Living in Finland

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Financial problems

Income support

If your or your family’s income and assets are not enough to cover necessary daily expenses, you can apply for basic income support (perustoimeentulotuki) from Kela. The necessary daily expenses mean reasonable expenses on, for example, food, clothes, healthcare and housing. Basic income support also covers expenses on hobbies and recreational activities, children’s day care, morning and afternoon activities for schoolchildren and necessary moving costs.

Your income support is affected by all your income and assets. This also includes social welfare benefits from, for example, Kela, employment pension insurance or unemployment fund.

Before applying for income support, apply for all the other benefits and allowances that you are entitled to (such as unemployment benefit, housing allowance, pension, study grant, parenthood allowance, sickness allowance, child home care allowance or child maintenance support).

Income support is meant to be a temporary help. Income support is only paid if you cannot get any other income or benefits or if the other benefits do not cover the necessary expenses.

If you or your family have expenses caused by special needs and you cannot get basic income support for those expenses, your municipality’s social welfare office may grant supplementary and preventive income support (täydentävä ja ehkäisevä toimeentulotuki). You can get income support, for example, to secure your housing situation or if your financial situation suddenly gets worse. The purpose of supplementary and preventive income support is to help people manage on their own and prevent social exclusion.

Always apply to Kela for basic income support first. If you need supplementary or preventive income support, you can mention it in the same application. If you ask, Kela can transfer your application for supplementary and preventive income support to your municipality.

If you need, you can get advice about applying for income support from Kela, your municipality’s social welfare office or immigrants’ information service point.

linkkiKela:
Information on income supportFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian

If you cannot pay your invoices

If you are unable to pay an invoice, immediately contact its sender. Explain your situation and attempt to agree upon a new payment date. Usually the due date of invoices can be postponed.

After the due date, the invoice sum will continue to increase until you pay it. If you have not made agreements regarding the payment of the invoice and you have not paid it by the due date, you will be liable to pay penalty interest as well as expenses incurred from possible reminders and collection measures.

Collection

If you have not paid an invoice by its due date, you will receive a reminder invoice. After two reminders, the owed amount can be assigned to a collection agency for collection, which will result in more expenses for you. Should the collection agency fail to secure the payment in the agreed time, the payment can also be demanded by means of court proceedings.

Non-payment record

If you fail to pay your invoices and debts, a non-payment record (maksuhäiriömerkintä) may be added to your credit information.

A non-payment record can result from the following:

  • You have an outstanding invoice which a court of law has ruled you to pay
  • You have consumer credit (kulutusluotto), the payment of which has been delayed for more than 60 days and for which the creditor has notified other parties
  • Debt recovery services (ulosotto) have determined you to be without means
  • You are involved in debt restructuring.

A non-payment record means that:

  • your credit cards will be revoked. You can retain a debit card with no credit features.
  • it will be more difficult for you to get credit.
  • you cannot pay for purchases in instalments.
  • you will have trouble finding a rental dwelling.
  • securities and prepayments will be required for telephone service and insurance agreements.
  • it may be harder for you to obtain employment if the job involves financial responsibility.

A non-payment record normally lasts for two to three years. Should you receive a new non-payment record, the time is extended. A non-payment record always lasts for two years, even if you can pay your debts before the end of the period.

Recovery proceedings
If you have not paid your invoices, in some cases they can be recovered from your income, assets or property. Recovery proceedings usually require a court decision. Recovery proceedings can entail, for example, having a part of your salary distrained towards the payment of your debt or having an official sell your property to pay for your debt. Before your property or income is distrained, you will usually be given the opportunity to pay your debt voluntarily. An official can draw a payment plan with you so that you could pay your debt without having your income or property distrained. More information on recovery proceedings is available on the Judicial System website.

linkkiJudicial system:
Information on recovery proceedingsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Information on the non-payment recordFinnish | Swedish | English

If you cannot pay your rent

Your lessor is entitled to dissolve your rental agreement if you do not pay your rent. The lessor must notify the tenant of the dissolution of the rental agreement. At this point it is usually still possible to reach an agreement with the lessor concerning the payment of due rent. If you do not pay your rent, your lessor can ask a court for an eviction. This means that you will have to move out of the apartment and pay the rent you have neglected to pay.

If you are having difficulties paying your rent, contact your lessor.

Ask your lessor to give you more time to make the payment. You can also ask for advice from your local social welfare office. Also find out if you are entitled to receive, for example, housing allowance or income support. You can ask Kela if you are eligible to receive housing allowance and income support.

The Infopankki web page Housing allowance contains information on housing allowance.

Where to get help?

If you require help with managing financial problems or debt issues, make an appointment with a financial and debt counsellor (talous- ja velkaneuvoja). Counsellors can be found in your own municipality or a municipality near you. You can look for the contact information of your local debt counselling services on the website of the Consumer Agency (Kuluttajavirasto) or contact your local social office (sosiaalitoimisto).

The Guarantee Foundation (Takuu-Säätiö) can provide help in managing a financial crisis. The foundation can help you sort out your situation. It can also guarantee your bank loans and assist you in restructuring your debts in order to make repayment easier.

The Debt Line (Velkalinja) is a free-of-charge telephone helpline maintained by the Guarantee Foundation. The helpline at 0800 9 8009 provides its services in Finnish, Swedish and, if necessary, in English, Mon to Fri from 10 am to 2 pm.

The Debt Line is also available online, so you can send your questions electronically.

In emergencies where you do not have enough money for food, for example, you can also contact a parish welfare worker (diakoniatyöntekijä). The contact information can be obtained from the parish.

Instructions for managing your money

On the websites of the Consumer Agency (Kuluttajavirasto), Finnish Consumers' Association (Kuluttajaliitto) and Martha Organisation (Marttaliitto), you can find information on how to make your money last.

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Financial and debt counsellorsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiGuarantee Foundation:
Help for financial problemsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Financial informationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinancial information:
Financial informationFinnish

linkkiConsumers' Association:
Information for young people on how to control their financesFinnish

linkkiConsumers' Association:
Debt guide(pdf, 2,10 MB)Finnish

linkkiThe Martha Organisation:
Advice for money useFinnish

Gambling addiction

If your financial problems are caused by your gambling problem, you should seek help.

You can seek help for gambling problems from A-clinics (A-klinikka), mental health clinics (mielenterveystoimisto) and health centres (terveyskeskus). In some municipalities, social offices (sosiaalitoimisto) and parishes can also provide assistance. Help is also available to close relatives of gambling addicts.

Help for gambling problems is also available from organisations. The multi-language AddictionLink (Päihdelinkki) online service contains a wealth of information on gambling problems.

Peluuri is a helpline for people with gambling problems, people close to them and other people who are facing gambling problems. The helpline number is 0800 100 101. It provides services in Finnish, Swedish and also in English, when possible. Peluuri is also available online.

linkkiAddiction Link:
Information on gambling problemsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

linkkiPeluuri:
Help and information for people with gambling addiction and their friends and familyFinnish | Swedish | English