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Finnish social security

In Finland, the purpose of social security is to provide people with sufficient livelihood in different situations in life. You may need financial support, for example, if you fall ill or have a child. You may be entitled to support if you work or live permanently in Finland.

This page contains information about the residence-based social security provided by Kela.

The InfoFinland page Unemployment benefit contains more information about who is entitled to unemployment security. More information about the Finnish pension system can be found on the InfoFinland page Pension.

Kela manages social security services and benefits, such as the national pension, child benefit, basic unemployment security, sickness and parenthood allowance, income support and rehabilitation. Kela also provides health care benefits paid for private health care.

If you are covered by Finnish health insurance, you will receive a Kela card.

The grounds for Kela benefits are defined by law. When you apply for a Kela benefit, Kela checks whether you have a right to receive Kela benefits. It may be affected by permanent residence and working in Finland. When deciding on a benefit, Kela reviews the life situation of each applicant individually.

The situations in life and needs for benefit often vary greatly between applicants. Therefore, the amounts and grounds of the benefits also vary. Always clarify your own situation separately.

Information on social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Social security of a person moving to Finland(pdf, 560 kb)Finnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | Sami

Information on health insuranceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Information about Finnish social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Coronavirus and Finnish social security

Kela pays unemployment benefit to those who cannot receive earnings-related daily allowance from their own unemployment fund and to entrepreneurs whose full-time business operations have ended as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. The condition is that you are entitled to Kela benefits. Some temporary changes have been made to Kela’s unemployment benefit. Read more about the changes on the website of Kela.

In some situations, you can apply for sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease (tartuntatautipäiväraha) from Kela. The allowance is intended for those who have been ordered to isolation or quarantine. For the application, you need a medical certificate from a doctor in charge of infectious diseases in your municipality or hospital district. Read more about the allowance on the Kela website.

In some situations, you may be entitled to income support. First, find out what other Kela benefits you are entitled to.

Impact of the corona situation on Kela benefitsFinnish | Swedish | English

Unemployment benefit in the coronavirus situationFinnish | Swedish | English

Sickness allowance on account of an infectious diseaseFinnish | Swedish | English

Income support in the coronavirus situationFinnish | Swedish | English

Right to Kela benefits

As a general rule, if you live permanently in Finland, you can receive Kela benefits. The law defines what is meant by permanent residence.

Working in Finland may also give you a right to Kela benefits.

Do you have a right to benefits? This is affected by whether you are moving to Finland

  • from a country belonging to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
  • from a country with which Finland has a social security agreement; or
  • from another country.

The EEA countries include the EU countries, along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Your right to benefits is also affected by the capacity in which you are moving to Finland, for example:

  • employee or entrepreneur
  • student
  • family member
  • seconded employee.

Finland has made agreements regarding social security with a number of countries. They include the Nordic countries, USA, Canada and Quebec, Chile, Israel, India, China, South Korea and Australia. The agreements primarily apply to pensions. Some of them also concern health care. If you are coming from one of these countries, check with Kela whether or not these agreements affect your social security.

Municipality of Residence ActFinnish | Swedish

Information on social security agreements between different countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

Information on Finnish social security for citizens of EU countriesFinnish | Swedish | English

Moving to Finland permanently and living in Finland permanently

When you move to Finland, Kela always first assesses whether or not you are moving to live in the country permanently, as defined by the social security legislation.

If Kela considers your move to Finland as not permanent, you may still have a right to Kela benefits based on your work.

You may be considered to be moving to Finland permanently in the following cases, for example:

  • You are a returnee, i.e. you are returning to Finland from abroad.
  • You have a permanent employment contract, or similar agreement, regarding work you will be doing in Finland.
  • You are married to or in an otherwise close family relationship with a person who is already a permanent resident of Finland.

In addition, if you are obliged to obtain a residence permit, it is usually required that your permit is valid.

An overall assessment of the situation will be prepared. Based on this, it will be considered whether or not your residence is permanent.

If you are moving to Finland temporarily, you are not entitled to Kela benefits. Starting from 1 April 2019, a student from outside the EU and EEA area may have a right to some Kela benefits, such as health insurance benefits.

Once the ruling has been made that you are a permanent resident of Finland, you will be regarded as such for as long as:

  • you have your primary residence and home in the country, and you spend most of your time in Finland


  • you have some other reason for your permanent residence in Finland, such as a family tie or work.

However, if you begin work in another country or go abroad for more than six months, your right to Kela benefits may be terminated. More information about these situations is available from Kela.

There are also benefits that you cannot receive if you are not, or have not previously been, a permanent resident of Finland. For example, parents can only receive parenthood allowance if they have lived in Finland for at least 180 days directly before the child’s expected date of delivery. If you are coming from another EU country, however, you can in some cases utilise the insurance periods you have accumulated in the other EU country. Ask for more information at Kela’s international situations unit:

tel. 020 634 0200
at 10 am–3 pm

Social security of a person moving to FinlandFinnish | Swedish | English

Moving abroad and social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Contact information for KelaFinnish | Swedish | English

Working gives you rights to at least partial Finnish social security

EU countries, EEA countries and Switzerland

If you move to Finland for work, you will usually get a right to Kela benefits for the duration of your employment contract even if you have a short contract.

If your wage amounts to at least €726.27 per month, you have a right to most Kela benefits. It does not matter how many hours you work per week or how long your employment contract is.

Employees and Finnish social securityFinnish | Swedish | English

Help in taking care of Kela matters

Right to use an interpreter

If you are unable to take care of Kela matters in Finnish, Swedish or English, Kela can arrange interpretation for you. You do not need to pay for the interpretation service. You can order an interpreter from Kela’s telephone service or visit a Kela service point. Interpreters are bound to professional secrecy.

A relative or friend can also act as an interpreter if the matter in question does not affect your legal protection. However, those under 18 years of age cannot act as an interpreter.

Contact information for KelaFinnish | Swedish | English

Taking care of Kela matters and interpretationFinnish | Swedish | English

Taking care of Kela matters on behalf of another person

If you want someone else to take care of Kela matters on your behalf, you can prepare a letter of authorisation for that purpose. The person you authorise can apply for Kela benefits on your behalf or appeal against a decision.

You can also provide oral authorisation for one appointment, for example, by phone.

A guardian can take care of all matters of a child under the age of 15.

Taking care of Kela matters on behalf of another Finnish | Swedish | English

Read more on Kela benefits

The InfoFinland website contains a lot of information on Kela benefits. Read more on the following pages:

How will Brexit affect Kela benefits?

Read more about the rights of citizens of the United Kingdom to Kela benefits on the Kela website.

How will Brexit affect Kela benefits?Finnish | Swedish | English