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Social security coverage for family members

The term ‘family member’ refers to married spouses and partners who are cohabiting or in a registered partnership. Also regarded as family members are children under the age of 18 years (children of one’s own, adopted children or children of one’s spouse or partner if living in the same household).

The eligibility of family members for benefits depends on whether they are considered to be moving to Finland on a temporary or permanent basis. If your residence in Finland is deemed to be temporary but you later start work in Finland, your eligibility for social security in Finland is determined on the same grounds as for employees.

If you move to Finland with a family member, your status is usually assessed on the basis of whether your family member who comes to work or study in Finland is considered to be resident here. If you move to be with a family member who is already living in Finland, you are usually entitled to benefits.

Family members who come from an EU country receive benefits from the country where they live permanently. If you move to Finland from an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, your move to Finland must be considered permanent in order for you to qualify for coverage under the Finnish social security system. If you are staying in Finland temporarily, you may be entitled to medical care and family benefits in Finland. Contact Kela to check your entitlement to these.

If you move to Finland with someone who is an employee posted (sent on a temporary assignment) to Finland, your entitlement to social security coverage in Finland is determined on the basis of whether you are moving to Finland temporarily or permanently, even if your spouse or partner is covered by the social security system in his or her country of origin.

You are not considered permanently resident in Finland if your family member works at a foreign mission or for an intergovernmental organisation. If you were already living in Finland on a permanent basis before your family member’s employment at a diplomatic mission or with an organisation, you can continue to receive benefits from Kela.

Family members of posted workers from countries that have a social security agreement with Finland

Family members who move to Finland from a country that has a social security agreement with Finland must be permanently resident in Finland in order to qualify for Kela benefits. Persons who come from a country other than the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland must have a residence permit for at least one year.

According to certain social security agreements, a person who is hired locally to work at a diplomatic mission can choose which country’s social security he or she wishes to be covered under. This choice has no effect on the country under whose social security system this person’s family members are covered.

The social security agreements usually concern pensions. Some social security agreements may contain provisions on individual benefits. The social security agreements with China, India and South Korea do not concern Kela benefits at all.

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Last modified 31/7/2023