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Social security & benefits

If you or your spouse are working in Finland or have moved to Finland on a permanent basis, you may be entitled to social security coverage under the Finnish social security system. The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) makes a determination about whether you are entitled to coverage. You may also receive benefits from Kela.

From Kela’s service desk at International House Helsinki you can get information about social security as well as benefits, and you can both file and also drop off applications.

How to visit Kela’s service desk at International House Helsinki?

1) To visit the Kela’s service desk at IHH you do not need to make an appointment.

2) Please bring along the following documents when you visit:

To visit Kela’s desk at International House Helsinki you do not need to make an appointment.


For further guidance and information, please visit Kela’s website.

Open: Monday–Friday 9:00–16:00


All permanent residents of Finland are issued a personal health insurance card aka Kela card. If you move to Finland from another country or if you start working in Finland, Kela can assess whether you will be covered by the Finnish social security coverage. For this, please submit the Moving to Finland form  at Kela desk at IHH.  You can also submit an application for a Kela card at the same time.

Kela card cannot be used as proof of identity. With your Kela card, you will be reimbursed for your expenses at many private clinics and for prescription drugs at pharmacies. Then, you only have to pay the deductible.

No. The right to use public health services depends on whether you have a municipality of residence in Finland. If you are unsure if you have been assigned a municipality of residence, please contact DVV.

It is the responsibility of the home municipality to arrange the necessary health services for all its residents. The Kela card is, however, very commonly asked for when checking in for any health service due to an easy-to-read bar code.

Private health services can be used by everyone, including those who do not have a municipality of residence  in Finland or a Kela card.

There are no social security numbers in Finland. A Finnish Personal Identity Code is sometimes wrongly referred to as a social security number in everyday language.

A Finnish Personal Identity Code can be issued either by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri), once a residence permit has been granted or by Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV).


It is recommendable to visit Kela’s website, where you can find more detailed information about the various life situations in which a individual may be entitled to benefits.

You can visit the Kela desk the IHH to discuss and submit applications. Kela’s service desk does not require an appointment time to be booked beforehand.

Some benefits available from Kela are subject to tax while others are tax-exempt. The basis of taxation depends on the benefit in question. Withholding percentage may be affected, for example, by whether the individual is employed and what is the tax rate on their salary income.

More detailed information on taxation of benefits can be found on Kela’s website. Benefits and wages are taxed differently and there is a separate tax card for social security benefits. Tax card calculated for the benefit is transmitted electronically directly from the Tax Administration to Kela upon request.