Costs incurred by non-custodial parents in maintaining contact to their child

The right of children under 18 years to maintain contact to their parents can be safeguarded by granting basic social assistance for this purpose. Kela can grant a child-specific food allowance which is valid for the day of seeing the child to the parent who does not live in the same household as well as assistance towards travel costs.

In order for Kela to be able to grant assistance for the costs for maintaining contact to the child, an agreement confirmed by the municipal authorities or a court decision on the right of access is always needed.

If a child spends half of his or her time with one parent and half with the other parent or another guardian, the child-specific basic amount is divided equally and the costs arising from child contact are not separately recognised for purposes of basic social assistance. The child-specific basic amount can be divided between the parents without a confirmed agreement on the right of access or a court decision. If the child lives alternately with another guardian (not the child's parent), a confirmed agreement on the right of access or a court decision is needed so that the child-specific basic amount can be divided.

Child-specific food allowance for the non-custodial parent

Kela may grant a child-specific food allowance for a non-custodial parent who receives basic social assistance, which is valid for the day of seeing the child.

As a rule, the non-custodial parent receives food allowance for the days of seeing the child in accordance with the agreement on the right of access.

The days of seeing the child are taken into account for each child separately and for each full or partial day. The basic amount differs according to the age of the child and the meal expenses are taken into account to a percentage of 49% of the basic amount. The meal expenses for one day are calculated as the meal expenses for one month divided by 30.

Example

Maria receives basic social assistance from Kela. She sees her 6-year-old son on two weekends each month from Friday to Monday morning. Maria applies for assistance for the costs of seeing her child for the days of seeing the child.

The basic amount for a child under 10 years of age is EUR 316.40 per month. Maria is paid food allowance for the child for eight days, i.e. in total EUR 41.33 (316.40 x 0.49/30 x 8).

The amounts are stated in the level for 2020.

Travel costs

Travel costs related to maintaining contact with one’s child can be taken into account for the parent who does not live in the same household if there is an agreement confirmed by the municipal social services office or a court decision on the right of access. Kela recognises travel costs related to child contact based on the least expensive method of travel. Travel costs outside Finland are usually not covered. The costs incurred by an accompanying person may be recognised as well if the child is under 7 years of age or cannot travel unaccompanied due to his or her state of health or for some other specific reason.

Verification of the travel costs always has to be presented (e.g. train ticket). You can apply for a voucher in advance to cover travel costs related to child contact. State under Additional information if you need a voucher.

Read more