Support and benefits
The Finnish social protection system includes various forms of financial support and benefits designed to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to take part in working life and society in general.
Children and parenthood
Maternity, paternity and parental allowances make up for loss of earnings due to having and raising children. Subsequently, parents can opt to take the home care allowance or the private care allowance as an alternative to using municipal day care services. A special care allowance, or basic-rate care allowance, is paid to parents caring for a sick or disabled child.
Mothers of newborn infants receive a maternity grant. Child benefit is paid for children until they are 17. Maintenance allowance is paid for children when one of their parents cannot or fails to pay child maintenance.
Conscripts allowance is paid to those in military service or civil alternative service. The aim is to compensate for loss of earnings incurred by the period of service. It can take the form of housing allowance, the payment of interest on student loans, a basic allowance for dependents, housing allowance and special allowance for dependents, maintenance for the beneficiaries' children.
There are also various special benefits paid for disabled war veterans and frontline veterans of the 1939-1945 wars.
Households on small incomes can receive housing allowance or housing allowance for pension recipients for rented, right of occupancy or owner occupancy accommodation. Housing allowance is also available as a supplement to financial aid to students or the conscripts' allowance.
The benefits for unemployed job seekers comprise the basic daily allowance and labour market subsidy.
The former is paid as a flat rate daily allowance or an earnings related daily allowance. The labour market subsidy is paid to unemployed job seekers who do not meet the employment condition or who have received the basic allowance for the maximum period.
People born before 1950 who are long-term unemployed are entitled to unemployment pensions, paid on the basis of the earnings related pension and national pension.
Sickness and rehabilitation
All people living in Finland are included within the scope of health insurance. This is paid as sickness benefit, reimbursements for medicines, travel expenses when receiving treatment, private health care costs, private dental care costs, reimbursements for examinations and treatment prescribed by physicians.
Disability allowance is paid to people with long-term illnesses or disability to enable them to manage with day-to-day living, take part in employment or to study.
People undergoing rehabilitation can receive rehabilitation allowance either from a pension insurance institution or the Social Insurance Institution.
Treatment costs and loss of earnings due to accidents at work or occupational diseases are paid to employees and farmers in the form of a daily allowance, disability pension, handicap benefit, funeral grant and survivors' pension.
People in Finland are guaranteed the statutory occupational earnings-related pension, or the national pension, in the absence of an occupational pension or if it is minimal. The old age pension is an occupational pension and national pension benefit. The disability pension compensates loss of earnings due to long-term work incapacity. The unemployment pension enables older long-term unemployed people to retire.
Frontline veterans are entitled to supplementary benefits for rehabilitation and dental care.
There are arrangements in Finland for social security, in the form of pension security, accident insurance etc for special professional groups: sportspeople, self-employed, farmers, grant recipients.
Social assistance is a last resort form of income security. Municipalities´ welfare office pay means-tested social assistance when the income and resources of an individual or family are insufficient to cover necessary daily expenses.
There are three forms of social assistance:
- basic social assistance to cover general expenses,
- supplementary social assistance, to cover extra expenses, such as day care costs and preventive social assistance
- preventive social assistance
Municipalities grant social loans to enable applicants to put their financial affairs in order, break debt cycles, getting a place to live, furthering rehabilitation or employment, housing security or overcoming a particular problem.