How to apply for the general housing allowance

Applying online is quick and easy

You can easily send the application and supporting documentation through Kela's online customer service system. Documents photographed with a mobile phone are accepted if the pictures are clear and legible.

Send an application
  1. File an application for general housing allowance online at (in Finnish) or (in Swedish). The service is available in Finnish and Swedish only. Log in to Kela's online customer service (in Finnish and Swedish only) using your online bank ID or a mobile ID.
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them over the internet. Enclose the following with your application:
    • copy of written rental agreement
    • proof of the amount of rent or maintenance charge if not shown in detail by other enclosed documentation such as the rental agreement or rent increase notice.
    • If information about your rental agreement is provided to Kela electronically by your landlord, you need not enclose the rental agreement or any proof of the amount of rent you pay. Landlords who provide rental agreement information to Kela electronically.
  3. Depending on your household's situation, also enclose
    • pay slip or other document showing your salary
    • details of any other pensions or benefits you may receive from other sources besides Kela or your authorised pension provider.
    • details of housing loans (remaining balance and interest rate)
    • form Yhteisöruokakunnan valtuutus (Authorisation from a communal household) (AT 5),
    • decision showing the award of a start-up grant if you are a new entrepreneur without YEL insurance cover
    • pay slip if you are returning to work within three months of the date when the housing allowance was granted or reviewed.
  4. You can use Kela's online service to see whether your application has been decided and the amount you will receive. You can also see any possible reminders concerning, for instance, documents missing from your application.

Alternatively you can complete and print out an application for housing allowance form (AT 1e) and mail it to Kela along with any supporting documents.

Employers will start reporting pay details to the Incomes Register as of 1 January 2019. Kela can use this data when processing claims.

When to apply

New payments of housing allowance begin on the first of the month. For example, if you have a rental agreement that goes into effect on 15 March, you will get housing allowance starting from 1 April.

You can get housing allowance retroactively for up to one month from the month of application.

Go to Kela's online service to see whether your application has been decided and when the benefit you have applied for will be paid. For information about how long the handling of an application usually takes, see Application process for benefits.

Report changes

You must notify Kela without delay of the following changes:

  • The gross monthly income of your household increases by EUR 400 or more.
  • The acceptable housing costs of your household decrease by at least EUR 50.
  • You move house or move out of a home for which you were granted housing allowance.
  • You or another member of your household gains eligibility for the housing allowance for pensioners.
  • The number of persons in your household, or the composition of your household, changes permanently.
  • A member of your household moves abroad or stays abroad for a period of time.
  • Your household takes on a subtenant or a subtenancy ends.
  • The type of tenure for your household’s dwelling changes.
  • You get married or your marriage ends.
  • You begin or end a cohabiting relationship.

If you do not report changes, you may be paid housing allowance without due grounds or at the wrong rate. If the amount is reviewed down, the reduced amount will apply from the date of review. In that case it will be recovered from you at a later time.

You should also notify Kela without delay if

  • the gross monthly income of your household decreases by at least EUR 200 per month
  • the acceptable housing costs of your household increase by at least EUR 50.

If the amount of the housing allowance is reviewed upwards, Kela will pay the increased allowance from the beginning of the month preceding that in which the application was submitted.

Also remember to check how any changes in your circumstances affect other benefits paid by Kela.

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