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Entitlement to basic social assistance

You may be entitled to social assistance if your income is not enough for essential everyday expenditure, such as food and housing costs.

Social assistance is the last-resort form of financial assistance. Before applying for basic social assistance, you must find out if there are some other benefits or sources of income available to you. 

  • Handling of basic social assistance (income support) is carried out by Kela
  • The municipal social services offices administer supplementary and preventive social assistance. Note that you will always first need the decision on basic social assistance from Kela even though you only apply for supplementary or preventive social assistance from the municipal social services.

In your application for basic social assistance you report your personal data, assets and expenditure. Include also the requested attachments. Kela handles your application in seven working days as a rule.

Kela grants basic social assistance usually for one month at a time. If you though have regular income that will not change during the next upcoming months you can apply for basic social assistance for several months at a time. Your entitlement to basic social assistance is determined by Kela by reference to a calculation of your income and expenses.


Text edited by: Suomi.fi editorial team
Updated: 3/30/2020