How to apply for the general housing allowance

  1. File an application for general housing allowance through Kela’s online customer service (available in Finnish and Swedish only) at (Finnish) or (Swedish). Log in to the online customer service using your online bank ID or a mobile ID.

    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
  2. Scan or take a photo of any supporting documents and send them online. 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.
  3. Depending on your household's situation, also enclose
    • a copy of your employment contract, if the employment relationship has only just begun,
    • 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),
    • the form ‘Yhteisöruokakunnan valtuutus’ (in Finnish) or ‘Fullmakt att företräda kollektivhushåll’ (in Swedish) (Authorisation from a communal household) (Kela form AT5 in Finnish, AT5r in Swedish),
    • decision showing the award of a start-up grant if you are a new entrepreneur without YEL insurance cover,
    • form Y 77e ‘Notification of moving to Finland’, if you are applying for general housing allowance for the first time since you moved to Finland, and your entitlement to benefits provided by Kela has not yet been determined. Read more,
    • form Y38 ‘Moving from Finland or employment abroad’, when you report that you are moving abroad or are going to stay abroad for a period of time.
  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 general housing allowance in English (form AT 1e) and send it to Kela by post along with any supporting documents.

As of 1 January 2019, Kela obtains salary information from The National Incomes Register. Kela uses this data when processing claims and applications. You will be contacted if additional information is required. However, please note that you must notify Kela of any changes in your income.

When to apply

New payments of housing allowance begin on the first of the month. For example, if you have a rental agreement that comes 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 may have been granted will be paid. For information about how long the processing 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.

Report changes online or on application form AT1e ‘Application – General housing allowance’.

  • When reporting a move abroad or a stay abroad, you should also fill in the form ‘Moving from Finland or employment abroad’ (Y38e) and enclose it with your application.

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 later.

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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