How to apply for basic social assistance

  1. Apply for basic social assistance online (in Finnish and in Swedish). To log in to Kela's online customer service, use your online banking user ID and password or a mobile certificate. Alternatively you can complete and print out a paper application for social basic social assistance (TO1e) and mail it to Kela along with the supporting documents.
  2. Scan or take a photo of supporting documents and send them over the Internet. Enclose with the application:
    • documentation about the expenses you are declaring (copies of receipts or invoices for which you are requesting basic social assistance)
    • bank account statements for the last two months (new application)
    • income statement (TO4e) and supporting documents if you are self-employed.

      Kela obtains salary information from the national incomes register. Kela uses this data when processing claims and applications. You will be contacted if additional information is required.
  3. As appropriate, also enclose the following documents unless you have presented them to Kela earlier:
    • copy of the rental or right-of-occupancy agreement.
    • documents showing the amounts of rent/maintenance fee or water/sauna charges unless shown in the rental or right-of-occupancy agreement
      • Please note: Kela receives rental information from these landlords electronically. If your landlord is on the list, you do not have to submit documentation regarding the residential details.
    • form Application for Rental security deposit (TO2e) along with supporting documents if you are applying for help with the rental security deposit
    • statement showing the monthly payments of interest and principal on your housing loan
    • statement from the creditor showing the amount of housing debt or an account statement showing the loan number, outstanding amount, purpose and interest rate percentage.
    • home insurance policy
    • information about other property and assets such as investment fund shares
    • documentation showing that your tax refund has been seized (copy of a certificate issued by the tax or debt enforcement authority)
    • copy of payment plan issued by the enforcement authorities
    • an agreement confirmed by the municipal authorities or a court decision on the custody, right of access and maintenance of a child
    • copy of estate inventory deed if you or your family member are a party to an estate.
    You can submit all required documents through Kela's online customer service system or by mail.
  4. If you send the supporting documents by post after you have submitted your application, use the Accompanying form (TO3e). If you are unable to enclose the TO3e form, write your personal identity code on each document. If it is a bill, make a note on it that it concerns social assistance. Also indicate on the bill if Kela should pay it directly or transfer money into your account for you to pay the bill yourself. That way Kela will be able to link each document to your application details. Keep the original and send a copy of it to Kela. Read more about bills
  5. Kela will usually review your application within seven working days (Monday to Friday) of receiving it along with all the necessary supporting documents. The decision letter will be sent to your home address. When you want to see if your application has been decided, how much you will get and when you will be paid, go to Kela's online customer service. You can also see any possible reminders concerning, for instance, documents missing from your claim. 

If you have expenses for which you cannot get basic social assistance, you may be able to get supplemental or preventive social assistance from your municipality. Enter these expenses under ‘Additional information” on the application form. At your request, Kela can pass this information on to the municipal social services office.

Renewing an application

If you continue to need help immediately after having received basic social assistance, you can apply for it via Kela's online customer service or on the TO1e form. If you do not expect your income or circumstances to change, you can apply for assistance for more than one or two months. Based on your circumstances, Kela will evaluate for how long a period you can get assistance. You will be contacted if additional information is required. If there is a change in your income or other circumstances, be sure to tell Kela about that

Verbal application

If you cannot apply for basic social assistance online or on a paper form, you can do so verbally. Contact Kela's customer service at 020 634 2550 or a Kela's customer service point.

When to apply

Basic social assistance is usually granted from the beginning of the month of application or the following month.

In exceptional situations it can be granted retroactively. Such situations are for example the threat of eviction, homelessness, family break-up or hospitalisation. You must provide good reasons why the assistance should be granted retroactively.

Processing times for applications

Please make sure to complete the application carefully. Attach all necessary documentation. This will speed up the processing of your case. Kela will usually deal with your application within seven working days (Monday to Friday) of receiving your application and all necessary supporting documents.

Urgent situations

If your situation is such that you need basic social assistance urgently, apply for it by calling Kela's customer service at 020 634 2550 or visit a Kela service point. This might be the case for example if you are threatened with eviction or if you have been released from hospital and need medicine urgently. Kela evaluates if your need for assistance is urgent. If so, your application will be decided on the day it arrived or the following working day.

Who can apply for basic social assistance?

  • Basic social assistance is a family-specific benefit. If you have a spouse or partner, either one of you can make an application for both of you. Kela grants the assistance to the entire family but in the applicant’s name.
  • Applications can also be submitted on behalf of a legally incompetent person by their legal guardian or representative or by someone who looks after the person (such as a grandparent).
  • If two friends share a household but do not constitute a family, they must each file their own application.

Personal consultation with a Kela counsellor

If you or your family would like to talk to a Kela counsellor about basic social assistance, call Kela's customer service at 020 634 2550 or contact a Kela office. If needed, a customer service advisor can schedule an appointment for you, or you can do so yourself at www.kela.fi/appointments.

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