Housing-related financial support in Finland

Housing-related financial support in Finland

Many types of support are available for housing in Finland. These examples illustrate the possible support through different cases, such as unemployment or single-parenthood.

 

JOBLESS JOHANNA

  • Lives in a rental apartment.
  • Receives unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are dependent on, among other things, Johanna’s employment history (time in employment and duration of unemployment) and whether she belongs to an unemployment fund.
    An unemployment fund is often an organisation working in liaison with a trade union, and it answers for the unemployment benefits of its members under certain conditions by paying an unemployment allowance that is proportionate to a person’s earnings.
  • Since Johanna’s unemployment benefits are small, she also receives general housing allowance.
  • If Johanna still does not have enough money to cover her necessary expenses, she can apply for social assistance. Social assistance has to be applied for separately each month. It is a last-resort form of support and so all the income and assets available to the person or family affect its amount.
    Before applying for social assistance, a person has to apply for the primary benefits they are entitled to. Social assistance can only be used for expenses defined in the Act on Social Assistance.

STEFAN THE STUDENT

  • Receives student financial aid, which includes a study grant and student loan guarantee.
  • Receives general housing allowance.
  • Does part-time work as a florist’s assistant during peak times. Can earn small amounts of money without it affecting the amount of support he receives.
  • If Stefan still does not have enough money to cover his necessary expenses, he can apply for social assistance.

PIRKKO THE PENSIONER

  • Lives as a widow in an owner-occupied apartment, so she only has to pay the maintenance charge.
  • Receives earnings-based pension.
  • Receives pensioners’ housing allowance because her pension is not large enough to cover the maintenance charge.
    In Finland, limited liability housing companies usually own dwellings in apartment buildings and terraced houses. When a person buys an apartment, they become a shareholder in the limited liability housing company.
    The maintenance charge is a payment that the stakeholder is required to pay the company to cover its maintenance expenses.
  • If Pirkko still does not have enough money for her basic expenses, she can apply for social assistance.

 

This article was first published in our book A Home of Your Own (2017). 

SIMO THE SINGLE FATHER

  • A father of 1- and 2-year-olds, looks after his children at home.
  • Lives in an owner-occupied apartment.
  • Receives home care allowance and child benefit.
  • If the children’s mother does not take care of their maintenance or pay child support, Simo is entitled to receive a maintenance allowance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.
  • Since Simo’s benefits are not enough to pay the family’s housing expences he also receives general housing allowance.
  • If Simo still does not have enough money to cover his basic expenses, he can apply for social assistance.

LOW-INCOME LASSE

  • Lives in a rental apartment.
  • Is employed as a part-time warehouse worker, but the salary is not enough to pay his rent.
  • Receives general housing allowance, the amount of which is determined by the joint income of Lasse and his live-in partner.
  • If Lasse still does not have enough money for his necessary expenses, he can apply for social assistance.

DANIEL THE DISABILITY PENSIONER

  • Lives in a rental apartment in a supported housing unit, with his own lease.
  • Receives disability pension.
  • Because Daniel’s benefits are not enough to pay the rent, he also receives pensioners’ housing allowance.
  • If Daniel still does not have enough money for his necessary expenses, he can apply for social assistance.

 

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