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How income and assets affect basic social assistance

The amount of basic social assistance is affected by the income and assets available to you and your family. Your income is considered at its after-tax amount, i.e., the amount left to you after taxes have been withheld. Read more about how income affects social assistance.

Assistance is calculated for a period of one month

Basic social assistance is calculated on the basis of calendar months. If necessary, it can be granted for a period shorter or longer than a full calendar month. Available income and assets are usually taken into account for the same period of time. If you are submitting your first application for social assistance or if you have not applied for some time, your earlier financial situation is evaluated as well.

Because basic social assistance is last-resort emergency financial assistance, incidental yet large amounts of income (such as compensations for damages, large tax refunds or inheritance) may affect your right to social assistance for several months. If you receive a substantial amount of income, you must be prepared to cover your expenses out of that income and should expect that it will be taken into account when deciding on your social assistance.

If someone is in urgent need of financial help, social assistance can be granted for a short period of time, even just a few days. In such situations, income and assets are considered on the basis of the available information.

Minor financial assistance

Minor amounts of financial assistance do not affect basic social assistance.

The limit for minor amounts of assistance is typically EUR 50 per month for a person living alone and EUR 100 per month for families. Kela only takes into account as income the amount that exceeds this limit.


Anni receives basic social assistance from Kela. On her birthday, she gets EUR 40 from her brother and EUR 50 from her mother. The total amount of the gifts she receives in August is EUR 90, which is more than the limit for minor amounts of income. This means that EUR 40 counts as income for social assistance purposes.

For children under 18, only recurring income that exceeds the limit for a minor amount of income is taken into account. For example earnings from a summer job are not considered to be recurring income. A child’s income is taken into account up to the amount of the basic amount and other basic expenses calculated for the child.

Income received after social assistance has been granted

If you receive earnings on the last day or last business day of the month, Kela counts it as income for the following month as it considered to be available to you in that month.

Any payments of for example other Kela benefits which you receive in arrears are usually not taken into account until the amount of basic social assistance you will get in the month following the payment of the benefit is calculated.

If you have earnings that were not yet known when the decision on social assistance was made, such earnings can be taken into account afterwards, should an application for social assistance be made within the next two calendar months.

How income from unemployment benefits is calculated

If you receive unemployment benefits, they are paid to you every 4 weeks for a total of 20 working days. This payment counts as your monthly income when calculating the basic social assistance.

If you receive basic social assistance for a longer period of time, at some point two payments of unemployment allowance for 20 days will fall on the same month. Starting from that month, the income from unemployment benefits will be periodised. This means that henceforth an amount equal to 21.5 days' worth of unemployment benefits is taken into account as your income for purposes of the basic social assistance. The same amount of unemployment benefits is also taken into account as your income for any subsequent month in which you receive two payments of unemployment benefits.

Last modified 4/12/2023