Changes to Kela benefits in 2022

Next year will bring changes to spouses’ pensions, sickness allowances and the income limits for student financial aid. The phone numbers for booking a Kela taxi will change as well.  A new model for employment services will be introduced on 1 May 2022, and the family leave reform will go into effect on 1 August 2022.  The benefits tied to the National Pensions Index will be increased by 2.1% at the start of 2022.

The following is a summary of the key changes in 2022 which affect the social benefits provided by Kela. Information about the changes and the new euro amounts of benefits will be made available at www.kela.fi on 1 January 2022.

Increases in family benefits

The minimum amount of the maternity, paternity and parental allowances and of the special care allowance will go up. The new amount will be EUR 29.67 per day (EUR 29.05 per day in 2021).

The euro amounts of child care allowances tied to the national pensions index will go up 2.1 %. 

Rates of the child maintenance allowance increased

The full amount of the child maintenance allowance will be increased to EUR 172.59 per month (from EUR 167.35 per month in 2021).

The income limits to qualify for an exemption on child support debt will be adjusted. Persons with maintenance liabilities qualify for the exemption if their monthly income does not exceed EUR 1,166.29. The income limit goes up by EUR 291.57 per month for each additional child. However, the income limit is not increased for children who have been granted child maintenance allowance. The 2021 amounts were EUR 1,130.86 per month and EUR 282.71 per month.

Kela does not provide child maintenance allowance if a child is able to support him- or herself. In 2021, the limits for children’s earnings and income from capital will be increased to EUR 816.40 per month for children living at home, and to EUR 1,166.29 per month for children who are living independently. The corresponding limits in 2021 were EUR 791.60 per month and EUR 1,130.86 per month.

Family leave reform to go into effect on 1 August 2022

The family leave reform will bring changes to the duration and timing of parental leaves and parental allowances. The allowances will be calculated in the same way as before.

After the reform, the pregnant parent will be paid a pregnancy allowance for 40 working days preceding their entitlement to a parental allowance. Parental allowance for one child is paid for a total of 320 working days.

If a child has two parents who are entitled to a parental allowance, both parents can take one half of the full entitlement, i.e., 160 days. A parent can turn over up to 63 parental allowance days to the other parent.

The new family leave provisions apply to families where the estimated due date of the baby is 4 September 2022 or later. The new provisions also apply to parents who are adopting a child who will be placed in their care on or after 31 July 2022. Parents can apply to Kela for a family leave under the new system starting 1 May 2022.

More information can be found in kela.fi

No change in the healthcare fee for students in higher education

The student healthcare fee must be paid by all students who are completing a degree at a Finnish institution of higher education and have registered as attending for the term in question.

The fee will remain unchanged and will be EUR 35.80 per term in 2022. Students are not billed for the fee but are expected to pay it on their initiative using the OmaKela e-service.

More information can be found in this press release

The annual income limits as regards student financial aid will be increased by 25 percent for next year

The income limits as regards student financial aid will be raised by a quarter for 2022. In 2022 the annual income limit will be EUR 15,630 for students who get financial aid for nine months. The higher income limits only concern student financial aid granted for 2022. It is possible that the annual income limits will be lowered for 2023.

More information is available in this press release

Unemployment benefits increased

The basic unemployment allowance and the labour market subsidy will increase to EUR 34.50 per day (from EUR 33.78 in 2021).

The supplementary amount and the child increases will be raised as well. The supplementary amount will be EUR 4.91 per day.

The child increases will be as follows:

  • EUR 5.41 per day for one child
  • EUR 7.95 per day for two children in total
  • EUR 10.25 per day in total for three or more children.

New model for employment services to be introduced on 1 May 2022

A so-called Nordic model of employment services will be introduced at the beginning of May 2022. The new model is aimed at offering unemployed jobseekers more customised support especially early on in the unemployment.

The newly unemployed jobseeker and a specialist from the TE Services or the municipality get together to draw up an employment plan. In the plan, they agree the supportive services that will be provided to the jobseeker and the number of job applications he or she is expected to complete each month. While the main rule is to apply for four jobs per month, each jobseeker’s situation is evaluated individually. Jobseekers cannot forfeit their unemployment benefit or suffer a reduction in it as long as they file the agreed number of job applications and comply with the employment plan.

The new model also provides for shorter waiting periods. Jobseekers who do not apply as agreed can be issued a reminder or be subject to a 5 or 10-day waiting period. No unemployment benefit is paid during the waiting period. Jobseekers who repeatedly fail to apply for a job can lose their unemployment benefit indefinitely. A 45-day waiting period can be imposed for turning down a definitive job offer.

