Social security agreements

Your entitlement to social security coverage can be based on social security agreements. Finland has concluded such agreements with the Nordic countries, the United States, Canada, Chile, Israel, Australia, India, China and South Korea. Further, Finland has made a separate arrangement concerning social security with the Province of Quebec in Canada. With Australia, Finland also has an agreement covering medical treatment during a temporary stay in the other signatory country.

The agreements usually concern employees, their family members and pensioners. A pension accrued in Finland is always paid also to countries that have a social security agreement with Finland. The provisions of the agreements are applied exclusively to the persons and benefits expressly covered by them. If your right to social security coverage is not determined through an agreement that Finland has concluded, the social security coverage and the right to Kela benefits that the agreement does not concern are determined on the basis of Finnish legislation.

If you work or live in a country that has a social security agreement with Finland, you may be entitled to the benefits mentioned in the agreement from the country in question.

The social security agreements cover different benefits

  • The social security agreement with the United States covers national pensions and survivors' pensions as well as – for employees on a temporary assignment in the other country – health insurance, parental allowances and child benefits.
  • The social security agreement with Canada covers old-age pensions and survivors' pensions.
  • The social security agreement with Chile covers old-age pensions, survivors' pensions and medical treatment (for pensioners).
  • The social security agreement with Israel covers old-age pensions, survivors' pensions, child benefits and maternity grants. With respect to posted workers, it also covers health insurance and parental benefits.
  • The social security arrangement with the Province of Quebec covers medical care and health insurance. According to the agreement, temporarily employed, posted workers, students and researchers as well as their family members are entitled to medical treatment in Quebec.
  • The social security agreement with Australia concerns old-age pensions.
  • Temporary residents of Australia who are insured by the Finnish National Health Insurance are entitled to necessary emergency medical treatment.
  • The agreement with India covers mainly earnings-related pensions. It does not cover national pensions or any other benefits provided by Kela.
  • The agreements with China and South Korea cover earnings-related pensions and unemployment insurance contributions. They do not cover national pensions or any other benefits provided by Kela.

Nordic Convention on Social Security

Persons who move between the Nordic countries are, as a rule, covered by the provisions of the EC Regulation on social security. On the basis of the Nordic Convention on Social Security, the EC Regulation is also applied to persons who would otherwise not be covered by the Regulation. Such persons include, for instance, citizens of countries outside the EU who move between Denmark and the other Nordic countries.

The Nordic Convention includes, for instance, a five-year rule on the right of returning migrants from another Nordic country to unemployment benefits. According to this rule, the employment history in another Nordic country of a person who returns to Finland from another Nordic country can be taken into account directly as counting towards the condition concerning previous employment for the Finnish unemployment allowance. However, one precondition is that the person has worked in Finland or received unemployment allowance from Finland in the previous five years.

Under the Convention, extra costs for the return journey home from another Nordic country in cases of illness are reimbursed.

The Nordic Convention also includes more detailed rules on the determination of country of residence in unclear cases.

Nordic cooperation as regards vocational rehabilitation

The Nordic Convention on Social Security obliges the Nordic countries to cooperate in matters related to vocational rehabilitation in cross-border situations. The Nordic countries have concluded bilateral administrative agreements regarding the arranging of rehabilitation and related practices. The agreements make it easier to handle rehabilitation cases when a person has used the right to free movement and accordingly works in one Nordic country and lives in another. Finland has concluded an agreement with Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.

The bilateral rehabilitation agreements are applied when:

  • a person works in one Nordic country and lives in another
  • the rehabilitation is provided in the country of residence and the cash benefit is paid from the country of employment.

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