How housing allowance and unemployment benefits affect basic social assistance

If you are unemployed and between 17 and 64 years of age, register with the TE Services as unemployed and looking for work before applying for basic social assistance. Otherwise you may receive a reduced amount of basic social assistance.

You need not register with the TE Services if

  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you study full-time
  • you are medically unfit for work, retired, on parental leave, or in receipt of farm closure benefits, or if you receive rehabilitation allowance or compensation for loss of earnings on account of rehabilitation
  • you are unable to accept work because you are in institutional care or because of a diagnosed illness
  • you are unable to accept work because of some other acceptable reason. Such reasons are: 
    • you are a foster care provider for at least four hours a day.
    • you are a family/informal caregiver for at least four hours a day.
    • You are performing conscript service.
    • You provide at-home care for a child under three.

Before applying for basic social assistance, find out if you are entitled to unemployment benefits, which take precedence over basic social assistance. If you are a member of an unemployment fund either through membership in a trade union or otherwise, claim earnings-related unemployment allowance from the fund. If you are not a member of an unemployment fund, you should apply for basic unemployment allowance or labour market subsidy from Kela.

Apply also for housing benefits as needed

Before applying for basic social assistance, find out if you are entitled to housing allowance, which takes precedence over basic social assistance.

You can apply for basic social assistance also if you have not yet received a decision on a claim for housing allowance, or you have not yet filed a claim. Basic social assistance can be provided as an advance against an anticipated benefit, in which case it is deducted from that other benefit.

Example

Riitta applies for basic social assistance. Kela notices that she is entitled to general housing allowance, and urges her to claim it as soon as possible.

Kela gives a decision on her application for basic social assistance. She is granted basic social assistance for one month. However, the decision states that social assistance will be deducted from the future payments of housing allowance she will receive.

This means that the amount of basic social assistance paid to Riitta is deducted from her housing allowance entitlement for the same month.

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