Finland is one of the few countries in the world where authorities raise alarms when citizens do not claim public aid to which they are entitled.
The Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela) has awarded automatically a supplementary allowance of 46.80 euros per month for the purchase of study materials to students from low-income families who currently receive student financial aid payments.
Anyone who is eligible for the allowance but does not currently receive financial aid must submit an application. And based on August 2019 statistics, Kela estimates that as many as 8,000 eligible students have not applied for this supplementary allowance for purchasing study materials.
This means the take-up of this benefit, which has been encouraged by Kela since May, is being much lower than expected by the authorities, according to a press release published on Thursday.
In August, the supplementary allowance was being paid to 21,616 students, 9,408 of whom were under 17 and 2,862 under 16 years of age, according to Kela.
Piia Kuusisto, a benefits manager at Kela, explained "there are no logical reasons why there are fewer recipients aged 16 than those aged 17". "It seems that many students are not aware that it would be worth applying for financial aid", she added.
The take-up of the supplementary allowance is lower than expected also among those aged 15, Kela said in the press release.
46.80 euros per month
Young persons who are in vocational education or in upper secondary school can get a supplementary allowance for the purchase of study materials along with the study grant if their parents’ combined income is 41,100 euros or less per year. The supplementary allowance is 46.80 euros per month.
The allowance is available to students under 20 who live with their parents and students under 18 who live outside their parental home. Also students aged 15 or 16 can get the supplementary allowance even though they are not eligible for the study grant as such.
The supplementary allowance for the purchase of study materials has been granted without application to all students who currently receive financial aid payments.
A student who does not currently receive financial aid but is eligible for the supplementary allowance can apply for financial aid online or on the financial aid application form. Upon receipt of the application, Kela automatically determines which aid components the student is eligible for.
From the beginning of the month in which applied
Financial aid can be granted from the beginning of the month in which the application arrived.
According to Kela, parental income no longer affects the basic amount component of the study grant available to students who are under 17 and do not live with their parents. This provision went into effect in August 2019.
Applications for financial aid must be submitted online or on the application form OT 1.
If you want to apply for this benefit via internet you may find the link to Kela's online services HERE
If you need the application form OT 1, you can download it from HERE