Social security coverage for family members

The term ‘family member’ refers to married spouses and partners who are cohabiting or in a registered partnership. Also regarded as family members are children under the age of 18 years (children of one’s own, adopted children or children of one’s spouse or partner if living in the same household). Cohabiting spouses can be considered family members when they have lived together for 6 months.

Family members of posted workers, civil servants, aid workers, students and researchers who accompany them abroad and live in the same household are usually entitled to benefits provided by Kela also when the stay abroad lasts more than 6 months.

Only family members who were entitled to social security coverage in Finland already before the move abroad can retain this entitlement during the stay abroad. This rule does not concern children who are born abroad.

EU and EEA countries and Switzerland

Family members who move to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland are usually entitled to social security coverage in Finland if the person whose activity was the reason for the move abroad also is entitled to social security coverage in Finland. However, if you start working, your entitlement to social security coverage is determined on the basis of your work and you are thus not entitled to benefits on the basis of being a family member. You are then usually entitled to social security coverage in the country of employment if your work meets the minimum requirements regarding the terms of employment. If you start working, you must notify Kela about this.

Example

Annika from Finland works in Germany as a posted worker. She marries a German. Even if Annika were covered under the Finnish social security system, her husband would not be because he had not lived in Finland before Annika moved outside Finland.

You may have a primary right to medical treatment and family benefits in the country of employment (other EU or EEA country or Switzerland) even if you are entitled to social security coverage in Finland during a temporary stay abroad. Always check with Kela and the social insurance institution of your country of employment beforehand which country can pay you these benefits.

The right of persons who move to some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland in the capacity of family member to coverage under the Finnish social security system is usually determined on the basis of the duration of the stay abroad. If your residence abroad lasts less than 6 months, you are entitled to Kela benefits and social security coverage.

Always remember to report the move abroad, especially if you receive some benefit from Kela.