What do I do if the COVID-19 crisis weakens my personal finances?
If your income decreases, find out about your eligibility for social security. You may be entitled to housing allowance and income support. Submit your applications as soon as possible. If a decision on the unemployment benefit, for example, takes longer than expected, you can apply for financial assistance from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) or your local social services office. You can use the calculators on Kela’s website to find out whether you are eligible for the benefit.
- Kela calculators
- Kela’s quick guide to unemployment security
- Are you about to become unemployed? Information on the TE Offices’ websites.
If your income changes, for instance if you are laid off, it is a good idea to check your tax percentage. Make sure that your tax deductions correspond to your changed situation and that you have taken advantage of the deductions you are entitled to. For example, if you are working from home, you may have lower commuting expenses to take into account in taxation, but, correspondingly, you may have the right to a home office deduction.
The most important thing is to make sure you have enough money to cover your necessary expenses. Take into account your housing costs, food, medicine and phone bills.
Adjust your consumption to correspond to your income:
- Take a look at your expenses.
- Group them into what is necessary and what is not.
- Adjust your expenses to your income and eliminate expenses you cannot afford.
If you cannot pay a bill or debt, ask for more payment time before the due date. You can also agree on a new payment plan. Calculate the monthly instalment you are able to pay before agreeing on a new payment plan. You can request a loan repayment holiday from the lender. During the repayment holiday, you will have to pay the interest and expenses arising from the loan.
Several organisations have issued instructions on how to deal with payments during the exceptional situation caused by COVID-19. For example, the tax authorities and Kela have issued separate instructions on payment arrangements.
- Tax Administration instructions for private persons
- Tax Administration instructions for private traders and businesses.
If you are thinking of taking out a loan, consider whether or not you will be able to repay it. If your finances are tight, consider whether a new loan will ease your financial situation or if you can find a solution by cutting costs.
You can also try to work out a new payment plan for your existing loans and reduce your expenses that way. Paying a debt with another debt rarely improves the situation.
The Ministry of Justice is preparing a number of government proposals to alleviate the situation of people facing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Particular attention is being paid to preventing unnecessary bankruptcies and moderating interest rates on consumer loans.
– Many banks have announced that they will grant loan repayment holidays for housing loans.
– If necessary, you can contact the social services of your municipality and apply for supplementary or preventive income support. You can find more information on your municipality’s website.
– Do you need help? Several cities and municipalities have issued separate instructions on the services they are providing for residents in the current situation. Find out about the services available in your municipality of residence.
– The church social work of your local parish can provide assistance in sudden emergencies.
– If you are self-employed, you can call the Talousapu financial assistance service provided by Enterprise Finland
– You can apply to the Guarantee Foundation for a guarantee on debt consolidation loans
– Debt enforcement may take into account a debtor's weakened financial situation under certain conditions. Contact your enforcement officer