentage in the basic refund category and the increase of fixed deductibles. The aim of the study is to evaluate the influence of these changes, which became valid in 2016, on the deductibles paid by the patients, their purchasing behaviours and the medicine reimbursements within the sickness insurance system. The changes are analysed at a general level from the perspectives of both the sickness insurance system and patients, and also at a more detailed level specifically for different patient and population groups on the basis of data on special refund entitlements as well as on socioeconomic and demographic factors. Another objective of the study is to produce data for comparison with the results obtained by advance simulations in order to further develop and validate the simulation method.

The study is a sub-study (WP3.4) in the TITA consortium project coordinated by the University of Turku and funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland.  The project aims, among other things, to evaluate the impacts of the initial deductible, which was introduced in 2016, analysed by patient groups and socio-demographic factors.

Additional information: Katri Aaltonen, tel. +358 (0)40 132 1429, firstname.lastname@kela.fi.

Factors underlying the increase in the expenditures for prescription medications

The expenditures for prescription medications have increased continuously in Finland over the last few decades. The project analyses the factors behind this increase in selected drug categories between 1998 and 2005. The analysis is planned to encompass antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-infectives and non-steroidal anti-infective painkillers. The range of drugs may be expanded or changed as necessary.

The research data will be collected from the prescription register maintained by Kela and the register of medical specializations.

The study began in 2006. Articles will be published as the study proceeds.

Cooperation partner: Kela ITC unit.

Additional information: Hanna Koskinen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1902, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

The effects of pharmaceutical cost containment policies on the access to medicines in Finland and New Zealand

The objective of regulating the pharmaceutical market is generally to contain costs, especially public expenditure, without compromising equity in access to safe and cost-effective therapies. The aims of the study are to evaluate and compare cost containment policies and their effects on the access to medicines in Finland and New Zealand. The variables used to describe access are range of available medicines and out-of-pocket costs for medicines. The focus of the study is on older people.

The data used consist of registers and interview data, such as the pharmacies' sales registers, Kela's prescription database and Household Budget Survey data of Statistics Finland.

Additional information:
Katri Aaltonen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1941, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

The impact of a reference pricing system and stepwise discounted prices on the prices of generic medicines

Promotion of generic substitution and increased price competition are widely used methods for the purpose of containing the rise in medicinal costs. In Finland, like many other European countries, attempts have been made to indirectly reduce the prices of generic medicines by means of generic substitution and reference pricing.  Austria is an example of a country where the government directly influences the prices of generic medicines. In Austria, the price of the first generic product must be at least 48% lower than the price of the original medicinal product, and the price of the second generic product 15% lower than the price of the first generic product.

The study aims to compare the volume of generic products and the prices of generic vs. original products in Finland and Austria. The study is jointly carried out in cooperation with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies unit in Vienna, Austria.

Additional information: Jaana Martikainen, tel. +358 (0)40 192 3827, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Use of ADHD medication in the Nordic countries

In 2007, the frequency of the use of ADHD medicines varied considerably across the Nordic countries. In Finland, the use was the least. According to preliminary information, it appears that the use of ADHD medicines has rapidly expanded in countries where they were previously used to a limited extent. The purpose of the study is to compare the frequency and forms of use of ADHD medicines in the Nordic countries in 2007–2012.  The study is a collaborative project involving Kela in Finland, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Southern University of Denmark, the University of Iceland, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Additional information: Jaana Martikainen, tel. +358 (0)40 192 3827, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Medicine costs in integrated social and health services – Case EKSOTE

The study aims to evaluate, within the South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote), how the integration of social and health services and the transfer of the responsibility for the provision of the services from municipalities to a larger region would affect the medicinal and health care expenditure within the region. The study also analyses the medicinal costs of different population groups using social and health services. Additionally, the analysis concerns the transfer of the responsibility for medicinal costs to a wider social and health service region and the subsequent effects on the medicinal costs across the different service user groups.

The study is related to the work of a taskforce appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to investigate the multi-channel funding of health care services.

Additional information: Leena K. Saastamoinen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1972, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Long-term use of sedatives and hypnotics in Finland

Sedatives (tranquilisers) and hypnotics (sleeping pills) are among the most commonly used medicines in Finland.  According to the treatment recommendations, these medicines should only be prescribed for short-term use of no more than a few weeks because of their harmful effects. Nevertheless, their long-term use is common. This register-based study investigates the development of long-term use of sedatives and hypnotics in Finland and associated factors.

