Asylum seekers are not immediately entitled to benefits from Kela

Asylum seekers cannot be granted benefits from Kela until the application for asylum has been processed and a residence permit granted.

Asylum seekers become eligible for Kela benefits once they have a residence permit and are considered to be living in Finland permanently. This requires that they have completed the reception programme for asylum seekers.

The cash reception allowance paid to asylum seekers is not provided by Kela. The reception centre provides the cash reception allowance.

It is not worthwhile for asylum seekers to visit the Kela office in order to claim benefits. While the asylum application is pending the applicant is not eligible for benefits from Kela.

If asylum is granted

Those who have been granted asylum in Finland are eligible for the same Kela benefits and other social security services as all permanent residents. The decision on eligibility for Kela benefits cannot be made before a residence permit has been granted.

Persons who have been granted a residence permit can apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system on Kela form Y77 or by using the online customer service system. They will receive a written decision on their application. A personal Kela Card and European Health Insurance Card can be issued to persons who are covered by the Finnish National Health Insurance system.

Example on social security for asylum seekers:
"Adnan from Iraq has fled the unrest in Iraq via Turkey to Greece, and from there to Finland. He applies for asylum. After arriving in Finland Adnan moves into a reception centre in Helsinki, where he stays while the application for asylum is processed.

While the application is being processed Adnan is not entitled to Finnish social security. At the reception centre he receives meals and necessary medical care as well as €92.64 per month in cash reception allowance.

If the application for asylum is approved, Adnan is granted a residence permit. Once he has received the permit he can become covered by the Finnish social security system. For instance, he can apply for labour market subsidy from Kela if he does not find work and housing allowance for the rent. Adnan can also apply for social assistance, which is provided by the municipality and which is granted to him according to the same criteria as to persons who are permanently resident in Finland.