Quick guide to housing benefits

If you have a low income and cannot meet your housing costs, you may have a right to housing benefits. The specific benefit available depends on your circumstances. This quick guide tells you how to apply for housing benefits.

Types of housing benefits


Types of housing benefits

Kela provides assistance with housing costs in a number of different ways. You can apply for general housing allowance, housing allowance for pensioners, housing assistance for conscripts, or a housing supplement for students. Find out which housing benefit is for you.

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General housing allowance


Who’s included in your household

Kela pays the housing allowance to the household as a whole. Typically everyone sharing a home is part of the same household. This means that the amount of the housing allowance depends on the income of all household members. The exception to this are persons under 18, whose income is relevant to the housing allowance only if they are claiming the allowance by themselves or together with their spouse or partner.

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Housing benefits are linked to gross income

The amount of housing benefits is linked to gross household income. Gross income means income before deduction for taxes. The income is taken into account either as income received continuously or as an amount averaged over a certain period of time. An earnings deduction of EUR 300 is made for salary and self-employment income. This means that the income which is factored into the calculation of housing benefit is smaller than the actual income.

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Type of home

Assistance with housing costs is available for rental, right-of-occupancy, part-ownership and owner-occupied homes.

Kela covers 80% of acceptable housing costs. Acceptable housing costs are subject to certain limits which depend on the type of home you live in.

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Calculate the amount of housing benefit available to you

You can estimate the amount of housing allowance you would be entitled to with a calculator (in Finnish).


Apply for housing benefits

You can apply for housing allowance quickly and easily online. Housing allowance can be paid retroactively for one month before the month in which you file an application.

Remember to attach all necessary supporting documents. This will speed up the processing of your application.

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Kela sends you a decision on your application

On average, applications for housing allowance take three weeks to review. If housing allowance is awarded retroactively, the retroactive amounts are paid at once. The housing allowance is paid either into your own account or the account of your landlord.

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Report any changes in your circumstances as soon as possible

Changes in your income or personal circumstances may affect the amount of housing allowance available to you. Remember to report such changes to Kela.

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Annual review

The housing allowance is reviewed at least once a year. Kela sends you a letter about the annual review of the allowance. You can complete the review either online or use a paper form. If you fail to request an annual review in time, payment of the housing allowance is discontinued.

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Housing allowance for pensioners


Pensioner with low income

If you receive a pension and your income is small, you may be entitled to housing allowance for pensioners or general housing allowance.

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Housing assistance for students


Housing benefits for students

Students can get general housing allowance under the same conditions as everyone else. It is not necessary to be an active student to qualify for housing allowance, but study grant payments count as income for housing allowance purposes.

The housing supplement for students is available to certain specific groups of students, such as those studying abroad and students of folk high schools who live in a school dormitory.


Does the income of my roommate affect my housing benefits?

If you are renting a home with another person and you have a joint rental agreement, any housing benefits you get will also be shared between the two of you. This means that both of your incomes affect the amount of the housing benefits.

Your roommates should be prepared to provide information about their housing arrangements. Usually, Kela will regard two persons sharing a home to be cohabiting, and a cohabiting couple will always be considered to be part of the same household regardless of the kind of rental agreement they have.

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Housing assistance for conscripts


Housing assistance for those in active service

If you enter service and apply for housing assistance you will have to have lived independently for at least three months before entering service in order to qualify for the assistance.

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