Kela

1.4.2024 benefit changes spare pensioners' housing allowance and child benefits from cuts

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The housing allowances for pensioners will not be affected by the impending cuts in social security benefits. There will also be no reductions in child benefits. The cuts in social security coming into effect on 1 April 2024 will affect general housing allowances and unemployment benefits.

Kela put out a press release on 18 March 2024 about upcoming changes that will reduce general housing allowances and unemployment benefits. The changes have received much attention in the media. According to Petteri Taponen, head of Kela’s customer service unit, many customers have telephoned Kela’s customer service with concerns over their benefits. There have also been misunderstandings.

“Kela’s customer service is getting many phonecalls from pensioners concerned about their housing allowances. Many of the callers receive the housing allowance for pensioners, which will not be changed in any way,” Taponen says.

The changes taking effect on 1 April 2024 do not apply to the housing allowance for pensioners. The general housing allowance and the housing allowance for pensioners are two different benefits. Customers can refer back to the decision notice in which they were granted their benefit to check which of the two they receive from Kela. All decision notices are also available in the OmaKela e-service.

End of unemployment benefit-linked child increases, no cuts to child benefits

The labour market subsidies, basic unemployment allowances and commuting and relocation allowances paid by Kela have included supplemental child increases. These specific types of increases will end on 1 April 2024. This will impact unemployed persons with dependent children under 18. However, child benefits and child increases linked to pensions will remain unaffected by the cuts.

“Some customers have mistakenly gotten the impression that child benefits or maintenance payments will cease entirely. We reassure them that this is not the case,” Taponen says.

In fact, child benefits were increased at the beginning of 2024. The child benefits payable to families with multiple children were raised, and the single-parent supplement increased by EUR 10 to EUR 73.30 per month. Further, the child benefits paid for children under 3 years of age will be raised by EUR 26 per month starting 1 April 2024.

Taponen wants to remind customers that they can use OmaKela to see the decisions they have been issued, the payment dates for their benefits, and the amounts they will get. There is also a summary page on kela.fi (www.kela.fi/changes-to-benefits) detailing the changes in general housing allowances and unemployment benefits. It includes examples outlining how the changes will affect benefits, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to online calculators that customers can use to estimate how the changes will affect their own benefits.

Read more:

Changes in unemployment benefits, general housing allowance and social assistance

Housing allowance for pensioners

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Kela has a responsibility to provide basic support in life’s ups and downs to everyone covered by the Finnish social security system.

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