Supplementary and Preventive Social Assistance

Social assistance consists of the following three components: basic social assistance, supplementary social assistance, and preventive social assistance.

You may apply for supplementary or preventive social assistance, or income support, after first applying for basic social assistance from Kela. Financial assistance is granted as a part of social work in order to promote the recipients’ social security and independence, and to prevent their social exclusion and long-term dependency on social assistance.

Do the following

You may apply for basic social assistance from Kela. Kela services are available online and by phone. You may also visit any of the Kela service units.

To whom and on what terms

Individuals and families living or residing in Finland can apply for social assistance if their income and assets do not cover their necessary expenses. Social assistance, or income support, is a last-resort form of financial assistance for individuals and families with financial difficulties. It is intended to be a source of short-term financial aid that complements the person’s other means of income and social assistance.

If you have specific expenses which basic social assistance does not cover, the municipal social services office may at its discretion provide you with supplementary or preventive social assistance. Supplementary social assistance can be granted for specific expenses not covered by basic social assistance granted by Kela. Preventive social assistance granted by the municipality is a part of social assistance and often relates to social work.

Payment details

Basic information and legislation

A person can apply for supplementary or preventive social assistance from their region’s social welfare services after they have received a decision on basic social assistance from Kela. The application can be submitted to Kela while applying for basic social assistance. The decision on social assistance will be issued within seven working days at the latest. If the situation is urgent, the decision can be issued on the following working day after the submission of the application.

The purpose of the assistance is to secure the person’s livelihood and promote their ability to cope independently. Assistance can also be granted for special or exceptional situations, such as for the costs arising from the birth of a child or burial of a loved one.

Preventive assistance is available for reasons that can be considered necessary for improving a person’s situation in life. For example, assistance can be granted to alleviate the difficulties caused by over-indebtedness or a sudden deterioration in the person’s financial situation.