The Finnish Social Security and it’s benefits are based on residency and it is defined by the Act respecting Residence-Based Social Security. Usually international students are not eligible for the Finnish Social Security system, as their residency in Finland is not considered permanent in nature. If you have a permanent dwelling and domicile in Finland (studying is not enough for this), you will be covered by the Finnish Social Security system. In this case, Social Security Card (Kela card) will be granted to you. For further information, see Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland).
All permanent residents of Finland are covered by pension security, i.e., health care services, health insurance benefits, parenthood benefits and family benefits. Some benefits involve additional requirements on residence in the country, mainly related to the duration of the residence.
Kela handles benefits related to different circumstances in life. Most commonly, students apply for a daily allowance under the Health Insurance Act, general housing allowance, compensation of doctor’s fees (if they have visited a private medical centre), and family benefits, i.e., maternity grant, maternity and parental allowance and child home care allowance. If one of the student’s parents is dead, he or she may have benefits related to family pensions for the duration of the studies. You can enquire about these from Kela and your pension provider or the Finnish Centre for Pensions.
Tips for managing your affairs:
- be active and find out yourself about social benefits and ask for advice;
- utilise e-Services;
- remember to apply for the benefits by the deadlines (application periods vary between benefits);
- fill in the application carefully and ensure that the required attachments are enclosed to make the processing of your case easier and quicker;
- if you are in a rush to submit an application, remember that it can be complemented later;
- respond to requests for further information sent to you, as they are not needlessly sent out; the decision on your case requires more information. Additionally,
- find out if you have a private insurance policy for accidents or illness.