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Frequently asked questions about pensions

Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about pensions.

Applying for a pension

I am about to retire – what should I do?

If you are planning to retire on an earnings-based pension, you can check the amount of pension that you have accrued from your pension record, which you can access from our e-Services.

Pensions must always be applied for in writing by filling in an application form for the type of pension in question. After filling in the application form, you can submit it to Mela, a Mela agent or Kela.

If you are working abroad, you can apply for a pension using the same application form as if you were applying from Finland, but you must also fill in Appendix U.

You can also apply for an old-age pension, partial old-age pension, disability pension or extension of a cash rehabilitation benefit online using our e-Services.

Our customer service happy to help if you have any questions about retiring on a pension.

I reside abroad – how to apply for a pension from Finland?

If you would like to apply for a pension and you live in an EU/EEA country, the United Kingdom, Switzerland or a country that has a social security agreement with Finland, you can submit your pension application to the social insurance institution of the country in which you reside.

If you reside in a country that does not have a social security agreement with Finland, you can apply for an earnings-related pension from Finland. Fill in the application form for Finland and submit it to the Finnish Centre for Pensions or Mela.

Can I get back the insurance premiums I have paid already when I move away from Finland?

Finnish earnings-related pensions are paid to foreign employees regardless of the country in which they reside. Pension premiums are not returned when you move away from Finland. Instead, they are paid in the form of a pension when you eventually apply for a pension also from Finland.

Amount of pension

How much pension will I receive?

You can see on your pension record how much pension you have accrued from your employment relationships and entrepreneurial activities. You can view your pension record using our e-Services.

If the amount of your pension accrued from your earnings is small, you may also be eligible for a supplementary national pension (guarantee pension). In this case, the total amount of your pension will be the sum of your earnings-related pension and your national pension.

The amount of your pension will be affected by when you decide to retire. For example, if you have received a partial old-age pension before the minimum retirement age for your age group, it will have the effect of reducing the amount of old-age pension you receive. You can read more about accruing a pension here.

Payment of pensions

When are Mela pensions paid?

We pay pensions and cash rehabilitation benefits once a month on the second banking day of each month.

If a pension is paid retroactively, the first payment is made as soon as possible after you have received your pension decision. The first payment date is specified in the pension decision.

Can Finnish pensions be paid abroad?

Any pension that you have accrued in Finland can also be paid abroad, regardless of which country you reside in or whether you have moved away from Finland. The pension security you have earned is retained, in other words, even if your work ends.

You can read more about accruing a pension and the payment of pensions from Finland on the website of the Finnish Centre for Pensions: New in Finland

Working while drawing a pension

Can I work if I am on a pension and how much?

If you are on an old-age pension or partial old-age pension, you can work as much as you like without it having any effect on the pension you are receiving. If you choose to work while drawing a pension, you will accrue a new pension until you reach the age when your insurance obligation ends.

For disability pensions, there is an earnings limit. In 2022, this was 855.48 euros per month (gross). If you have been granted a higher earnings limit, this will be stated in your pension decision. Earnings are considered all those covered by pension insurance and that are monitored on a monthly basis. Exceeding the earnings limit may lead to your disability pension being suspended, and you may have to refund any excess pension that has been paid to you.

Disability pensions

My ability to work has been reduced. What should I do?

Mela sickness allowance is paid as compensation for loss of income due to work incapacity caused by an illness, such as seasonal flu. You can read more about Mela sickness allowances here.

If you have an injury or illness that threatens your ability to work, you should check to see what you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation under the earnings-related pension scheme. Vocational rehabilitation provides support to keep you working despite the limitations caused by our injury or illness.

If you have difficulties continuing your work due to an occupational accident or occupational injury, you may be eligible for occupational rehabilitation under the Occupational Accident and Disease Act for Farmers (MATA).

Even if you have not reached the minimum age for an old-age pension, you may be granted a disability pension. Your eligibility for a disability pension will be evaluated on the basis of your health and socio-economic factors. If you are over the age of 60, your ability to work will be considered only within your own profession. If you are younger than 60, your ability to earn a living from other work will be considered.

Survivors’ pensions

Who is eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension?

1. If you and your spouse have or have had a child together, you may be eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • you were married to your spouse at the time of their death and
  • you were married before your spouse turned 65.

2. If you and your spouse do not have or have not had a child together, you may be eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • you were married to your spouse at the time of their death and you were married before your spouse turned 65,
  • you were married before you turned 50 (the age limit does not apply if you are a widow and you were married to the deceased before 1 July 1990),
  • you were married for at least five years before your spouse passed away, and
  • you were at least 50 years old or you had received a disability pension for at least three years when your spouse passed away.

3. If you are a common-law spouse, you may be eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • you shared a household for at least five years with your deceased common-law spouse before their death,
  • you moved into a shared household with your common-law spouse before they turned 65 years, and
  • you have a dependent child together with the deceased who is under the age of 18 and who has at least partially lived with you in the same household, and
  • neither of you were married to another person.

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