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Kela reprimanded for delaying social assistance processing


Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja has reprimanded the social security institution Kela for the illegal delay of processing social assistance. Kela failed to adhere to the prescribed time provided for in the law.

This was considered extremely reprehensible, as the social assistance is the last resort of financial support. It is intended for situations, in which a person's or a family's income and assets cannot cover necessary everyday costs.

According to Kela, the delay was caused by issues in the application processing and a backlog caused by Kela's systems.

According to statistics, processing times vary depending on the Insurance Districts. Kela's customers have had to endure a longer wait especially in the Southern Insurance District.

The Deputy-Ombudsman finds it positive that Kela has taken extensive measures for rectifying the observed errors and recruited more clerical employees, as well. However, the measures are not yet sufficient, as numerous complaints report problems with Kela's application processing and customer service.

Additional accounts asked from Kela

Furthermore, the Deputy-Ombudsman has demanded that Kela deliver accounts on, for example, the following issues:

- How does Kela separate particularly urgent applications that require immediate assistance from the application queue?

-How does Kela respond to the costs and vexation that its actions have caused its customers? How will these costs be compensated?

-How does Kela co-operate with the municipal social services?

-How does the decision-making take acceptable and reasonable living expenses into account?

-Why is Kela's phone service subject to charge?

Urgent cases

The Deputy-Ombudsman would like to remind that the customer may turn to the municipal social services, if Kela has been unable to process the application. The municipal authority may, at its discretion, grant preventive support for urgent needs.

The full text of Deputy-Ombudsman Jussi Pajuoja's decision EOAK/649/2017 in Finnish was published on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website at oikeusasiamies.fi.

Further information is available from Referendary Counsellor Tapio Räty, tel. +358 (0)9 432 3379.