Child maintenance allowance

In the case of a divorce or separation, the family can turn to Kela for support. Kela can pay child maintenance allowance if the parent liable to pay maintenance fails to do so, or if the amount of child support confirmed is lower than the amount of child maintenance allowance. Child maintenance allowance is also payable when there is no parent with maintenance liability.

  • Child support = the amount paid by the parent liable to pay maintenance for a child. The amount is confirmed in a maintenance agreement or in a court order.
  • Child maintenance allowance = a benefit paid by Kela to provide economic security for children who do not get child support from the parent who is liable for maintenance.
  • Person liable for maintenance = a parent required to pay child support under a child support agreement or court order.
  • Non-resident parent = a parent liable for maintenance, who does not live in the same household with the child.
  • Resident parent = a parent who lives in the same household with the child.

Agreement on child support

On separating or divorcing, the parents can agree on child support in an agreement confirmed by the municipal social welfare office. The agreement is usually drawn up by a child welfare officer. If the parents are unable to agree on the payment of child support, the case will be settled in court. If so, the court will confirm the amount of child support to be paid.

The parents can also reach an informal agreement on child support, but in order for child maintenance allowance to be payable, they must have a confirmed maintenance agreement or a court order on child support.

Further information about child support and confirmation of the amount of support is available, for example, from the social welfare office of your municipality.

Who can get the benefit?

Kela pays child maintenance allowance to the child’s legal guardian or to another person in whose care the child is. Kela can also grant and pay the benefit to the child itself, if he/she has reached the age of 15 and lives independently.

When can you get child maintenance allowance?

You can get child maintenance allowance from Kela in the following situations:

  • The parent liable for maintenance has not paid the child support by the due date and the child support for at least one full month is still unpaid.
  • The confirmed child support is lower than the child maintenance allowance due to the financial situation of the parent liable for maintenance.
  • No child support has been confirmed to be paid due to the financial situation of the parent liable for maintenance.
  • You have adopted the child as a single parent.
  • A child born out of wedlock (born to parents who were not married at the time of birth, or to a single parent) does not have a legally established father, nor does it have two parents who are liable for maintenance.
  • The child is born in the marriage between its mother and her female partner, but the child has no legally established other parent and the mother's female partner has not adopted the child.
  • It has not been possible to confirm child support at the same time as establishing legal paternity or motherhood. Such a situation may arise, for example, if more than one person has to be tested and confirmed as a parent at the same time.

You cannot get child maintenance allowance from Kela in the following situations:

  • You do not have a maintenance agreement confirmed by the municipal social welfare office or a court order.
  • The child is living with the parent liable for maintenance.
  • The child lives abroad.
  • The child has an income of his/her own enabling the child to support him/herself. That is, the child has an earned income or capital income of at least EUR 791.60 per month during a period of at least 6 months. If the child lives independently, the income limit is EUR 1,130.86 per month. Social benefits do not affect the child maintenance allowance.
  • The person liable for maintenance has died. If that is the case, you can apply for orphan’s pension.
  • On the basis of having no father, if the father recognised paternity of the child before it was born and the paternity is confirmed.
  • The child of a female couple has no established father, but in addition to the motherhood of the birthing parent, the motherhood of the other partner is also established, or she can adopt her partner’s child. Child maintenance allowance can, however, be paid for the duration of the adoption process.

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