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 partners are regarded as family members if the couple has lived together for at least six months.

Family members of posted workers, civil servants, aid and missionary workers, students and researchers who accompany them abroad and live in the same household can, upon application, be covered under the Finnish social security system also when the stay abroad lasts more than one year. You cannot at the same time be covered under the social security system of the country of residence on the basis of employment. There must be close ties to Finland.

Only those family members who were covered under the Finnish social security system on moving from Finland can enjoy continued coverage under the Finnish system while living abroad. This rule does not apply to children who are born abroad.

Family members who move to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland are usually covered under the Finnish social security system if the person who is the reason for the move abroad is covered under the Finnish social security system. However, if you start working, your social security coverage is determined on the basis of your employment and you can thus not qualify for social security coverage in the capacity of family member. In such a case, you are usually covered under the social security system of your 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 covered under the Finnish social security system 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 lasts up to one year, you will be covered under the Finnish social security system. You can do a little work on a short-term basis without losing your coverage as a family member.

Always remember to apply for a decision on coverage under the social security system.