Social assistance in the coronavirus situation

Basic social assistance can be provided to individuals or families living or residing in Finland whose income and assets do not cover their essential daily needs, such as food and medicine.

Basic social assistance is intended for persons who are unable to make a living from work or self-employment, by receiving social security benefits, or by relying on their other income or assets. It is also intended for those who are entitled to maintenance payments but who are not supported by the person liable for maintenance.

Other benefits must be claimed before resorting to social assistance

Basic social assistance is a last-resort form of financial aid which is affected by all of the income and assets available to the applicants and their families, including any savings in a bank account. Other social security benefits are counted as income. Prior to applying for basic social assistance, customers must find out whether they might be entitled to other social benefits, including unemployment benefits, housing benefits, benefits for parents, or sickness allowance.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, a number of temporary changes have been made to the unemployment benefits available to employees and self-employed persons, which will raise benefit levels and loosen some eligibility criteria. For more detailed information, see the section Changes to the unemployment benefit coverage for employees and self-employed persons.

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Temporary compensation due to an epidemic outbreak for basic social assistance clients

The purpose of the temporary compensation is to support the most vulnerable persons and families who have incurred extra costs as a result of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus epidemic. 

Kela grants compensation due to an epidemic outbreak automatically to all clients who are entitled to it. It is thus not necessary to apply for the compensation separately.

The compensation will be paid for four months (September to December 2020). The temporary compensation can be granted to persons who have received basic social assistance for part of the time or for the whole time that the restrictions due to the coronavirus epidemic have been in force, 1 March - 31 July 2020. A further requirement is that the person has received basic social assistance in the month preceding payment of the compensation. This means for instance that compensation can be paid for September if the client has received basic social assistance in August.

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