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Benefits available from Kela

The benefits available from Kela cover a wide range of situations. For example, Kela provides financial assistance to families with children, students, people of working age, and pensioners. Kela can also provide benefits in the event of illness, incapacity and functional impairment.

Who can get benefits from Kela?

Most Kela benefits are available in situations where your ability to earn a living or to keep working has declined. You can also get benefits in specific situations of life, such as childbirth or when a young person starts studying.

Kela provides conscript’s allowances for persons performing their compulsory military or alternative civilian service and for their spouse and children. Conscript’s allowance can also be paid to cover housing costs for the conscript’s permanent home and interest on student loans.

Learn more about benefits for conscripts.

Kela can provide housing benefits for those with a low income. They are available for both rented and owner-occupied housing. A certain share of the housing costs is payable by the recipient.

Learn more about housing benefits.

Kela can pay you a national pension if your earnings-related pension is small or if you receive no earnings-related pension. Persons receiving a small pension may, in addition, be paid a guarantee pension.

Pensioners can also apply to Kela for the following benefits: housing allowance for pensioners, care allowance for pensioners, child increase and front-veteran's supplement.

Older persons who have been unemployed a long time and who find it difficult to find work can get pension assistance before qualifying for a pension.

Learn more about benefits for pensioners.

The purpose of rehabilitation is to preserve and improve the functional status and working capacity of incapacitated or disabled persons and to enhance their quality of life. The goals and length of Kela rehabilitation, as well as the types of services granted to you, will be determined according to your individual needs. Services can range from a rehabilitation assessment lasting just a few days to a longer-term rehabilitation process.

Persons undergoing rehabilitation can be paid a rehabilitation allowance. If an employer pays the employee a salary during a period of rehabilitation, the allowance is paid to the employer.

Employers can apply for occupation-specific rehabilitation for their employees, which is designed to maintain their work capacity.

Learn more about rehabilitation.

Parents of a small child are entitled to pregnancy, paternity and parental allowances. Financial assistance is also available towards the cost of adopting a child from abroad. Kela provides a child benefit for each child under 17 years of age. Higher rates of child benefit apply for single parents. To support the care of small children, Kela provides home care and private day care allowances.

Learn more about benefits for families with children.

Persons living or working in Finland are usually eligible for social security benefits from Kela.

Someone moving permanently to Finland usually becomes eligible for Kela benefits immediately. When a person who has moved to Finland applies for benefits, Kela determines whether they are living in Finland permanently or whether they could be eligible for Kela benefits based on their employment status.

Persons who are living in Finland but are staying abroad temporarily (for less than 6 months) are usually eligible for Kela benefits.

If a temporary residence abroad becomes permanent the eligibility for Kela benefits ends immediately.

For more information, see the International situations section.

Kela can provide financial aid to full-time students. Financial aid includes a study grant, a government guarantee for student loans and a housing supplement. Students who rent a home may be entitled to general housing allowance.

Student financial aid is available to students in upper secondary school/senior high school, an institute of vocational education or an institution of higher education and students who complete other separately specified studies. Students’ own income, and sometimes also that of their parents, may affect their eligibility and the amount of financial aid they can get.

Other benefits for students provided by Kela are, for example, the school transport subsidy, the student loan compensation and subsidised meals.

Learn more about benefits for students.

When a spouse or the father, mother or other guardian of a child dies, the surviving spouse and children are entitled to survivors’ pensions.

Surviving family members can get a survivor’s pension from Kela and from the deceased person’s pension provider. Survivors’ pensions are also provided as part of workers’ compensation and motor insurance plans.

Surviving spouses on a low income can also get a housing allowance or a housing allowance for pensioners from Kela.

For more information, see the Benefits for survivors section.

Basic social assistance can be provided to individuals or families whose income and assets do not cover their essential daily needs, such as food, housing and medicine.

If a family has expenses which basic social assistance does not cover, the municipal social services office may, at its discretion, grant the family supplementary or preventive social assistance.

Learn more about basic social assistance.

Kela provides reimbursement to patients for part of the fees charged by doctors in private practice and for part of the diagnostic and treatment charges of private-sector health care providers. Reimbursements are also available for the cost of dental services obtained from the private sector. In addition, Kela provides reimbursements for the cost of travelling to a healthcare provider and for prescription medicines.

Those who are unfit for work are entitled to a sickness allowance. The sickness allowance provides compensation for the loss of income resulting from the illness. If an incapacitated employee is entitled to sick pay from his or her employer, the sickness allowance is paid to the employer.

Persons covered by the Finnish social security system are entitled to medical care during a temporary residence in another EU/EEA EEA or in Switzerland. As proof of entitlement, a European Health Insurance Card – available free of charge from Kela - must be presented.

Learn more about sickness benefits.

Kela compensates employers for costs associated with their employees’ paid sickness absences and family leaves, and for the costs of preventive occupational healthcare. Kela also compensates employers for part of general practitioner level services if obtained by the employer as part of occupational healthcare. Employers can also apply for a workplace-customised KIILA rehabilitation course to support their employees’ work capacity.

Learn more in the Employers section (In Finnish).

Unemployed persons who do not belong to an unemployment fund or who have exhausted their entitlement to fund-provided benefits get can get unemployment benefits from Kela. These are the basic unemployment allowance and the labour market subsidy.

Unemployment benefits are paid only during the period that the unemployed person is listed as an unemployed jobseeker (looking for a job) with the TE Services. The TE Services give Kela a statement about whether unemployment benefits can be paid.

More information about benefits for the unemployed.

Kela arranges interpreter service for the disabled. The interpreter service aims to promote the possibilities of persons with hearing impairment, with vision and hearing impairment or with speech impairment to be active members of society on equal terms with others.

Learn more about the interpreter service for the disabled.

Kela provides disabled and chronically ill persons with a disability allowance or pensioners' care allowance, the purpose of which is to help them to cope better with the challenges of everyday life. The amount of the allowance depends on the specific nature of the illness or impairment and the restrictions it imposes.

More information about disability allowances.

Self-employed persons are entitled to the same benefits as employees. The earned income under the YEL (Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act) or MYEL (Farmers’ Pensions Act) pension insurance schemes for self-employed persons affects the amounts of daily allowances, unemployment allowances and pensions.

More information about benefits for self-employed person (in Finnish).

How much is my benefit?

The amounts of the benefits available from Kela are laid down in law. The amount of your benefit often depends on your personal situation, your income and expenses, the municipality you live in, and the degree to which you need help.

More information about the amount and payment of benefits is available on the pages describing the individual benefits.

Calculate the amount of assistance that may be available to you

You can use online calculators to estimate whether you might be eligible for Kela benefits. The calculators will also tell you how much you could get. Please remember that the calculators can only provide an estimate, which is based on the information you supply. You will find out the exact amount when your benefit application has been approved by Kela.

Calculators (only in Finnish and Swedish)

Last modified 19/1/2024

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