The study is being implemented as a joint research project by Turku University Hospital, Kela Research, the Universities of Turku and Helsinki, and the Niuvanniemi Hospital. The data sources include several of Kela’s benefit registers as well as data from other registers.

From Kela Research, Leena Saastamoinen, Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson and Terhi Kurko participate in the project.

Additional information: Terhi Kurko, tel. +358 (0)20 634 0726, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

SICKNESS BENEFITS

Sickness benefit recipients and changes by population groups and costs in Finland in 1990–2014

Absences due to illness are known to predict a likelihood of long-term work disability. However, there is very little researched knowledge on the recipients of sickness benefits, as provided by Kela, and trends across various population groups. 

The aim of this study is to analyse changes in the use of sickness benefits paid by Kela in 1990– 2014 in terms of certain essential population groups, various regions and different diagnostic groups.  The study will show which groups have seen positive development and which groups have a need for additional activities to promote work ability and to reduce and shorten periods on sickness benefits. The study will also address the costs of sickness benefit periods.

The project is being implemented in 2015–2017.

Cooperation partners: University of Helsinki.

Additional information: Jenni Blomgren, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1893, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

REHABILITATION AND ABILITY TO WORK

Impacts of rehabilitation changes on the customer (Muutos project).

The project aims to investigate the impacts and consequences experienced by customers due to the changes in the rehabilitation services provided by Kela. The project is comprised of several sub-studies focusing on different forms of rehabilitation or benefits. The underlying factors include changes in legislation or reforms based on the results of development work. The study involves the investigation of the implementation of rehabilitation services in a situation where the contents, activities or conditions related to a particular service or benefit have changed or where a completely new service has been created. The research focuses on the customer perspective: Is the rehabilitation timely and appropriate for the person receiving it? The purpose is to produce knowledge that is applicable to the development, steering and advocacy work within the field of rehabilitation.

The project is being implemented over the period of 1 May 2015 - 31 December 2019, financed with development funds in accordance with the law (KKRL § 12) and coordinated by Kela Research.

Additional information: Riitta Seppänen-Järvelä, tel. +358 (0)40 183 8920, firstname.lastname@kela.fi.

Multimodal neuropsychiatric family rehabilitation evaluation study

Kela contributes, for its part, to the well-being of families with children by supplementing the public health care services. In terms of mental and behavioural disorders among children and adolescents (aged 5–15 years), Kela focuses on the development and research of multimodal family rehabilitation.

During 2010–2018, two development projects are underway in Kela, one concerning the multimodal family rehabilitation (family intervention program LAKU) and the other concerning a teleservice model for family rehabilitation (Etä-LAKU).  Multimodal rehabilitation services are intended for families with a 5–12-year-old child who has been diagnosed with a neuropsychiatric disorder and possible other concurrent mental or behavioural disturbances.

The purpose of family rehabilitation is to support the child’s growth and development and coping with everyday life at home, day care and school as well as among friends and peers. The methods are selected to suit the age and target groups. For each family, the target is to reinforce the resources of the child’s parents and to support the mutual interaction among family members through family psychotherapy methods. A family rehabilitation process lasts 1–2 years.

The aim of the study is to evaluate the acceptance and suitability of multimodal family rehabilitation for the target group and assess the impacts of family rehabilitation on the well-being of the child and parents. The study has been registered in a public research register. The final report on the study will be published in the Kela Research Publications series in autumn 2018. The results will also be reported in national and international peer reviewed publications in the fields of medicine, social medicine and nursing science.

Cooperation partners: Kela Rehabilitation group, Hospital District of Southwest Finland/ Turku University Hospital, University of Turku

Additional information: Miika Vuori, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1500, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Disability and rehabilitation benefits for youth

The purpose of the project is to produce information about trends in the use of disability and rehabilitation benefits granted to young people, and about vocational rehabilitation benefits intended for youth and the related changes.   In addition, the study maps the pathways leading to disability pensioning as well as the later situation and background factors for young people who have applied for or been granted various benefits based on illness.

Project period: 1 September 2013–31 December 2019.

