Exemption from payment of child support debt

If your outstanding child support payments are being recovered by Kela and you are unable to pay them due to temporary financial difficulties, you can apply for an exemption from Kela. Kela will then waive the collection of Kela's portion of the maintenance debt. Exemption can only be granted for the portion of the child support debt that is due to the state, never for the portion due to the child.

Reasons for inability to pay

In order to qualify for an exemption from payment, your inability to pay must be due to circumstances outside of your control. A low income may for example result from

  • unemployment
  • incapacity for work
  • full-time studies
  • maternity, paternity or parental leave
  • absence from work due to caring for a sick child (special care allowance)
  • a rehabilitation period
  • serving a prison sentence
  • performing compulsory military service
  • being on old-age pension.

The reason for your inability to pay must have been in force throughout the month for which exemption from payment is applied for. If you have long-term financial difficulties and cannot make the child support payments, it may be necessary to change the confirmed amount of child support. Concerning issues related to the amount of child support, please contact the child welfare officer of your home municipality.

Income limit for exemption from payment

To qualify for exemption from payment, you can earn a maximum of €1,130.86 per month (gross, i.e. before taxes). From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 the income limit is €1,128.57 per month. This income limit is increased by €282.71 for each of the liable parent's children under 18 years of age, with the exception of a child or children for whom child maintenance allowance has been granted. From 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 the income limit is increased by €282.14 per month for each child. Any children that the liable parent's spouse or partner may have do not have an increasing effect on the income limit.

Income taken into account

All earned income and capital income as well as social security benefits count as income. Income is, as per the date of payment and at its gross amount, taken into account as income for the month when it was paid out. The following incomes are taken into account:

  • earned income incl. fringe benefits
  • capital income as per the date of payment
  • social security benefits (e.g. unemployment allowance excl. child increase, child benefit as well as general housing allowance, which is counted as income for the parent liable for maintenance, if this parent is living in the same household as the recipient of the housing allowance)
  • insurable income under the Self-Employed Persons' Pensions Act (YEL) or the Farmers' Pensions Act (MYEL).

How to apply for exemption from payment

  1. Apply for an exemption from payment of child support debt in our e-service OmaKela. The e-service guides you to submit the necessary information.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them in the e-service OmaKela. From the application you can check which documents you need to enclose with the application. 
    • Kela obtains salary information from the national incomes register. Starting from the beginning of 2021, the register also shows information on the benefits paid to you. This information is used when processing the application. You will be contacted if additional information is required.
  3. When you want to see if your application has been decided, visit our e-service OmaKela. You can also see any possible reminders concerning, for instance, documents missing from your application. A written decision on your application will be sent to you by post.

Alternatively, you may complete and print out the application form for exemptions from payment of child support debt LC 1e. Send the application form and the supporting documents via our e-service OmaKela. If the document you are sending is not in a digital format, you can either scan it or take a photograph of it. You can also send the application and supporting documents by post to Perintäkeskus, PL 31, 00056 Helsinki, Finland. You can also apply for an exemption from payment verbally by calling Kela’s Overpayment Recovery Centre.

When to apply

Exemption is always granted retrospectively for a minimum of one calendar month and for a maximum of one year. Exemption from payment cannot be granted for future payments. Exemption is granted in so far as there are outstanding payments of child support for the calendar month in question.