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Student aid and general housing allowance: remember this before summer!

08.05.2018

Student aid and income

Have you already checked your income for 2017? You should do so right now! If you have earned too much in relation to the number of months of aid you have received, you can still return months of student aid until the end of May with no added interest. If Kela has to collect months of student aid from you next year, interest will be added to the collected sum. In case you exceed your income limit and have to return months of student aid from 2017, we recommend returning aid received in autumn: this way, you will only have to return the study grant, not the housing supplement of the student aid.

You do not have to return general housing allowance, and the allowance is based on the average income you have reported. In other words, the same income limits that concern the study grant do not cover general housing allowance – the two benefits are not linked. However, we recommend checking your general housing allowance if your income changes. If you already know about your summer job, check out further information below!

Further information on returning student aid is available on Kela’s website.
You can check your income limits here.

General housing allowance and changes in income

Apply for a review of your housing allowance from Kela as soon as you know about your coming summer job and have signed a contract of employment.

You should apply for a review of the housing allowance especially if you have previously only received the study grant, and the grant is the only income taken into account in your housing allowance decision. If, however, you have already taken the income from your summer job into account in the average income you reported when applying for housing allowance, you do not necessarily have to apply for a review. You might want to check the matter with a calculator for housing allowance available on Kela’s website (note: only works in Finnish and Swedish).

If you have no housing costs during the summer, remember to cancel your housing allowance for the summer!

When should you apply for a review?

The principle in general housing allowance is that it is reviewed if the household’s income increases by at least 400 euros or decreases by at least 200 euros per month compared to the income in the previous housing allowance decision. The housing allowance may also be reviewed if you move into a new apartment or if your housing costs increase by at least 50 euros per month.

You must apply for a review of the housing allowance from Kela yourself, and it can easily be done through Kela’s eServices (note: only works in Finnish and Swedish), for instance. The same service also allows you to send in all the necessary attachments. 

The general housing allowance is reviewed with effect from the beginning of the month following the first full month of a change in income. In other words, like this:

If your summer job begins on…
…1 June, the allowance is reviewed with effect from 1 July.
…4 June, the allowance is reviewed with effect from 1 August.

Did you know that general housing allowance can be paid while you are temporarily away?

If, for instance, you work elsewhere in the summer and pay rent for your permanent apartment, you can receive housing allowance for it for 3 months. However, the allowance is only paid for one apartment at a time.

Housing allowance is household-based

General housing allowance is granted jointly to the entire household. One member of the household applies for the allowance on behalf of the entire household, and the same person must also apply for a review of the housing allowance if needed. The income and various benefits of each member of the household affect your eligibility for the allowance. The student loan does not count as income.

For further information on applying for a review of your housing allowance, see Kela’s website.

 

Hannele Kirveskoski
Specialist (subsistence, international affairs)
+358 50 543 9608
hannele.kirveskoski[at]hyy.fi