From Finland to another country
If you move abroad temporarily, that is for less than 6 months, you are usually entitled to Kela benefits. You are considered to be moving permanently if you move abroad for good or stay in a country other than an EU/EEA country or Switzerland for longer than six months. In that case, your entitlement to Kela benefits usually ends on the day of moving.
There are some exceptions to the six-month rule if you are staying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland temporarily and on a one-time basis. Benefits can be paid for longer than six months. However, please note that if you work in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you cannot receive Kela benefits even if the work abroad lasts for less than six months. In that case, you will be covered for social security by your country of employment.
If a temporary stay abroad becomes permanent the entitlement to Kela benefits ends immediately.
Regular stay abroad
If you repeatedly stay abroad for less than six months in a so called third country, i.e. some other country than an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you can continue to get Kela benefits if you spend most of your time in Finland on an ongoing basis.
Also, there may be exceptions to the six-month limit if you regularly spend some of your time in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland but do not work there. For example pensioners are covered for social security by the country of residence to which they are considered to have the closest ties. Factors that are taken into account are for instance
- history of residence in Finland and abroad
- current residential arrangements
- repeated residence in Finland and abroad
- family ties in Finland and elsewhere
- the country paying a pension
- the country taxing pension payments.
When determining a person’s country of residence within the EU area, the other member state’s opinion also counts if the situation is unclear.
Some benefits are not paid abroad at all or their payment is restricted. More detailed information about the benefits is available under Benefits in international situations.
You can handle your Kela-related affairs over the Internet even while abroad
Through Kela’s online customer service (in Finnish and in Swedish), you can:
- notify Kela of a move abroad
- check the data Kela has about your stays in Finland and abroad
- notify Kela if your circumstances change while abroad (e.g. if you start work)
- notify when you will be returning to Finland.