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 workers, students and researchers who accompany them abroad and live in the same household are usually entitled to benefits provided by Kela even if 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 apply to children who are born abroad.

EU and EEA countries, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Family members who move to an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom are usually entitled to coverage under the Finnish social security system if the person who is the reason for the move abroad is also entitled to it. 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 of this.

Example

Annika from Finland works in Germany as a posted worker. She marries a German man. Even though Annika is entitled to coverage under the Finnish social security system her husband is not, because he did not live in Finland before Annika moved abroad.

Even if you are entitled to social security coverage in Finland during a temporary stay abroad, you may have a primary right to medical care and family benefits in your country of employment (another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom). Always check beforehand with Kela or the social insurance institution of your country of employment to find out which country can pay you these benefits.

Other countries

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

Remember to report the move abroad, especially if you are paid benefits from Kela.

Example

Saara is a Finnish citizen and her spouse begins a posting of five months in New York at the subsidiary of a Finnish architecture firm. Saara moves with her spouse to the United States. Saara is still entitled to the residence-based benefits provided by Kela since the stay abroad lasts less than six months. The family members of, for instance, posted workers, students and grant recipients continue to be entitled to the residence-based benefits provided by Kela even if the stay abroad lasts more than six months.

Read more