THL Survey: Transfer of Subsistence Benefit to Kela Did Not Free Up Resources for Social Work

The transfer of the subsistence allowance to the Kela pension and social agency did not make the work of the municipal social services easier.

This is evidenced by the results of a survey conducted by the THL Health and Social Development Authority.

The benefits were transferred to Kela in 2017. This decision was intended to reduce the burden on social protection services in municipalities and free up resources for other social work. The survey, however, showed that it is now more difficult for those in need of support to get it.

Those in need of different benefits now have to request them from two different authorities. Social workers say that it takes up to a quarter of their work hours to clarify all sorts of questions related to Kela. The time left for one-to-one customer support is about the same as it was before.

Social workers interviewed by THL argue that the need for a living wage benefit can be reduced by reducing bureaucracy, increasing counseling and removing so-called “motivational traps” ). The municipalities also look forward to developing cooperation between their services and Kela.