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Social security in Finland

The Finnish social security system is designed to provide people with sufficient economic security and assistance in all life situations. It consists of a range of services and cash benefits.

Basis of eligibility

Eligibility for social security is based either on residence in Finland or on employment.

Kela and the wellbeing services counties have joint responsibility for the residence-based part of social security. The employment-based part is comprised of the services offered by unemployment funds, pension providers and private insurers. 

The right to certain social security benefits and public services is based on residence, whereas the right to certain other benefits and services is based on employment. The benefits granted by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and the health and social services provided by wellbeing services counties are based on residence. Employment-based social security covers earnings-related pensions and insurance against occupational accidents and diseases. Unemployment benefits are based on both residence and employment.

The wellbeing services counties, unemployment funds, pension providers and private insurers have a joint responsibility together with Kela for managing the Finnish social security system. 

What is social security for?

The purpose of the social security system is to offer basic economic security in situations where a person is unable to achieve it by their own means. 

Social security helps in situations where the need for assistance is due to

  • old age
  • disability
  • illness
  • unemployment
  • the birth and care of a child
  • loss of a provider
  • participation in rehabilitation
  • studying.

Employers are reimbursed for costs arising from

  • their employees’ sickness absences and family leaves
  • the provision of occupational health services.

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Last modified 29/11/2023

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