Unemployment benefits and social assistance for the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak

If the coronavirus epidemic is the reason for the need to apply for social assistance, information on how the epidemic has affected the income from self-employment must be provided with the application for social assistance.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, temporary changes to the unemployment benefits have been implemented. Both persons who are self-employed on a part-time basis and those who are self-employed on a full-time basis can become entitled to unemployment benefits on less stringent grounds than before, regardless of company form. Unemployment benefits are primary benefits that take precedence over social assistance.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, an increasing number of self-employed persons also have to seek social assistance. Social assistance, or income support, is a last-resort form of financial assistance. The social assistance is affected by the applicant’s and the family’s all available income and assets, including savings in bank accounts. Other social security benefits are counted as income. Personal expenses paid from the company’s account are also counted as the self-employed person’s income.

Without the necessary documentation, it is not possible to process the application

For the application for social assistance, a free-form statement on how the epidemic has affected the income from the self-employment activity is needed.

The most important documents are the bank statements. Bank statements are needed for the self-employed person's and the family members’ all Finnish and foreign bank accounts as well as for the company’s accounts. As regards self-employed persons who use an invoicing service, bank statements are needed for the self-employed person and the family as well as verification of the assets in the invoicing service.

If the bank statements do not show the company’s running costs, such as rent, electricity or wages due for payment, the self-employed person must provide separate information about these costs in the application.

Recipients of social assistance must inform Kela if their circumstances change, for instance if their income changes. The income can change for instance if the recipient receives income from an unemployment fund for self-employed persons or if the recipient is after all able to withdraw income from the company and Kela was not aware of this when the decision was made.

Additional information for customers