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Student income during the exceptional situation caused by corona virus

Due to the corona virus, the income of many students has deteriorated for example as a result of lay-offs. Below you will find information on social security, Kela’s policies and exceptional laws and practices regarding students’ income during the exceptional situation caused by the corona virus.

Study grant and student loan

Study grant and student loan are the student’s primary benefits. According to Kela’s policy, the study grant does not have to be cancelled or refunded, even if you do not achieve sufficient study credits due to exceptional circumstances caused by the corona virus. If it has not been possible to study, the payment of the study grant can be continued even if the number of credits has not been sufficient. The maximum period of the study grant can also be extended.

On the other hand, under the current legislation, the deadline for receiving student loan compensation cannot be extended on the basis of the corona virus. The Ministry of Education and Culture is, however, preparing an amendment to the Study Grant Act, which allows exceptional circumstances in the terms of student loan compensation to be taken into account.

You can find Kela’s release about the state of emergency and study grant caused by the corona virus here.

Eligibility for other Kela subsidies

If your income has deteriorated and you are no longer able to finance your studies with the study grant or other additional income, you should find out about your chances of receiving the following Kela subsidies:

General housing allowance –  Most students receive general housing allowance in addition to the study grant. The level of general housing allowance depends on the income of your household (for example, your spouse’s income is taken into account when determining the level of allowance). If you are already receiving housing allowance, but your income level has decreased since the previous allowance decision, please notify Kela and your housing benefit level will be revised. You can evaluate how much housing allowance you could receive by using Kela’s counter.

Social assistance –  Due to the exceptional situation caused by the corona virus, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has instructed Kela and municipalities that it is not necessary to ask students for a report on the progress of their studies or applying for a summer job. The ministry has also instructed Kela and municipalities that it is not necessary to require a student loan to be taken out in the summer of this year in order to receive social assistance. However, summer student loan is considered income if you have already collected it. With these changes, it is easier than usual for a student to receive social assistance in the exceptional circumstances caused by the corona virus.

According to the Ministry’s instructions, the realization of property should not be required in exceptional circumstances. Normally, the condition for receiving social assistance is that the applicant must not have, for example, real estate or investments. However, if the need for social assistance persists for more than three months, realization may be required in accordance with normal application practices. The purpose of the policy is to alleviate the situation of those customers and families who, due to exceptional circumstances, have to rely on social assistance on a temporary basis. You can read the releases of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health here.

Social assistance takes into account all your income and the money in your bank accounts.  Social assistance is household-specific, i.e. your spouse’s income is also taken into account when considering it. You can use the Kela counter to assess whether you would be eligible for social assistance

If you are laid-off or fired

Under normal circumstances, full-time study prevents you from receiving unemployment benefit. As a result of the change in the law due to the corona virus, a laid-off person receives unemployment protection regardless of study. The change applies to persons who have been laid-off at the earliest on March 16, 2020. Exceptionally, entrepreneurship does not prevent you from receiving unemployment benefit either. Read more in the release of TE-services.

A fired student is not entitled to unemployment benefit, as the change only applies to lay-offs. If you are fired from your job and your income is not enough to cover your living expenses, please apply for social assistance according to the instructions above.