Workers employed within the EU are subject to the social security system of their country of employment
The EU legislation does not replace the social security systems in the Member States with one common system. Instead the social security coverage for persons who move between the EU countries is regulated in EC Regulation 883/2004 (PDF). The country under whose social security system you are covered is determined on the basis of the Regulation. The main principle is that as an employee you are covered under the social security system of the country of employment even if you live in another Member State. If you are not employed, your right to social security benefits is determined in accordance with the legislation of your country of residence.
The EC Regulation affects almost all Kela benefits when you move between the EU countries. Please note that for instance the right to basic social assistance or housing allowance is not determined in accordance with the Regulation. The right to these benefits is determined on the basis of the Finnish national legislation. You usually have to live permanently in Finland in order to qualify for these benefits.
The purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that persons moving within the EU are covered by only one national social security system at a time. This is called coordination of social security. The purpose of the Regulation is also to ensure that you do not lose any social security entitlements if you move from one EU country to another. The Regulation is applied to nationals of the EU countries who are, or have been, subject to the social security system of one or several Member States, as well as to their family members. Check your social security coverage in Finland via Kela's e-service (in Finnish or in Swedish), if you have lived or worked abroad.
Applicable also to nationals of countries outside the EU
The rules governing the coordination of social security within the EU apply also to nationals of countries outside the EU who are residing legally in the EU and are in a cross-border situation. These situations are covered by the provisions of (EC) Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009.
Denmark, Norway and Iceland apply EC Regulation 883/2004 to nationals of countries outside the EU through the Nordic Convention on Social Security. Great Britain applies the older EC Regulation 1408/71 to nationals of countries outside the EU.
The EEA countries and Switzerland also apply the new EC Regulation
The EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) also apply EC Regulation 883/2004. Switzerland applies EC Regulation 883/2004, but only to EU citizens who move between the EU area and Switzerland.
The EU countries are
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The EEA countries are
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which apply EU legislation under the terms of the EEA Agreement. The provisions applicable to the EU/EEA countries also largely apply to Switzerland.
Moving from one EU country to another and social security coverage
Check what happens to your social security coverage (e.g. health care, pensions, unemployment benefits) when you move from one EU country to another.