Skip to content

Reports on problems, choices and basic principles of Finnish social security system completed

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 17.1.2022 14.48

The Social Security Committee started its preparations for a social security reform by identifying problems in the current social security system and by describing its choices and basic principles. The results of this work are now published in five reports compiled by the committee’s five divisions. 

“The five reports discuss the problems of the current social security system in a comprehensive way, and they are an important step forward for the Social Security Committee and its work. They are the result of considerable effort by the committee’s divisions and its researcher networks. 

The committee used the reports to outline its positions on reforming the social security system, which were published in December. Next, the divisions will be seeking solutions to the problems identified in the current system based on the committee’s positions. Another study is on the way focusing on alternative ways of organising social security in preparation of a longer term of reform. All this work is laying the foundation for the committee’s interim report, due in early 2023,” says Pasi Moisio, Chair of the Social Security Committee.  

Below the divisions’ chairpersons describe the key findings of the reports from their own perspectives.

Complexity of social security 

The Administrative Division’s report examined the reasons for the complexity in the Finnish social security system. The complexity is due to both legislation and how it is implemented in practice.

In legislation, eligibility for benefits and services is based on certain social risks, and this adds complexity to the system. The possibilities of lessening the complexity in legislation without affecting the targeting of benefits and services are negligible. 

The responsibility for implementing social security rests with various organisations, which have their own services and practices. This complexity could be addressed by developing cooperation among organisations, by improving the flow of information and by guiding information management across organisational boundaries. Technological advances also provide new opportunities for implementation. 

I would particularly like to thank the division’s secretaries for the outstanding background material they produced. I would also like to give thanks to everyone else who participated in the division’s work and to the committee for great discussions and initiatives. 

Jaana Rissanen, Chair of the Administrative Division

Reconciling gainful employment and social security 

The Division for Employment and Skills examined the problems of reconciling gainful employment and social security. Despite the limited perspective, we were able to address matters of principle. Our report discusses the purpose of social security and the objectives of different cause-based benefits and how earned income has been reconciled with social security based. 

I would like to thank the committee and the division’s members for our constructive discussions. Special thanks goes to the committee’s chairpersons for enabling our work. I would also like to give thanks to the division’s secretaries and its former and current vice-chairs for their outstanding work and willingness to share their knowledge.

Marjaana Maisonlahti, Chair of the Division for Employment and Skills

Last-resort financial assistance, basic social security and housing 

The Housing Division examined how housing is supported through basic social security and last-resort financial assistance. Its report also discusses basic security in more detail and contemplates the possibilities of supplementing it, or even replacing it, with last-resort social assistance. 

In our work, we saw the need for harmonisation and comprehensive examination since the system of housing support has become too complex due to an array of different kinds of benefits and a variety of concepts and criteria. Some of the differences arise from the grounds and premises of the systems. Coordination of benefits and services is a key issue especially if basic security is replaced with social assistance. This highlights the need for cooperation among the five divisions. 

I would like to thank the division’s secretaries for their outstanding work and the division’s members for their expertise and attention. I would also like to thank everyone else who contributed to our work with their valuable comments and exchange of views.

Mikko Horko, Chair of the Housing Division

Coordination of services and benefits

The Division for Working Capacity and Functional Ability went through a vast collection of problems and selected the most important ones for closer study. The problem areas of the system identified in the report are often closely linked to a lack of cooperation between different operators. Services and benefits are separate systems, which leads to unconnected service paths and benefit paths for individual clients. Moreover, it is not always motivating for clients to take part in services. In many cases, there is a need for a more client-oriented approach, which means that clients should be treated as individuals, more attention should be paid to their individual needs, and there should be a more systematic approach to delivering services and benefits. 

Next, the division must focus on identifying how to seek and find concrete proposals for solutions to the problems. The proposals must make use of the committee’s knowledge base and the practices of existing projects and consider the social security system as a whole. 

I would like to thank the division’s members for their extensive expertise and outstanding work.  

Raimo Antila, Chair of the Division for Working Capacity and Functional Ability

Choices and basic principles of the Finnish social security system

The Division for Research and Evaluation drew up a concise overview of the key choices and associated principles and objectives of the Finnish social security system, covering even the historical and constitutional context. It identified as key issues the principles related to binding force, causality, individuality and level of social security. 

The division’s report challenges readers to reflect on the principles of social security, but it also helps them to understand the nature and complexity of the choices made in the current system. The objectives of social security may be conflicting, and choices are weighed between different objectives. 

We would like to thank the division’s members and secretaries and everyone else who contributed to the compilation of the division’s report.

Essi Rentola, Chair, and Minna Liuttu, Vice Chair of the Division for Research and Evaluation

Draft versions of the reports have been published in Finnish alongside press releases about the Social Security Committee’s meetings, and they are available in the committee’s knowledge base.

Chairpersons of the Social Security Committee and its divisions