Additional information: Karoliina Koskenvuo, tel. +358 (0)20 6341355, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Rehabilitation to support the study and working life abilities of young adults suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders (Oma Väylä project)

In 2015, Kela initiated a project entitled Oma Väylä (‘Own Path’) with an aim to develop a group and individual rehabilitation model for young adults with neuropsychiatric disorders. The target group is comprised of young adults (aged 18–38 years) who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome or Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The Oma Väylä rehabilitation aims to reinforce and develop the study abilities, working life skills and everyday life management skills of young adults with a neuropsychiatric disorder.  Social skills are trained within everyday environments, such as home, school or the workplace. The 18-month-long rehabilitation process is implemented by a multiprofessional team, including a work coach who serves as a special worker, and also a working life specialist. The project supports, for its part, the realisation of the Youth Guarantee, which aims to advance young persons’ placement in education or the labour market and to prevent marginalisation or prolonged unemployment.

As part of the project, an evaluation study is being conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), jointly with Kela Research, to assess the aspects of development and impact.  In terms of development, the study aims to collect data on the process of seeking rehabilitation, the implementation of group rehabilitation, the integration of rehabilitation into everyday life and the motivation of rehabilitees. Observation and other qualitative methods are used as research methods. Data concerning the efficacy of the rehabilitation model and the success of collaboration with stakeholders will be collected through questionnaires and interviews among rehabilitees, service providers and interest groups.

The research project covers the years 2015–2018 and its results will be reported in national and international publications.

Additional information: Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1877, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Implementation of Kela’s rehabilitation psychotherapy after the legislative change in 2011

At the start of 2011, the provision of rehabilitation psychotherapy became a statutory responsibility of Kela, instead of being a discretionary service. The change means, in practice, that the number of rehabilitees shall no longer be limited by the appropriations tied to a particular budget year. The criteria for receiving rehabilitation psychotherapy are mostly the same as earlier. The study population is comprised of the applicants and recipients of rehabilitation psychotherapy in 2011 and 2012, and the aim is to compare the situation after the legislative change to the situation before the change. On the basis of register data, we examine if the increase in psychotherapies is reflected as changes in the distributions of the demographic factors, occupation, diagnoses, psychotropic medication and sickness allowances among the rehabilitees, as compared to the situation before the amendment of the law.  Another aim of our research is to examine the labour market activity of the recipients of the statutory psychotherapy before the rehabilitation, at its start and end, as well as during a two-year follow-up. We also investigate the implementation of rehabilitation psychotherapies of varying duration and the refusal and granting decisions concerning rehabilitation psychotherapies.

The research project covers the years 2016–2017 and its results will be reported in national and international publications.

Additional information: Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, tel. +358 (0)40 562 9396, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Cognitive rehabilitation model to support the functioning ability of patients with schizophrenic first-episode psychosis (Tiedonvirtaa project)

Cognitive rehabilitation is a form of goal-oriented, systematic and functional therapy that is based on neuropsychological knowledge about the effects of brain function disorders on individual behaviour and the brain plasticity in response to rehabilitation. Insufficient resources have restricted the possibilities to offer this form of rehabilitation to psychiatric patients even though there is research evidence of its potential benefits for them. The Tiedonvirtaa (‘Stream of knowledge’) project aims to develop a model of cognitive rehabilitation intended for 18–35-year-olds suffering from schizophrenic first-episode psychosis, to be provided as a supplementary service to the cognitive rehabilitation service provided within public health care. The purpose is to contribute to the development of the service system and, in particular, the sharing of resources of neuropsychological competence so as to ensure the nationwide provision of services.

The rehabilitation model is intended to improve the patient’s cognitive functioning and prevent the negative psychosocial effects of the impaired cognitive functioning resulting from first-episode psychosis. The project involves an evaluation study for the purpose of investigating if the one-year individual cognitive rehabilitation enhances the cognitive and psychosocial functioning ability of the patients with first-episode psychosis, and whether it increases their opportunities in planning their own education and employment paths. Comparisons are made between the patients receiving Tiedonvirtaa rehabilitation and a group of age and gender-matched patients with schizophrenic first-episode psychosis who are receiving standard health care services.

The research project covers the years 2016–2020 and its results will be reported in national and international publications.

