Child benefit

Kela pays child benefit for each child who is permanently resident in Finland. The payment continues until the end of the month when the child is 17 years old. The entitlement to the child benefit is based on residence. Payment of the child benefit ends if the child moves abroad permanently with his or her legal guardian. The child benefit is tax-free income.

It is paid from the beginning of the month following the birth of the child, until the end of the calendar month

  • in which the child reaches the age of 17 years
  • in which the child moves abroad*, or
  • following which the child begins to get a disability pension under the National Pensions Act.

*The child benefit can in certain situations also be paid abroad. It is often possible to get child benefit during a temporary residence abroad, such as a student exchange.


Child benefit is normally paid to the mother or the father or other adult responsible for the care of the child. You can claim the child benefit at the same time you claim a maternity, paternity or parental allowance. Child benefit can also be paid to another person responsible for the care of the child and, in some cases, to the child him- or herself (if 15 or older).

Child benefit cannot be claimed by a child under the age of 15 years or by the municipal authorities, but both can in certain situations demand that a child benefit granted to the child's parent should be paid to them. For example, if a child is placed in institutional care at the municipality's expense, the municipality can request that the child benefit should be paid to the municipality.


A mother has three children of 3, 4 and 15. She claims child benefit for her children. The 15-year-old goes to school elsewhere and lives independently. In the case of the two youngest children, the child benefit is paid to the mother, whereas the 15-year-old gets the payments herself under a special arrangement. This means that the mother is paid child benefit for two children.

To which parent will the child benefit be paid in the event of a divorce?

If the parents do not live together, they can come to an agreement about whom the child benefit will be paid to. If they cannot agree, the child benefit is paid to the parent with whom the child lives and who has principal responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child. Information about the child's place of residence is provided to Kela by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

If the child moves away from home, the parents must file a change of address notice to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. If the child moves in with the other parent, that parent can claim child benefit.

In other situations, changes of bank details can be reported to Kela using the OmaKela e-service (available in Finnish and Swedish only) or on the paper form Y 121e (pdf).

Different types of families