Basic social assistance for pensioners

Before applying for basic social assistance, find out if you have the right to various primary benefits for pensioners. They include the pensions paid by Kela, the housing allowance for pensioners, and the care allowance for pensioners. Also earnings-related pensions and any pensions you receive from abroad take precedence over basic social assistance.

If your pension and any other benefits you get do not cover your housing and living expenses, you can apply to Kela for basic social assistance. The care allowance for pensioners does not count as income for purposes of basic social assistance

Social assistance is not subject to tax and does not reduce the amount of housing allowance you can get.

Assisted living and at-home services

For assisted living and at-home services the municipality charges an income-based monthly fee, which is determined on the basis of the number of hours of service stated in the service decision, the client’s ability to pay and the size of the family. In addition to care, the monthly fee includes services that, according to the client plan, are provided continuously and regularly and that are closely linked to the care and treatment. The fee does not include housing costs or medicine expenses. A separate fee may be charged for meals and security services.

Some of such user fees (e.g. costs of seeing a doctor) can be accepted as expenses for purposes of basic social assistance provided that they are not waived or reduced by the municipality. Ask your municipality for more information about payment waivers. Enclose with your application for basic assistance a copy of the decision you received concerning user fees.

If the decision on the user fee does not specify the contents of the service in sufficient detail, you must separately provide information stating the shares of the different services in the total amount of the fee in euros or as percentages.

Intensive assisted living

For intensive assisted living the municipality will charge an income-based user fee which covers the service provided to the client in its entirety, including for instance meals.

When determining the user fee the client is left a disposable income, which is at least EUR 167 per month. The client uses this amount to for instance pay for possible out-of-pocket charges for transport services, clothing, personal hygiene, telephone costs and any other costs that are not included in the service.

When needed, the client can apply for basic social assistance. The amount corresponding to the basic amount of social assistance for clients in intensive assisted living is the minimum disposable income of EUR 167 (in 2022). Kela takes this amount into account as an expense when calculating the social assistance. As income an amount is taken into account that in the decision on the user fee is reserved for the client’s personal use (at minimum EUR 167 in 2022).

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