Social security benefits in Finland

If you live in Finland permanently, you are generally entitled to various benefits. In certain circumstances you may also be entitled to social security benefits based on employment.

The Finnish social insurance system consists of residence-based and employment-based benefits.

Residence-based benefits

Residence-based benefits are provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela). You can get Kela benefits for example if:

  • you have children or you are expecting a baby in your family
  • you fall ill or you become disabled 
  • you are retired (national pension)
  • your occupational capacity is reduced
  • your spouse or carer has died
  • you become unemployed (basic security) or
  • you need assistance with housing costs.

Employment-based benefits

If you work in Finland, you are as a rule covered by employment-based insurance. Employment-based benefits include earnings-related pensions, occupational rehabilitation, reimbursement of expenses for accidents at work and occupational illnesses as well as earnings-related unemployment benefits, although this requires membership of an unemployment fund. Earnings-related pensions are managed by the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK).

Entitlement to benefits

Permanent residence or employment in Finland do not automatically mean that you are entitled to a particular residence- or employment-based benefit. Benefits are granted if you also meet the other conditions for them. A limited number of benefits can be paid abroad.

If you move to Finland

You may be considered to be living in Finland permanently from the day you move if your intention is to move to Finland permanently.

If you move to Finland temporarily, you are not as a rule entitled to Finnish social security benefits. In certain circumstances, however, you may be entitled to benefits based on employment.

If you work in Finland

If you move to Finland for work, you are as a rule entitled to Finnish social security from the time your employment starts.

If you are in paid employment, your employer is required to take out occupational pension insurance for you. If you are self-employed or a farmer, you must take out occupational pension insurance yourself. The insurance entitles you to an earnings-related pension.

If you move away from Finland

You are as a rule entitled to Kela benefits if you stay abroad for less than 6 months, and some benefits are only paid for stays of 3 months.  Notify Kela even if you start working in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland for less than 6 months.

Certain special groups are also entitled to Kela benefits even if their stay abroad lasts for over 6 months. These special groups include posted workers and students

If you have moved away from Finland, but you still work here, you can be partially covered by the Finnish social security system.

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