First payments of basic income go out today
The Finnish basic income experiment is being conducted among 2,000 persons between ages 25 and 58, who will receive a monthly basic income of €560 for two years. They will receive their first basic income payments from Kela today.
Those participating in the experiment will be paid a basic income from 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2018. The payments are made on the second business day of each month, with the exception of January 2017, when the payment date is 9 January 2017.
The amount of the basic income will remain the same throughout the experiment. The basic income is also not reduced by any earned income that the participants may have. Participants who find work during the experiment continue to be paid a basic income.
According to Marjukka Turunen, head of Kela's legal affairs unit, one of the most common questions is if it is really true that you can keep the basic income even if you work part-time, for instance. "When we reply that the purpose of the basic income is specifically to encourage recipients to seek employment, we get a very positive reaction.
Have you been selected to participate in the basic income experiment? Please keep in mind the following:
If you have been selected for the experiment, please report any benefits or restrictions that hinder payment of the basic income. Payment of the basic income will be interrupted, for example, if you start military service, are granted a pension or move abroad.
During the experiment, the participants will be monitored in terms of their success in finding employment. However, the monitoring will primarily be based on register data. It is not necessary to notify Kela if you receive a basic income and find work during the experiment. The basic income is tax free and does not affect the amount of your taxable income.
Other social benefits will be governed by the same rules as before.
According to Marjukka Turunen, if someone finds work during the experiment, any earnings they have will affect for example the general housing allowance and social assistance. People may lose their entitlement to such benefits if they find work and their earnings exceed a certain limit.
The basic income replaces unemployment benefits either partially or completely. For example, if the unemployment benefit, including increases for children, is larger than the basic income, the difference between the unemployment benefit and the basic income is paid to the basic income recipient. The qualifying conditions for labour market subsidy and basic unemployment allowance payments remain the same, as do the practical steps required when receiving unemployment benefits. This means that anyone receiving unemployment benefits along with a basic income will need to complete unemployment status reports and submit them to Kela. Participation in the basic income experiment need not be indicated in the unemployment status report.