Social assistance in Finland

Toimeentulotuki Suomessa
On this page you will find information on social assistance in Finland, social assistance granted to foreigners living in Finland and about situations in which persons living abroad on social assistance alone can move to Finland.

Social assistance in Finland

You may be entitled to financial support other than a basic share of social assistance if you are residing in Finland other than on a temporary basis and your income and assets or those of your family do not cover your essential everyday expenses.

Social assistance is a last-resort benefit. You should primarily aim to secure your livelihood in other ways such as earned income, savings, primary benefits or by other means.

Social assistance consists of three components:

  • basic social assistance
  • supplementary social assistance
  • preventive social assistance.

Basic social assistance is granted by Kela. Municipal social services offices are responsible for granting supplementary and preventive social assistance. This information mostly applies to basic social assistance granted by Kela.

Are you entitled to social assistance?

Your right to basic social assistance is assessed based on a monthly calculation. Your right to assistance is decided based on a calculation of your income, assets and reasonable expenses as defined in law. The calculation takes into account all the disposable net income and assets of the applicant or his/her family. Net income means income with tax deducted.

Basic social assistance consists of a basic component and other basic expenses. The basic component is a fixed sum for essential everyday expenses (e.g. food and clothes). Other basic expenses are taken into account to a reasonable extent, including housing expenses and public healthcare expenses other than those included in the basic component (e.g. health centre customer charges and copayments for prescription medicines).

How is social assistance calculated?

Your right to basic social assistance is assessed based on a monthly calculation. Your right to assistance is decided based on a calculation of your income, assets and reasonable expenses as defined in law. The calculation takes into account all the disposable net income and assets of the applicant or his/her family. Net income means income with tax deducted.

Basic social assistance consists of a basic component and other basic expenses. The basic component is a fixed sum for essential everyday expenses (e.g. food and clothes). Other basic expenses are taken into account to a reasonable extent, including housing expenses and public healthcare expenses other than those included in the basic component (e.g. health centre customer charges and copayments for prescription medicines).

 

What conditions must you meet?

Individuals or families residing in Finland other than on a temporary basis and whose income and assets do not cover their essential everyday expenses can get other support than basic social assistance. Kela assesses the nature of your stay in Finland based on an overall case-by-case assessment.

 

How much can you get?

Basic social assistance is a means-tested benefit. Entitlement to basic social assistance is determined by means of a monthly calculation prescribed by law.

 

How do you apply for assistance?

Apply to Kela for basic social assistance. You can also mail your application and attachments to Kela. If you have particular expenses that are not covered by basic social assistance, the social services offices in your municipality of residence can grant supplementary or preventive social assistance on a discretionary basis. The municipality processes your application for supplementary and preventive social assistance.

Can you get assistance as soon as you move to Finland?

The basic assumption is that foreigners are also primarily responsible for providing their own livelihood. Foreigners residing in Finland other than on a temporary basis are entitled to basic social assistance on the same conditions as Finnish citizens living here. Kela assesses the nature of your stay based on a case-by-case overall assessment. However, individuals residing in Finland are if necessary entitled to at least a basic share of social assistance in all circumstances (essential expenses for food and medicines).

 

Can you get assistance abroad?

Entitlement to social assistance is restricted to expenses incurred while staying in Finland.

Who can answer questions?

  • Kela

For questions about supplementary and preventive social assistance, contact the social services office in your municipality of residence.

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Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.