Additional information: Annamari Tuulio-Henriksson, tel. +358 (0)40 562 9396, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

KELA'S SERVICES AND OPERATIONS AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY

Citizens' views on Kela, Kela's benefits and their implementation

The study surveys citizens' perceptions of Kela, Kela's benefits and their implementation. Kela's operations and the needs to develop them are assessed from the viewpoint of both Kela's public image and customer satisfaction. The study is a sequel to the citizen surveys conducted in 2000, 2002–2005 and 2008–2014, and therefore it is also possible to observe the change over time.

The data are collected through phone interviews. The number of interviews will total 1000. The persons interviewed represent the population that has reached the age of 15, excluding the Åland Islands.

Cooperation partner: TNS Gallup

Additional information: Hannu Mattila, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1956, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

A questionnaire survey on benefits and benefit administration

The study explores the experiences and ideas for improvement that customers have about the implementation of Kela's benefit programmes. The data for the study is collected with questionnaires sent out to 3,000 persons who have received a benefit-related decision from Kela about a week earlier.

The study will also investigate customers' views about benefits administered by Kela, the existing customer services and new services they would like to see, and Kela's overall public image.

Additional information: Markku Laatu, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1945, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

The Kela Barometer – staff survey

The survey is conducted among Kela’s staff to clarify their experiences of well-being at work and the functioning of the work community. The Barometer results tell about the development of well-being at work within Kela as a whole and in its various units. The information will be used for HR management, thereby contributing to the development of Kela’s operations.

Additional information: Piia Bogdanoff, tel. +358 (0)50 551 7148, firstname.lastname@kela.fi and Minna Ylikännö, tel. +358 (0)50 313 8712, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Social assistance service collaboration between Kela and municipalities

The transfer of the basic social assistance to be paid out from Kela became a topic on political agendas in 2013. At that time, Kela and the City of Vantaa initiated a trial concerning service collaboration in social services. In its framework budget session in March 2014, the Government made a decision to transfer the basic social assistance payments from the municipalities to Kela as of the beginning of 2017.

Various stakeholders’ views concerning the trial and the plans to transfer the basic social assistance to Kela are investigated through interviews and questionnaire surveys. Target groups include the management and employees within Kela and municipal social services, citizens, customers and the authorities overseeing the legal protection of the customers.

Ongoing surveys:

  • Customer survey concerning the service collaboration between the City of Vantaa and Kela
    Additional information: Markku Laatu, tel. +358 (0)20 63 41945, firstname.lastname@kela.fi and Hanna-Mari Heinonen, tel. +358 (0)20 63 41966, firstname.lastname@kela.fi
  • Personnel survey concerning the service collaboration between the City of Vantaa and Kela
  • Questionnaire survey among the management of municipal social services and Kela’s insurance districts (Social Barometer 2014)
    Additional information: Tyyne Hakkarainen (Soste), tel. +358 (0)50 574 2544 and Anne Eronen (Soste), tel. +358 (0)40 678 9441, firstname.lastname@soste.fi.
  • Questionnaire survey among citizens
    Additional information: Mikko Niemelä, tel. +358 (0)40 706 2750, firstname.lastname@kela.fi
  • Questionnaire survey among authorities overseeing the legal protection of customers receiving basic social assistance
    Additional information: Markku Laatu, tel. +358 020 63 41945, firstname.lastname@kela.fi
  • Different types of basic social assistance – overlap, similarities and differences
    Additional information: Elina Ahola, tel. +358 (0)20 63 41879, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Immigrants and various transaction processes

The implementation of social security for unemployed individuals living on basic security involves many different offices and agencies: the individual registers as an unemployed jobseeker at the local TE office, applies for unemployment benefits from Kela and possibly seeks assistance from the municipal social services.  For immigrants, the processes are even more difficult to manage due to the language barrier and unfamiliarity with the system. It is known that those who have only recently come to Finland find it particularly difficult to manage their matters within the scattered network of authorities.

The study concerns unemployed people who live on basic security in the Helsinki metropolitan area and the aim is to explore how they manage their matters through the different official processes. For the first time, the registers of different authorities are used for the purpose of analysing these processes. The register data are supplemented by interviewing the representatives of the authorities. The study pays particular attention to the course of these processes among immigrants as compared to the processes among the native population. The objective of the study is to identify and localise problematic points in the implementation of social security among the unemployed, with special reference to immigrants, and to provide evidence-based suggestions for improvement.

