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Typical situations in which customers contact Kela are childbirth, the beginning of study, illness, unemployment and retirement.
The employer customers’ contacts with Kela are usually related to the employees’ sick leaves, parental leaves and occupational health care.
Self-employed persons are considered as individual customers when the self-employed person contacts Kela in his or her own case but as employer customers when the self-employed person contacts Kela on behalf of his or her employee.
Families with children
Parents of a small child are entitled to maternity, paternity and parental allowances. Financial assistance is also available towards the cost of adopting a child from abroad. Kela provides a child benefit for each child under 17 years of age. Higher rates of child benefit apply for single parents. To support the care of small children, Kela provides child home care and private day care allowances.
Kela can grant financial aid to students who study on a full-time basis. The financial aid for students includes study grant, government guarantee for student loans and housing supplement. Students who rent a home in Finland may be entitled to general housing allowance. Other benefits for students provided by Kela are, for example, the school transport subsidy, the student loan compensation and subsidised meals.
Student financial aid is available to students in upper secondary school/senior high school, an institute of vocational education or an institution of higher education and students who complete other separately specified studies. The student’s own income, and sometimes also that of his or her parents, may affect your eligibility for financial aid and the amount of the benefit.
Unemployed persons who are not members of an unemployment fund or who have exhausted their entitlement to fund-provided benefits get basic unemployment benefits from Kela. These are the basic unemployment allowance and the labour market subsidy.
Unemployment benefits are paid only during the period that the unemployed person is listed as an unemployed jobseeker (looking for a job) with the TE Services. The TE Services also give Kela a certificate about whether the person you can be paid unemployment benefits.
Kela provides national pensions for persons whose retirement pension based on employment or self-employment is small or non-existent. Persons receiving a small pension may, in addition, be paid a guarantee pension.
Besides national pensions, Kela provides the following benefits for pensioners: housing allowance for pensioners, pensioners’ care allowance, child increase and front-veteran’s supplements.
Elderly long-term unemployed persons who are in a difficult position due to the labour market situation can be paid pension assistance before payment of their pension starts.
Kela provides conscript’s allowances for persons performing their compulsory military or alternative civilian service and for their spouse and children. Conscript’s allowances can also be paid to cover housing costs for the conscript’s permanent home and interest on student loans.
Kela can award persons with low incomes housing allowance to cover rental expenses and expenses for owner-occupied housing. A certain share of the housing costs is payable by the recipient, however.
National Health Insurance provides coverage for sickness-related expenses. Patients are free to choose between public and private health services.
Kela provides reimbursement to patients for part of the fees charged by doctors in private practice and for part of the diagnostic and treatment charges of private-sector health care providers. Reimbursements are also available for the cost of dental services obtained from the private sector. Further, Kela provides reimbursement for travel expenses exceeding a fixed deductible and for the cost of prescribed medicines.
While unfit for work, insured persons are entitled to a sickness allowance that covers part of their loss of income. If an incapacitated employee is entitled to sick pay from his or her employer, the sickness allowance is paid to the employer.
Persons covered under the Finnish social security system are entitled to medical care during a temporary stay in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland. As proof of entitlement, a European Health Insurance Card – available free of charge from Kela - must be presented.
Basic social assistance
Basic social assistance may be available to individuals and families whose income and assets do not cover their essential daily expenses. Assistance may be granted for expenses covered by the basic amount and other basic expenses.
The basic amount is a fixed sum of money needed for the essential costs of daily living. Other basic expenses are for example housing costs and other expenses for public health services apart from those covered by the basic amount.
If a family has specific expenses which basic social assistance does not cover, the municipal social services office may, at its discretion, grant the family supplementary or preventive social assistance.
Kela provides disabled and chronically ill persons with a disability allowance or pensioners' care allowance, the purpose of which is to help them to cope better with the challenges of everyday life. The level of the allowance is graded according to the nature of the illness or disability and the restrictions the illness or disability causes.
The purpose of rehabilitation is to preserve and improve the functional status and working capacity of incapacitated or disabled persons and to enhance their quality of life. Kela covers some of the cost of vocational and medical rehabilitation, and provides financial assistance towards other rehabilitation services financed with an annual grant from Parliament.
For the time of rehabilitation it is possible to receive rehabilitation allowance to support the economic security of the rehabilitee. If the employer pays a wage or salary during rehabilitation, the rehabilitation allowance is paid to the employer. The employer can also apply for rehabilitation courses for the workplace.
Benefits for survivors
In the event of the death of a spouse or the father, mother or other provider of a child, statutory survivors’ pensions offer financial security for the surviving spouse and children.
Survivors’ pensions are paid both by Kela and the authorised pension provider of the deceased. Survivors’ pensions are also provided as part of workers’ compensation and motor insurance plans.
Surviving spouses on a low income can also get a housing allowance or a housing allowance for pensioners from Kela.
Moving to or from Finland
Coverage under the social security system administered by Kela generally requires permanent residence in Finland. Persons moving to Finland are considered to be resident in Finland immediately upon arrival provided that their purpose is to make a permanent home in Finland. Persons who move from Finland are not covered under the Finnish social security system.
Persons who stay abroad temporarily (up to a year) are covered under the Finnish social security system.
Kela compensates employers for their occupational health care costs and for the costs of medical care that the employer possibly provides for the employees.
If an employee is paid a wage by the employer during a statutory leave, Kela will pay sickness allowance, parental allowance and rehabilitation allowance directly to the employer. Kela also reimburses the employer for costs related to annual holidays during family leaves.
Family leave compensation is paid for the costs that the employer incurs following a female worker’s parental leave.
Kela reimburses employers for the costs for paid sick leaves and parental leaves as well as for the costs for preventive occupational health care. Kela also reimburses part of the costs of general practitioner level medical care for the employees, if the services are arranged as part of the occupational health care. The employer can also apply for customised KIILA rehabilitation courses for the workplace to support the work capacity of the employees.