General housing allowance: Maximum housing costs increased slightly

The maximum housing costs allowed under the general housing allowance scheme will be adjusted in line with the cost-of-living index. This means that the maximum housing costs will be increased slightly at the beginning of 2022. The new maximum limits will apply to all reviews and awards of housing allowance made on or after 1 January 2022.

Also the amounts of heating charges paid on top of the rent which are recognised as housing costs are increased slightly. For single-person households, the amount of recognised heating charges is usually EUR 42 per month. If the household consists of more than one person, EUR 14 is added in heating costs for each additional person.

Due to an adjustment of the national pensions index, the basic deductible applicable to housing allowance recipients is reduced somewhat. This means that the income limit to qualify for a full housing allowance will go up slightly. In 2022, the full rate of allowance is available on an income of EUR 619 plus EUR 103 for each adult and EUR 228 for each child in the household.

Increase in the basic amount of social assistance

The basic amount of social assistance will increase slightly in 2022. In 2021, it has been EUR 504.06 per month for persons living alone. Starting from the beginning of 2022, it will be EUR 514.82 per month.

Exempt amount introduced in the conscript’s allowance scheme

A 300 euro exempt amount will be introduced in the conscript’s allowance scheme next year. It allows conscripts to have salary and self-employment income of up to EUR 300 per month after taxes without it affecting the amount of their conscript’s allowance. The income of conscripts’ family members is not covered by the exempt amount.

Maximum limit on out-of-pocket medicine costs increased slightly

The maximum limit on yearly out-of-pocket medicine costs will go up slightly. The new limit will be EUR 592.16 per calendar year (up from EUR 579.78 in 2021). Once the limit is reached, customers only pay a EUR 2.50 copayment for each reimbursable medicine for the rest of the year.

The basic rate of reimbursement (40% of the sale or reference price), the lower special rate of reimbursement (65% of the sale or reference price) and the higher special rate of reimbursement (100% of the sale or reference price) will remain the same.  Also the initial deductible (EUR 50) which customers must pay out of pocket to qualify for reimbursements will remain unchanged.

The minimum amounts of the sickness allowance and the rehabilitation allowance will be increased slightly 

The minimum amounts of sickness and rehabilitation allowances will increase. The new amount will be EUR 29.67 per day (EUR 29.05 per day in 2021).

Also the rehabilitation allowance for young persons and the allowance payable during vocational rehabilitation will be increased. The new amount will be EUR 34.23 per day (EUR 33.51 per day in 2021). 

The phone numbers for booking a Kela taxi will change

As of 1 January 2022, each region will have two service providers from which customers can book taxi rides reimbursed by Kela. Customers can choose from which one to book their taxi. The new dispatch numbers will be available from 20 December 2021. Starting then, customers can call the numbers to book rides for 1 January 2022 or later. Customers who intend to travel by taxi during 2021 should still use the current numbers.

In order for Kela to reimburse a taxi ride, the customer must order the taxi from one of the service providers in their local region. The customer will then only have to pay the copayment, which is EUR 25 maximum for a one-way trip.

More information is found in this press release

Additional measures introduced for the assessment of rehabilitation needs among those with a long duration of sickness allowance payment

In the event of prolonged incapacity for work, Kela will assess the customer’s need for rehabilitation once they have been paid sickness allowance for 60 days, or sooner. With the amendment of the Health Insurance Act on 1 January 2022, Kela will begin to carry out assessments of rehabilitation needs also when sickness allowance has been paid for 150 and 230 days. These additional assessments are aimed at preventing prolonged work incapacity and at ensuring that customers get the rehabilitation services they need when they need them.

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Kela will continue to reimburse travel costs in connection with COVID-19 vaccinations

Kela will continue to provide reimbursement for travel costs arising from getting a COVID-19 vaccination. The reimbursements will be available until 30 June 2022. The costs of travel to a COVID-19 testing site can be reimbursed as well. The reimbursements are provided under the same terms as for any other trip to visit a healthcare provider.

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Kela to continue to pay compensation to employers for COVID-19 vaccinations

Kela will continue to compensate employers for healthcare costs related to COVID-19 vaccinations. Available until 30 June 2022, the compensation is EUR 10 per vaccination. No compensation is provided for vaccines, because they are available free of charge to the service providers. The provision of vaccinations is the responsibility of municipalities. They have the option of cooperating with private occupational healthcare providers.

