Payment of family benefits outside Finland

Kela can pay family benefits despite a move abroad, if the move abroad is not permanent. For instance persons who study abroad, posted workers and persons who stay abroad temporarily for a maximum of 6 months are usually entitled to family benefits. If you start working in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, this may affect the family benefits you receive from Kela. 

If your family or part of the family members move between Finland and another EU or EEA country or Switzerland and some of the family members work, the payment of family benefits is determined according to the common European legislation. Therefore, it is possible that family benefits could be paid simultaneously from Finland and from another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. The main rule is that a family member who is working receives social security benefits from the country of employment. The principle of the country of employment also governs eligibility for family benefits. In other words, the right to family benefits arises primarily from the parent’s or other provider’s employment in a particular country and only secondarily from the child's country of residence.

Example

Riina works in Sweden but her children live in Finland. Sweden pays child benefit and other family benefits according to its own stipulations. Finland continues to pay child benefit and any childcare allowance, if the total amount of the benefits from Finland is larger than that of the Swedish benefits. In that case, Finland pays the difference between the benefits. However, if Riina has a spouse or partner who works in Finland, child benefit and other family benefits are paid in full from Finland. If the total amount of family benefits from Sweden is larger than the amount of benefits from Finland, Sweden pays the difference.

Please note that workers on a temporary assignment in another Member State are considered to be working in Finland when determining the country responsible for the payment of family benefits. This means that any family benefits are not paid by the country of employment but by Finland. The same rule applies to persons employed by the Finnish government in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland.

If you are permanently resident in Finland but you move temporarily to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you can receive child home care allowance from Finland. This presupposes that you are not working in the other Member State.

Persons who stay for more than 6 months in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland can in certain situations receive child home care allowance in addition to the child benefit. Municipal supplements, private day care allowance or partial or flexible care allowance are not paid abroad.

Maternity grant

You are usually entitled to maternity grant if you stay temporarily in another country but you are permanently resident in Finland.

Stays abroad that last for a maximum of 6 months are considered temporary. You may also be entitled to maternity grant when you are for instance a posted worker, a student or a civil servant. In such cases, the stay abroad can last for more than 6 months. Family members can also be eligible.

Maternity packages cannot be sent to addresses outside Finland. If you live outside Finland, you may wish to authorise someone to pick up your maternity package from a Matkahuolto office and send it to you. Please note that you will have to make all necessary arrangements and pay all costs yourself.

Maternity, paternity and parental allowances

If, while receiving parental allowance, you move from Finland to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland, your family benefit will be paid from Finland to the end of the payment period. Persons who move abroad while receiving parental allowance are paid benefits from Finland regardless of whether the allowance is based on previous income or paid to the minimum amount. However, parental allowances are usually not paid if the payment period does not start until after the move to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland.

If you stay abroad temporarily or you are a posted worker, you receive benefits in the same manner as persons who live in Finland. In such cases, periods spent abroad also count towards the requirement on parental benefits concerning at least 180 days of residence in Finland immediately before the expected due date. You may be entitled to the allowance even if the child is born abroad or shortly after the return to Finland even if you have not lived in Finland for 180 days before the expected due date.

Persons who move to some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland can receive parental allowances from Finland, if the stay abroad is temporary and lasts for a maximum of 6 months. For instance posted workers, students and civil servants are also entitled to parental allowances even if the stay abroad lasts for more than 6 months. Family members are also eligible. Payment of the allowance ends when you move abroad, if the move abroad is permanent or you start working abroad.

Child benefit

Child benefit can be paid for a child aged under 17 years who stays abroad temporarily, if the child is permanently resident in Finland. Stays abroad of more than 6 months also entitle to child benefit, if you are for instance a family member of a posted worker or of a Finnish civil servant who works abroad.

If your family member moves to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, the eligibility for child benefit is determined on the basis of the overall situation of your family. If the child despite the move abroad is still entitled to social security coverage in Finland, child benefit can be paid from Finland. The primary payer of child benefit is usually the guardian’s country of employment and the secondary payer the child’s country of residence. If the child’s guardians work in different countries, the eligibility for child benefit is determined on the basis of the rules in several countries.

If the child is after the move entitled to social security coverage in another country and one of the parents is entitled to social security coverage in Finland on the basis of employment, Finland is still one of the countries that is liable to pay child benefit. If the child lives in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, family benefits are not paid just because one of the parents lives in Finland (but does not work).

If you study for more than 6 months in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you can receive child benefit if you are still entitled to social security coverage in Finland.

The entitlement to child benefit ends if the child or the family members are no longer entitled to social security coverage in Finland on the basis of residence or employment.

Child home care allowance / private day care allowance

Child care allowances are usually not paid abroad. The child must be living in Finland to be eligible for child home care allowance, private day care allowance, flexible care allowance or partial care allowance.

However, in certain situations child home care allowance can be paid for children who stay in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland.

You can receive child home care allowance when you move to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, if you are still entitled to social security coverage in Finland and you do not work in your new country of residence. If you start working, you usually become entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment.

If you study for more than 6 months in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you can receive child home care allowance in addition to child benefit if you are still entitled to social security coverage in Finland. Municipal supplements, private day care allowance, flexible or partial care allowance are not paid abroad.

Child care allowances are not paid to countries that are not EU or EEA countries or Switzerland. However, child home care allowance is paid during normal holiday trips lasting for a maximum of 3 months. Notify Kela if the stay abroad lasts more than 3 months.

Child maintenance allowance

You can be granted child maintenance allowance if the child stays abroad for less than 6 months and the child’s permanent country of residence is Finland. If the stay abroad lasts for more than 6 months, the right to child maintenance allowance ends on the day you move abroad.

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