Financial and welfare support
Finland has a good social security system and you can apply for financial and welfare support if your own money is not enough to cover essential expenses. You can apply for financial support from Kela or a social welfare office. In addition, financial support is available from many parishes and other organisations and associations.
The first thing to do is to find out whether you are eligible for support from Kela. You can do this by applying to Kela on paper, by phone, by visiting a Kela office or by using the Kela website. Financial support from Kela includes child benefit, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, housing benefit, student benefit and support for parents caring for a young child at home. Kela can also grant basic income support for essential living expenses such as food and clothing. If you need help with Kela applications, you should make an appointment with Kela. You can book an appointment by contacting Kela's telephone service.
You can also apply for financial support from the immigrant social services. You can only get welfare support for expenses for which you do not receive support from Kela. These expenses could be, for example, the costs of having a baby, hobbies for a minor child or furniture for your first home. If you want to apply for support from social services, contact the social service of the Integration Office (Kotouttamo) either by phone or e-mail.
Financial support from Kela and social welfare services is only granted for essential expenses. Expenses such as a car, TV, travel or adult hobbies are not considered essential expenses.
If you do not know where to apply for financial support, contact the helpdesk at the Integration Office and we will direct you to the right place.
Help with managing your finances
You can also ask Kotouttamo for help if you feel that your finances as a whole are difficult to handle and you need help managing them. We organise various group information sessions that you can take part in. We also offer personal guidance and advice on everything from paying individual bills to managing your personal finances.
At Kela and booking an interpreter
You can call the Kela helpline in Finnish on weekdays from 9-16
You can also manage your Kela affairs online (in Finnish and Swedish). Contact details for Kela service points can be found on kela.fi.
If you cannot use Kela in Finnish, please contact Kela's customer service. Kela will arrange free interpretation for you if necessary. The interpreter can be a Kela official who speaks the language in question or an external professional interpreter. The interpreter is bound by confidentiality. For general matters that are not relevant to legal protection, a relative or friend can also act as an interpreter. However, persons under the age of 18 are not allowed to act as interpreters. You can also authorise another person to act on your behalf.
Here are some important links in English and Finnish:
- In Finnish: https://www.kela.fi/asiakaspalvelu
- in English: https://www.kela.fi/web/en/customer-service
- in Finnish: https://www.kela.fi/tulkkaus
- in English: https://www.kela.fi/web/en/interpretation
Kela's website has Finnish language phone numbers at this link.