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Kela will continue to provide a EUR 100 reimbursement for COVID-19 tests carried out by private providers

The rate of reimbursement for PCR tests for COVID-19 will remain EUR 100. The higher rate of reimbursement will remain available until 30 June 2022.

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Vocational rehabilitation courses to be replaced by a new type of vocational rehabilitation (“Taito”)

A new type of vocational rehabilitation titled Taito rehabilitation was introduced recently. It is designed for clients who have a medical condition or impairment that makes it more difficult for them enter or remain in working life or education. Taito rehabilitation comprises individual and group-based measures along with job training. 

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Changes to spouses’ and orphans’ pensions effective 1 January 2022

Kela pays spouse's pension to surviving spouses under the age of 65. Starting in 2022, also cohabiting partners will be eligible for a spouse’s pension if they lived with their deceased partner for a consecutive period of at least five years and have a minor child with the deceased. Prior to the change, cohabiting partners were not entitled to a spouse’s pension. The change applies to cohabiting partners widowed in 2022 or thereafter.

For widows and widowers born in 1975 or later whose spouse or partner dies in 2022 or thereafter, the spouse’s pension is paid for a fixed period of 10 years or until the child they have with the deceased reaches the age of 18 years.  Prior to the change, Kela paid a spouse’s pension until the widow or widower reached age 65.

The 10-year period of entitlement to a spouse’s pension does not apply to widows and widowers who are already in receipt of a spouse’s pension or whose spouse died before the effective date of the amendment.

After the change, authorised pension providers will pay an orphan’s pension until the recipient is 20 years old. This also applies to children who were granted an orphan’s pension before the change and who are under 18 as of 31 December 2021.

More information can be found in this press release (in Finnish)

Increases in pensions

The full amount of the national pension for recipients living alone will be EUR 679.50 per month (up from EUR 665.29 in 2021). The corresponding amount for those living together with another person will be EUR 606.65 per month (up from EUR 593.97 in 2020).

The full amount of the guarantee pension and of pension assistance will be EUR 855.48 per month (EUR 837.59 per month in 2021).

The starting pension for surviving spouses will be EUR 335.76 per month, and the basic amount of the continuing pension EUR 105.17 per month. The basic amount of the orphans' pension will be EUR 61.78 per month.

The increase available to pensioners with a dependent child under 16 years of age will be EUR 22.71 per month.

The front-veterans’ supplement will be EUR 128.13 per month, while the additional front-veterans' supplement will be EUR 263.64 per month for recipients living alone and EUR 230.86 per month for those living together with another person.

The earnings limit for putting a disability or guarantee pension on hold will go up as well. Recipients of a disability pension can in 2022 earn a maximum of EUR 855.48 per month without any effect on the further payment of the disability pension or guarantee pension. 

Changes in the housing allowance for pensioners

The maximum housing costs taken into account in the housing allowance for pensioners will be increased by 2.1% in all three municipality categories.

The maximum amount of housing costs will be

  • EUR 8,613 per year in category 1 municipalities
  • EUR 7,921 per year in category 2 municipalities
  • EUR 6,949 per year in category 3 municipalities.

The amount of water charges recognised as monthly housing costs will be raised to EUR 30.05 per person per month (up from EUR 29.81 in 2021). Recognised heating costs will remain unchanged. The recognised monthly costs of maintenance for a single-family home will increase to EUR 44.37 from EUR 43.44 in 2021. These increases will be applied in forthcoming reviews of the housing allowance for pensioners. 

Increases in disability benefits

Disability allowances are adjusted to index on 1 January 2022. The new rates will be as follows:

Disability allowance for persons under age 16

  • basic disability allowance EUR 95.39 / month
  • increased disability allowance EUR 222.58 / month
  • highest disability allowance EUR 431.60 / month

Disability allowance for persons aged 16 years or over

  • basic disability allowance EUR 95.39 / month
  • increased disability allowance EUR 222.58 / month
  • highest disability allowance EUR 431.60 / month

Care allowance for pensioners

  • basic care allowance EUR 73.00 / month
  • increased care allowance EUR 159.04 / month
  • highest care allowance EUR 336.30 / month
  • disability supplement for veterans EUR 110.19

Earnings threshold to qualify for social security coverage will be increased for persons employed in Finland

Workers arriving in Finland from another country may be eligible for social benefits from Kela. They are eligible if they earn at least EUR 741.75 per month (up from EUR 726.27 per month in 2021). This corresponds to the amount of the basic unemployment allowance per month. Benefits are available for months in which the threshold is exceeded.

Additional information for customers