The Finnish social security system is administered by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Kela. When you move to Finland permanently, you will be eligible to receive various benefits from Kela: this is called residence-based social security. In some cases, eligibility to receive Kela benefits is based on employment in Finland, i.e. you do not always have to live permanently in the country to be eligible.
When you apply for coverage under the Finnish social security system, you will receive a personal health insurance card, the Kela card. This is proof of your eligibility to social security. When you are buying prescription medications at your pharmacy or paying for a doctor’s appointment at a private clinic, for instance, the Kela card entitles you to a discount.
All permanent residents in Finland are issued a Kela card. When you move to Finland, register at a local Kela office and complete the required application forms.
If you become unemployed or finish school and do not have a job, register with the employment office as an unemployed job seeker as soon as possible. Once registered, you are eligible for
- Unemployment Allowance (basic or earnings-related allowance) or
- Labour Market Subsidy.
Earnings-related Unemployment Allowance is claimed from your unemployment fund. It is available to members of an unemployment fund only and can be paid for up to 500 days. For more information about the earnings-related Unemployment Allowance, see the website of the Federation of Unemployment Funds in Finland or contact your unemployment fund. Basic Unemployment Allowance and Labour Market Subsidy are claimed from Kela.