Supplementary or preventive social assistance

You can receive supplementary or preventive social assistance from the city if it is determined that it will prevent financial distress or if you have specific needs requiring support. Social assistance serves as a last resort economic aid and is subject to means-testing. Kela is responsible for providing basic social assistance, which covers essential everyday expenses such as housing and food.

In addition to that, municipalities can also grant preventive and supplementary social assistance. The purpose of preventive social assistance is to prevent marginalisation and long-term reliance on social support. Supplementary social assistance may be granted to individuals with special needs, such as severe illness or a prolonged requirement for social assistance.

If you are already receiving social assistance, you can apply for supplementary social assistance to obtain additional support for needs like setting up a home, baby supplies, children's hobbies, study materials or trustee fees.

In the event of a sudden and significant deterioration in your financial situation, endangering your social security and independence along with your family's, you can apply for preventive social assistance.

To apply for assistance, you have the option to either use Maisa or submit a paper form. You can contact the Benefit Handling Counselling service to inquire about applying for assistance and payments.

Applying for supplementary or preventive social assistance 

Social assistance consists of three components, with Kela providing basic social assistance. You have the option to apply for supplementary and preventive social assistance through our services. 

Note: You are not required to choose between applying for preventive or supplementary social assistance. The individual handling your application will carefully assess your situation and determine the option that best suits your needs. 

  1. As the first measure, apply for basic social assistance from Kela 

    First, you need to apply for basic social assistance from Kela. 

    See the instructions for applying for basic social assistance from Kela(Link leads to external service) 

    If desired, you can indicate in your application for basic social assistance to Kela that you also wish to apply for supplementary or preventive social assistance from the City of Helsinki. In such cases, Kela will forward your application directly to the City of Helsinki for further processing. It is important to remember to include all the required documents with your application (refer to Section 2). 

    Note: If you are already receiving social work services, you have the option to apply for preventive social assistance without a prior decision on basic social assistance from Kela. Please discuss this possibility with your designated social worker. 

  2. Gather the necessary documents and receipts as attachments to your application

    Please ensure that you include the necessary attachments with your application. The required attachments are as follows: 

    • Positive or negative decision on basic social assistance from Kela: If Kela is already forwarding your application to the city on your behalf, you do not need to attach this decision. Similarly, if you are applying for preventive social assistance as a social work client, this decision is not required. 

    • A detailed explanation of why you require preventive or supplementary social assistance from the city, including the specific purpose for which you are seeking assistance. 

    • A recent bank statement that covers the last two months. This statement will help assess your financial situation and support the processing of your application. 

    • Any relevant documentation that substantiates your need for assistance, such as invoices, receipts or other proof of purchases or services related to your situation. 

    By including these attachments, you will provide the necessary information for the evaluation of your application. Please ensure that all the required documentation is included to facilitate the processing of your request. If you are unsure which receipts or documents you should attach to your application, you can contact Benefit Handling Counselling. 

    See the contact information for Benefit Handling Counselling 

  3. Prepare your application through Maisa or by using a printable form 

    You can apply for preventive or supplementary social assistance either electronically through Maisa or by filling in a paper form.  

    If you are applying for social assistance through Maisa:  

    1. Log in to Maisa(Link leads to external service) 

    2. Logging in to Maisa always requires authentication.   

    3. Select “Social Services” in the left sidebar.  

    4. Click on “kotikunta” (home municipality) when applying for support from Helsinki as a resident of Helsinki.  

    5. Maisa enquires about the purpose for which assistance is applied. Answer the question and then proceed one question at a time. Follow the instructions and fill in the requested sections carefully.  

    6. Remember to click on the checkbox at the end to confirm that the information you have provided is true. Finish by clicking “Lähetä” (Submit).  

    If you are applying for social assistance using a paper form:   

    You can get the paper form from the adult social work service points or download it via the link below. 

    Application for supplementary or preventive social assistance (in Finnish and Swedish) 

    Deliver the application to one of the adult social work service points or post it in an envelope 

    to the following address:   

    City of Helsinki  

    Reception of social assistance applications 

    PO Box 8320  

    FI-00099 City of Helsinki  

    If you need help in filling in your application, please contact Benefit Handling Counselling. 

    See the contact information for Benefit Handling Counselling 

  4. Wait for the decision 

    Once you have attached all the required documents to your application, we aim to process and reach a decision within seven working days. The decision will be sent to your registered home address via postal mail. 

    If you submitted your application through Maisa, you can track the progress of your application within the platform. However, please note that the decision itself will not be visible in Maisa. We will send the decision letter to your home address. If you wish to inquire about the content of the decision before receiving the letter, you can contact Benefit Handling Counselling by phone. 

    Please ensure that your contact details are up to date to ensure prompt delivery of the decision and feel free to reach out to Benefit Handling Counselling for any further assistance or clarification. 

    See the contact information for Benefit Handling Counselling 

    If the decision you receive by post states "myönnetään laskuttajalle" (granted to the issuer of the invoice), it means that the approved social assistance has not been directly deposited into your bank account. Instead, the invoice you submitted with your application has been paid using the granted social assistance. 

  5. If you feel the decision is incorrect, do as follows

    If you believe that the decision is inaccurate, you have the right to seek redress or correction. 

    In such cases, we recommend contacting the social instructor or social worker responsible for making the decision. Inform them about the perceived error so that necessary corrections can be made promptly. 

    If the error is evident and a result of incomplete information, you can also reach out to Benefit Handling Counselling. They can assist you in seeking redress by submitting a new application with the corrected information. 

    Ensuring the accuracy of decisions is essential, and we are committed to addressing any errors or discrepancies promptly and fairly. Feel free to seek assistance from the appropriate channels mentioned to resolve any concerns or inaccuracies in the decision. 

    See the contact information for Benefit Handling Counselling 

    We strive to process applications for correction within a timeframe of seven working days. 

    Additionally, if you wish to make a formal claim for redress, you have the option to submit a free-form, written claim within 30 days of receiving the notice of the social assistance decision. When preparing your claim for redress, please make sure to clearly state the decision for which you are seeking redress and provide relevant justifications supporting your claim. 

    Taking these steps will help ensure that your request for correction or redress is handled promptly and appropriately. 

    Submit the claim for redress to the City of Helsinki Registry Office, from where it will be forwarded for further processing. Postal address: City of Helsinki Registry Office, PO Box 10, FI-00099 City of Helsinki  

You can also find this page at hel.fi/social-assistance.