Living in Finland

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Financial problems

If you cannot pay your bills

If you are unable to pay a bill, immediately contact its sender. You can often get an extension for the payment due date of the bill. In such cases, a small late fee is usually added to the bill.

If you have not paid a bill by its due date and have not agreed on an extension, you have to pay a reminder and collection fee as well as a late fee.

Collection

If you have not paid a bill by its due date, you will receive a reminder bill. After one or two reminders, the bill may transfer to a collection agency. The collection agency will send you a demand for payment. If you are unable to pay the bill immediately, contact the collection agency and arrange a payment plan for the bill.

If you do not pay the bill or arrange a payment plan, the debt may finally go into enforcement (ulosotto). Enforcement means that the authority will have the right to take some of your income to pay your debt. The enforcement authority can also sell your valuable possessions in order to pay the debt.

A decision of the district court is often required for enforcement. However, some payments go into enforcement immediately. Such payments include taxes, health centre fees and day-care fees, for example.

Non-payment record

If you do not pay a bill or debt, you may get a non-payment record (maksuhäiriömerkintä) in the credit information register. It causes many difficulties. Landlords and banks often check your credit information in the register. If you have a non-payment record, you may not get a rental dwelling, bank loan or credit card. An employer may also demand that their employee not have any non-payment records.

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Information on the non-payment recordFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiJudicial system:
Information on recovery proceedingsFinnish | Swedish | English

If you cannot pay your rent

Your lessor is entitled to dissolve your rental agreement if you do not pay your rent. The lessor must notify the tenant of the dissolution of the rental agreement. At this point it is usually still possible to reach an agreement with the lessor concerning the payment of due rent. If you do not pay your rent, your lessor can ask a court for an eviction. This means that you will have to move out of the apartment and pay the rent you have neglected to pay.

If you are having difficulties paying your rent, contact your lessor.

Ask your lessor to give you more time to make the payment. You can also ask for advice from your local social welfare office. Also find out if you are entitled to receive, for example, housing allowance or income support. You can ask Kela if you are eligible to receive housing allowance and income support.

The InfoFinland web page Housing allowance contains information on housing allowance.

Help with financial problems

Social benefits

Check that you have applied for all the social benefits you are entitled to receive. They may include, for example, unemployment benefit, housing allowance, student financial aid and financial aid for families with children. You can find more information on the InfoFinland page Finnish social security.

Income support

If your or your family’s income and assets are not enough to cover necessary daily expenses, you can apply for basic income support (perustoimeentulotuki) from Kela. The necessary daily expenses mean reasonable expenses on, for example, food, clothes, healthcare and housing. Basic income support also covers expenses on hobbies and recreational activities, children’s day care, morning and afternoon activities for schoolchildren and necessary moving costs.

Your income support is affected by all your income and assets. This also includes social welfare benefits from, for example, Kela, employment pension insurance or unemployment fund.

Before applying for income support, apply for all the other benefits and allowances that you are entitled to (such as unemployment benefit, housing allowance, pension, study grant, parenthood allowance, sickness allowance, child home care allowance or child maintenance support).

Income support is meant to be a temporary help. Income support is only paid if you cannot get any other income or benefits or if the other benefits do not cover the necessary expenses.

If you or your family have expenses caused by special needs and you cannot get basic income support for those expenses, your municipality’s social welfare office may grant supplementary and preventive income support (täydentävä ja ehkäisevä toimeentulotuki). You can get income support, for example, to secure your housing situation or if your financial situation suddenly gets worse. The purpose of supplementary and preventive income support is to help people manage on their own and prevent social exclusion.

Always apply to Kela for basic income support first. If you need supplementary or preventive income support, you can mention it in the same application. If you ask, Kela can transfer your application for supplementary and preventive income support to your municipality.

If you need, you can get advice about applying for income support from Kela, your municipality’s social welfare office or immigrants’ information service point.

linkkiKela:
Information on income supportFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian

Counselling and help with money problems

If you have problems with paying bills and debts, contact financial and debt counselling unit (talous- ja velkaneuvonta). Financial and debt counselling is organised by municipalities. The counselling is free of charge.

Takuusäätiö can give help and advice for paying debts. The foundation can help you combine your debts into a single loan. You can apply for a loan guarantee from the Guarantee Foundation if you need a bank loan to pay your debts. You can also apply to the Guarantee Foundation for a small loan if you need money for a non-recurring expense, such as a household appliance, furniture, rental deposit, car repair or eyeglasses.

Velkalinja is a free-of-charge telephone helpline maintained by the Guarantee Foundation. The helpline at 0800 9 8009 provides its services in Finnish, and, if necessary, in English or Swedish.

In emergencies where you do not have enough money for food, for example, you can also contact a parish welfare worker (diakoniatyöntekijä). The contact information can be obtained from the parish.

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Financial and debt counsellorsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiGuarantee Foundation:
Help for financial problemsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Financial informationFinnish | Swedish | English

Gambling addiction

If your financial problems are caused by your gambling problem, you should seek help.

You can seek help for gambling problems from A-clinics (A-klinikka), mental health clinics (mielenterveystoimisto) and health centres (terveyskeskus). In some municipalities, social offices (sosiaalitoimisto) and parishes can also provide assistance. Help is also available to close relatives of gambling addicts.

Help for gambling problems is also available from organisations. The multi-language AddictionLink (Päihdelinkki) online service contains a wealth of information on gambling problems.

Peluuri is a helpline for people with gambling problems, people close to them and other people who are facing gambling problems. The helpline number is 0800 100 101. It provides services in Finnish, Swedish and also in English, when possible. Peluuri is also available online.

linkkiAddiction Link:
Information on gambling problemsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

linkkiPeluuri:
Help and information for people with gambling addiction and their friends and familyFinnish | Swedish | English