Social security for pensioners

Pensioners who stay abroad continuously for a maximum of six months are usually entitled to Kela benefits since the move abroad is considered temporary. However, if you move abroad permanently or intend to stay abroad for longer than six months, your right to most benefits available from Kela ends effective with the date of the move.

If you repeatedly stay abroad for less than six months in a so called third country, i.e. some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, the country where you spend most of your time is considered as your country of residence.

There are some exceptions to the six-month limit if you are staying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland temporarily and on a one-time basis, or if you stay there regularly but not all of the time. You can retain your right to Kela benefits even if you stay in these countries for longer than six months.  

In that case, your social security coverage is provided by the country of residence to which you are considered to have the closest ties. Factors that are taken into account include

  • history of residence in Finland and abroad
  • current residential arrangements
  • repeated residence in Finland and abroad
  • family ties in Finland and elsewhere
  • the country paying a pension
  • the country taxing pension payments.

When determining a person’s country of residence within the EU area, the other member state’s opinion also counts if the situation is unclear.

You may be entitled to some pensions from Finland even if you are not entitled to other Kela benefits.


Marjatta receives an earnings-related pension from Finland and a national pension from Kela. Marjatta’s adult children live in Finland and Marjatta has a permanent address in Turku. She also has a holiday home in Spain. Marjatta spends time at the holiday home a couple of times per year, at the most about three months at a time.

She is entitled to social security coverage and benefits from Kela for the following reasons:

  • She never spends more than six months in Spain at a time.
  • She spends most of her time in Finland.
  • She has a permanent address in Finland.
  • Her children live in Finland.
  • Her pensions are paid in Finland.

Additional information