Thousands of individuals in Finland are missing out on their entitlement to a national pension, according to a recent press release by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The organization has identified 7,066 customers who may be eligible for a national pension due to their small earnings-related pension. In an effort to rectify this issue, Kela will proactively reach out to these individuals to assist them in claiming the benefits they deserve.
Kela conducts regular checks to identify pensioners with low incomes who may qualify for a national pension but have not applied for it. During the most recent check, 7,066 customers were discovered who met the criteria. This annual register search aims to ensure that individuals receive the financial support they are entitled to, improving their overall well-being during retirement.
In 2021, a similar register search identified 3,557 customers who may have been eligible for a national pension. Following Kela's outreach efforts, approximately 1,600 of them were successfully granted the national pension they deserved. This demonstrates the importance of raising awareness and providing assistance to those who may not be aware of their entitlements.
The customers who will be contacted this year predominantly consist of individuals who have reached the age of 65. However, younger individuals who receive a disability pension are also included in Kela's efforts to ensure no eligible individual falls through the cracks.
When Kela identifies a customer in its registers who appears to be entitled to a national pension, the institution will make contact and provide guidance on how to apply for the benefit. This can be done through the OmaKela e-service, over the phone, or via a letter. Pirjo Raute, Benefits Manager at Kela, explains that people often fail to apply for a national pension because they have already applied for an earnings-related pension before reaching the age of 65. Since a national pension in the form of an old-age pension cannot be received until the age of 65, individuals may overlook the need to apply.
It is important to note that not all customers identified through the register search will necessarily be eligible for a national pension. This could be due to other sources of pension income, such as pensions from other countries that Kela may not receive direct information about from the payer.
The national pension can provide supplementary income for pension recipients who live alone and receive an earnings-related pension and other pensions, up to a maximum amount of EUR 1,512.37 per month. For pension recipients living with a spouse or partner, the income limit is EUR 1,355.29 per month.
Additionally, eligible pensioners may also qualify for a guarantee pension. The guarantee pension ensures that residents of Finland receive a minimum monthly pension of EUR 922.42 if their total pension income before taxes falls below EUR 914.96 per month. However, the income limit and minimum pension amount are lower for individuals who have chosen early retirement on an old-age pension.
Receiving a national pension, even if the amount appears modest, can have a significant impact on the everyday lives of individuals with low incomes. In cases where financial hardship persists, pensioners are encouraged to explore other potential benefits they may be entitled to, such as housing allowance for pensioners or care allowance for pensioners. If these benefits, along with the national pension, are insufficient to cover necessary housing and living expenses, individuals can apply for basic social assistance from Kela, which serves as a last resort option after exploring all other potential benefits.
Kela's commitment to proactively reaching out to customers who may be eligible for a national pension reflects its dedication to ensuring that all Finnish citizens receive the financial support they are entitled to during their retirement years. By raising awareness and providing assistance, Kela aims to improve the financial well-being and quality of life for pensioners across the country.