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Recovery of overpaid benefits

If Kela recovers benefits from you, you will receive a decision stating the amount to be recovered, the due date for payment and the payment details. The decision also includes instructions on how to appeal against the decision.

The decision specifies a time period within which you can repay the overpaid taxable benefit to its net amount. Recovery to the net amount of the benefit means that you repay the benefit to an amount from which taxes have been deducted. The time limit may vary in accordance with the decision that the Tax Administration makes annually.

If you repay the benefit after this time limit, we can no longer correct the preliminary tax withholding. In this case, the benefit must be repaid to its gross amount. When a benefit is recovered to its gross amount, you will also have to repay the amount withheld as taxes.

Kela automatically reports to the Tax Administration the taxable benefits that you have paid back. You need not report them yourself.

Payment arrangements

If you cannot pay the amount to be recovered by the due date, you can suggest a payment plan to Kela. Instructions are available at How to deal with recovery-related issues.

You can for instance suggest payment in instalments. The amount to be paid monthly must be at least EUR 30. The time for payment can be at the most 3 years.

If Kela accepts your suggestion, we will send you a payment plan. We will not send invoices every month. You can view the details of the payment plan in the OmaKela e-service. Please note that our e-service is only available in Finnish and Swedish.

If you have not paid the debt or agreed on how to pay it, Kela will refer the debt to collection through an enforcement order. Kela usually sends two payment reminders before referring the debt to collection through an enforcement order. 

If you do not have sufficient ability to pay to suggest an acceptable payment plan, Kela will refer the debt to collection through an enforcement order.

Set-off, i.e. deduction from another benefit

In certain situations, Kela can set off the overpaid benefit against, i.e. deduct it from, some other benefit that you receive. You can also yourself suggest a set-off of your debt against a benefit from Kela. The minimum amount for set-off is EUR 30 per month. 

Set-off of the benefit is not possible if you receive social assistance. A certain amount of unemployment benefits is defined as an exempt amount which places limits on the amount that Kela can use to offset overpaid benefits. Thus, Kela will typically not be able to set off the debt against your unemployment benefit because it will most likely be less than the exempt amount. 

Waiving recovery of overpayments

After a decision on recovery has been issued, Kela’s Overpayment Recovery Centre can no longer reduce the amount to be recovered. However, Kela can waive the recovery completely. A prerequisite for a waiver of the recovery is that

  • the debt has been collected for a long time without result
  • all methods of collection, including collection through an enforcement order, have been used
  • your financial situation has worsened permanently, so that the benefit cannot be collected later either.

Kela can also waive the recovery completely, if the costs of the recovery for Kela would be unreasonably high in relation to the amount to be recovered.

Waiving a recovery is possible on Kela's or your initiative. Waiving of a recovery is always decided on by Kela's Overpayment Recovery Centre.

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