Service points in the Greater Helsinki area and Kerava offer primarily phone service
Kela is taking steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus among its customers and personnel. Staff at service points in the Greater Helsinki area and Kerava will begin to serve customers over the phone. Personal service at the customer service point is available by appointment.
Over the past week, customer visits to service points in the Greater Helsinki area have only been about a third of normal. In spite of this the customer service facilities were crowded at times and the recommended social distance could not be guaranteed.
According to Matti Kujala, head of customer service for the Greater Helsinki area, it is essential in the current situation that Kela does not to put at risk the health of its customers or its own staff. “We are taking these steps to make sure that we remain able to provide customer service as the situation develops”, Kujala says.
Customer service points in communities elsewhere were closed earlier, which has improved the availability of the phone-based customer service. Despite the unprecedented situation, waiting times to reach Kela’s nationwide customer service numbers have remained reasonable. Other ways to get customer service in the Greater Helsinki area will continue to be available, but access to them will be limited.
“If a customer needs face-to-face assistance and is unable to contact us by phone, we can set up an appointment for the customer to visit a service point”, Kujala says.
Such a situation may arise if the customer needs social assistance urgently.
Kela is working closely with local authorities and other partners in the Greater Helsinki area to ensure that customer service needs are met.
Online, by mail or by phone
Customers are recommended to use the e-service send in their applications and supporting documents. A picture of the supporting document taken with a smart phone is adequate, if it is sharp enough. Via the e-service customers can also check if any supporting documents are missing or if the application must be supplemented in some other way.
Customers who cannot use the e-service can send applications and supporting documents by mail to Kela, PL 10, 00056 KELA. There are also mailboxes outside the service points in the Greater Helsinki area. Application forms can be printed from Kela’s website.
Customers can conduct most of their Kela-related business by phone. If there are many issues to examine, it is also possible to book an appointment for service by phone. The earliest available phone appointments are typically one or two weeks away.
The customer service personnel cannot speed up the processing of applications or tell customers when they will receive a decision. Kela will contact customers who are expected to take specific action or provide further information.
Information available online, chatbot to be introduced soon
Information and advice concerning the situation around the coronavirus is available on Kela’s website. The website will also have a new chatbot that provides answers to questions about the situation.