The basic income experiment will end – participants must remember to apply for unemployment benefits

The two-year basic income experiment will end on 31 December 2018. Those who have received a basic income must make sure to register as unemployed job seekers and apply separately for unemployment benefits or other benefits that they may be entitled to. 

The last payments will be made on 4 December 2018. In November, Kela will send recipients of basic income a letter advising them on how to proceed as the experiment ends. Kela has also set up a dedicated helpline for the participants. The helpline provides service in Finnish. The participants should contact Kela or TE Services as soon as possible.

Recipients of a basic income who after the end of the experiment are wholly or partially unemployed and who are not registered as job seekers must register as unemployed job seekers with TE Services. It is worthwhile to register as an unemployed job seeker without delay, since unemployment benefits can only be paid to job seekers who are available for work.

Participants must also apply for unemployment benefits or any other benefits that they may be entitled to, if they have not applied for the benefit during the experiment. The easiest way is to apply for benefits online. You must apply in order to be paid unemployment benefits or any other benefits.

Kela checks the client’s situation

If TE Services imposes a mandatory waiting period on the client before the end of 2018, that may prevent the client from getting unemployment benefits even after the basic income experiment has ended. Depending on the situation, the waiting period can be 15–90 days.

A waiting period may be imposed if you quit or decline work, turn down an offer to participate in an employment-promoting service or end it prematurely, or do not comply with the terms of your employment plan. Being employed, self-employed or a student may also affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Furthermore, the qualifying period in connection with labour market subsidy may affect the entitlement to unemployment benefits. Unemployed job seekers without vocational qualifications must complete a qualifying period in order to get labour market subsidy. The qualifying period is at the most 21 weeks.

According to Mia Helle, Head of the Legal Unit in Kela’s Benefit Services, it is important that the client contacts Kela or TE Services well in advance of the end of the basic income experiment. Kela checks the client’s situation carefully and makes sure that the client knows how to apply for any benefits that he or she may be entitled to.

Kela’s services are available by phone and on the internet

A helpline for participants in the basic income experiment is available at 020 371 017 (in Finnish) between 9:00 and 15:00, Monday to Friday. Clients can call Kela for information about the end of the basic income experiment and about how to apply for other benefits from Kela.

Clients can also make a phone appointment or book an appointment with a Kela service point. When the client has booked an appointment, the client’s situation can be checked and the client receive advice on how to apply for benefits.

The basic income experiment was launched on 1 January 2017. In the experiment, 2,000 randomly selected unemployed persons have been paid a monthly basic income of 560 euros regardless of any other income they may have or whether they are looking for work. The basic income has been an unconditional benefit that has not been reduced by other benefits or earnings.

During the experiment, participants have had the choice of claiming an unemployment benefit or applying for some other benefit for which they may be eligible. Kela has advised the participants to apply for benefits during the experiment.

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