Recovery of overpayments

If someone has been paid too much benefit or has not been entitled to benefit payments, Kela will recover the overpayment.

Tell Kela as soon as possible about any changes in your circumstances (e.g. if you earn more income than previously) so that your benefit is not overpaid.

Decision on recovery

You will receive a written decision about the recovery of overpayments which will tell you the amount of benefit overpaid, the due date and the payment details.

The decision specifies a time period within which you can repay the overpaid benefit to its net amount. Recovery to the net amount of the benefit means that you repay a taxable benefit to an amount from which taxes have been deducted. The time limit may vary in accordance with the decision that the Tax Administration makes annually.

If you repay the benefit after the specified time period, the preliminary tax withholding can no longer be corrected, and you will have to repay the benefit to its gross amount. When a benefit is recovered to its gross amount, you will also have to repay the share of the taxes. If a benefit is recovered to its gross amount, Kela will automatically advise the Tax Administration of your repayments for the purpose of tax calculation for the year of repayment.

Payment plan

If you are unable to pay the debt by the due date, please contact our Overpayment Recovery Centre to discuss alternative payment arrangements. You can suggest payment in instalments or an offset of your debt against a benefit from Kela.

Paying back an overpayment

If you cannot afford to pay back the amount being recovered from you all at once, Kela can set it off against another benefit that you are being paid, i.e. deduct the amount owed from the second benefit. The amount set off per month must be at least EUR 30.

Kela will usually set off the overpayment against some other benefit being paid to you. However, a certain share of unemployment benefits is, under the Enforcement Code, defined as an exempt amount which places limits on the amount that can be used as an offset. Kela will typically not be able to set off the debt against your unemployment benefit because it will most likely be less than the exempt amount.

Social assistance is not intended for the repayment of debt. If you receive social assistance (income support), Kela will stop the offset process.

The recovery will be continued in some other manner. You can talk to Kela’s Overpayment Recovery Centre about a payment plan.

Do as follows:

  1. Log in to our e-service using your online bank credentials or a mobile ID.
  2. On the front page of e-service you will see the benefit that is being recovered. Select the benefit for which you wish to propose a payment plan and then select Ehdota maksusuunnitelma (Propose a payment plan).
  3. Alternatively, you can call the Overpayment Recovery Centre to discuss an offset of your debt or payment in instalments.
  4. If it is not possible for you to handle the matter online or by phone, you can complete and print out the form Ehdotus takaisinmaksusta/Suggestion for repayment Y81 (pdf) and send it by post to Kela at the address Kelan perintäkeskus, PL 31, 00056 KELA.

Kela may, in certain situations, waive a recovery or reduce the amount being recovered.

Social assistance payments are recovered only in very exceptional cases.

Payment reminder and enforcement

If you have not paid the benefit being recovered and not agreed on a payment plan with Kela, Kela will send a reminder. The first payment reminder is sent 2 weeks after the payment becomes overdue and the second reminder is sent after another 2 weeks. If you have not paid the debt or contacted Kela even after two reminders, the debt will be transferred to the enforcement authorities for recovery.

When the terms of an instalment plan are discussed, your financial circumstances, the amount of debt outstanding and the period of time remaining for the recovery will be taken into account. Kela cannot make a payment plan with you if your financial circumstances are such that you cannot commit to a plan.

Contact Kela without delay if you notice that you cannot pay the benefit being recovered according to the payment plan. In that way, a new payment plan can be drawn up for you.

Your debt to Kela will be transferred to the enforcement authorities for collection if you do not comply with the terms of a payment plan or it has not been possible to make a payment plan with you.

If a customer owes money to Kela and does not have a payment plan or has failed to comply with its terms, Kela will ask their tax refunds to be garnished for the overpayment.

Further information