If you fall ill while studying in Finland

Opiskelun aikainen sairastaminen Suomessa
Here you will find information on students’ rights to medical treatment and the sickness allowance paid to students receiving Finnish student financial aid while they are ill. There is also information on how income is provided to persons covered by other countries’ student financial aid systems while they are ill.

Health care and medical treatment for persons studying in Finland

As a student at a Finnish educational institution you are entitled to student health care services offered by your student union or by an organisation authorised by the union, regardless of your municipality of residence. Student health care includes student health care, medical treatment and dental care. The emphasis is on prevention.

Health care, psychological and social workers’ clinics are usually free of charge. A charge is usually made for visiting a doctor’s surgery. This may be an annual charge or a charge for an individual visit. Doctor’s appointments are free of charge for persons aged under 18.

Student health care at comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, vocational educational institutions and universities of applied sciences is provided by the municipal health centre.

Health care for university students and students at science and art academies is provided by the nationwide Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). Postgraduate students are not covered by student health care.

If you need essential medical treatment that is not covered by student health care, you can use the public health care service. You can get essential medical treatment for the municipal customer fee by showing an official identity document (e.g. driving licence or passport) or a European Health Insurance Card and giving your permanent address in your country of residence. If your municipality of residence is in Finland, you can get all the treatment you need in public health care.

Sickness allowance

Students covered by Finnish financial aid for students

For students living permanently in Finland, income during prolonged illness is guaranteed by the residence-based sickness allowance. Residence-based sickness allowance is paid to full-time students aged 16-67 if they fall ill during their studies and are unable to study due to their illness. You may, however, pursue your studies to a limited extent while receiving sickness allowance.

Unlike other Nordic countries, student sickness cover in Finland is based on social security legislation, not on student financial aid legislation. Currently the only sickness cover for students covered by social security in another Nordic country and receiving Finnish student financial aid is earnings-related sickness allowance, which requires a work history in the country concerned. You can get more information from the social services department in the country where you are studying.

Applying for sickness allowance is only worthwhile for a prolonged period of illness lasting over 2 months. During shorter periods of illness it is advisable to remain covered by student financial aid.

If the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) grants sickness allowance, student financial aid is stopped automatically. So you do not need to suspend your student financial aid yourself before applying for sickness allowance.

For students, the amount of sickness allowance is calculated based either on income from employment or their study grant. In addition to the sickness allowance you can also get general housing allowance for the period of your illness. Apply to Kela to claim sickness allowance and general housing allowance.

Students covered by social security in another Nordic country

Students who get student financial aid from another Nordic country but study in Finland are generally supported financially during a period of illness through student financial aid from their home country.

More information

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