Cooperation partners: City of Helsinki, City of Espoo, City of Vantaa, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Additional information: Jussi Tervola, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1874, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM:

Changing Salo 2013–2023

A sharp change in the economic structure has taken place in Salo within a short period of time after Nokia closed down a mobile phone factory in town. The study Changing Salo 2013–2023 looks at the effects such a large scale structural change has on the well-being of individuals and the region. As part of the study a survey is conducted to gather information about Salo residents' unemployment, livelihood, well-being and health. Additionally, the economic development of the region and the effectiveness of support measures targeted at Salo will be investigated and changes in the provision of public services in ten years (2013–2023) will be monitored.

The first results will be reported in autumn 2013. The study is a collaboration of the Kela Research Department and the University of Turku.

Additional information: Sari Kehusmaa, tel. +358 (0)20 634 2866, firstname.lastname@kela.fi and Minna Ylikännö, tel. +358 (0)2 333 8896, firstname.lastname@utu.fi

HEALTH INSURANCE SYSTEM

Kela’s benefits within the social and health care system

The project aims to investigate the integration of private health care costs that are reimbursed by Kela, public (municipal) health care and occupational health care as well as social services and benefits in the City of Oulu. The available register material covers the residents of Oulu in 2013 and includes data on their utilisation of different services. The material provides a broad perspective into the overall take-up and costs of services and benefits in the various sectors of health care and public social services.  The project is divided into several sub-projects.

Cooperation partners: City of Oulu, occupational health service providers, NHG

Additional information: Jenni Blomgren, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1893, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Travel costs (Matkat project)

The project investigates travel cost reimbursements from health insurance, partly on the basis of register data and partly from a qualitative perspective.  In the register-based study, data obtained from Kela’s registers are combined with data from the registers of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) concerning the use of health care services, for the purpose of analysing the allocation of travel cost reimbursements across various illnesses and diagnoses. For the qualitative sub-study, individuals receiving reimbursements for travel costs are interviewed in order to gather information about their experiences related to the travel cost reimbursements and, for example, the need for assistance during journeys related to health care.  The project is being implemented in 2014–2016.

Cooperation partners: University of Helsinki

Additional information: Päivi Tillman, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1927, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

INCOME SECURITY SYSTEM

Sustainable well-being

"Sustainable well-being" is a future-focused research project aimed at outlining social policy approaches, models and practices that would better address the demands of sustainable development. The project is based on the idea that well-being is multidimensional, that these dimensions are interdependent, and that all activity aimed at creating well-being must occur within ecologically sustainable boundaries. The project consists of several articles and a trilogy of books.

Available in English:

  • Salonen, Arto O. & Helne, Tuula (2012) Vegetarian Diets: A Way Towards a Sustainable Society. Journal of Sustainable Development 5 (6).
  • Hirvilammi, Tuuli & Helne, Tuula (2014) Changing Paradigms: A Sketch for Sustainable Wellbeing and Ecosocial Policy. Sustainability 6 (4).
  • Helne, Tuula & Hirvilammi, Tuuli (2015) Wellbeing and Sustainability: A Relational Approach. Sustainable Development 23.  
  • Helne, Tuula & Salonen, Arto O. (2016) Ecosocial food policy: improving human, animal and planetary wellbeing. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 12 (2).
  • Helne, Tuula & Hirvilammi, Tuuli (2017) The relational conception of wellbeing as a catalyst for the ecosocial transition. In Aila-Leena Matthies and Kati Närhi (eds.)The Ecosocial Transition of Societies. The Contribution of Social Work and Social Policy. London: Routledge.

Additional information: Tuula Helne, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1582, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Microsimulation

Microsimulation methods are used to simulate and analyse the effects of legislation on household transfers and taxes. Microsimulation is useful both in drafting legislation and as a tool of tax and social security research. For example, it allows the researcher to examine long-term trends in social security legislation and to test the impact of different hypothetical changes in legislation on household incomes.

The Research Department will participate in the design of a new simulation model, which will be maintained by Statistics Finland. The Department is already involved in the updating and maintenance of the JUTTA microsimulation model.

Cooperation partners: Statistics Finland, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, National Institute for Health and Wellbeing, Government Institute for Economic Research, Labour Institute for Economic Research, Library of Parliament's Information Service.

Additional information: Pertti Honkanen, tel. +358 (0)20 634 1467, firstname.lastname@kela.fi

Last modified 14/12/2017
Updated 22/10/2012