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Social benefits in Estonia

Foreigners who have come to live in Estonia often have many questions about social assistance here? Who has the right to receive allowances? Which allowances are associated with having a baby? Where to find the right information?

Foreigners who have come to live in Estonia in the past five years can take part in a free programme Settle in Estonia. Its family module course is where you can find answers to all the questions about moving to Estonia with your family or having children here.

Family allowance and other allowances

Family allowances are the social benefits in Estonia paid to families with children to ensure their well-being. This means the family allowances are intended for supporting child families with children and the process of raising children. Estonia uses a universal family benefit scheme, which means that every child is of value and has the right for benefits from the state regardless of the parents’ income. Universal family allowances both prevent poverty and, to a great degree, support the children living in poverty. Information about all the family allowances is available here.

Still, what is a ‘family allowance’? This term covers the following:  family allowances paid by the state (childbirth allowance and child allowance), parental benefit and maintenance allowance. In addition, there are various allowances for families with many children, the single parent’s child allowance, etc. For example, the childbirth allowance is a one-off allowance in the amount of 320 euros which is paid without a special application after the child’s birth has been registered. But, for instance, the 60-euro child allowance is a monthly allowance that one of the parents can receive per one child.

Foreigners who have relocated to Estonia with their families and hold a residence permit are advised to contact the Social Insurance Board through its self-service portal or by e-mail at info@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee. You can also turn to the nearest customer service office of the Social Insurance Board for advice.

The parental benefit is generally referred to as the ‘mother’s salary’ or ‘parental salary’. It is meant for the parent who, after a child is born, is on parental leave because of raising the child. In order to compensate for the income lost because of not working in this period, the state pays the parental benefit in the amount calculated for each recipient on the basis of their previous income from work on which the social tax has been paid. Conditions for eligibility for the parental benefit in more detail can be found here.

Parental leave

Parents in Estonia who work full-time can be eligible for seven types of parental leaves and six types of allowances or benefits financed by the state and through the national Health Insurance Fund. The purpose for providing a variety of parental leave formats lies in ensuring that work and family can be managed in a balanced way so that the family does not have to drastically change its way of life when a child is born and can focus on the child. For example, the maternity leave can be taken by the woman as early as 70 days before the birth term determined by the doctor or midwife to prepare for the birth. The Health Insurance Fund pays the maternity benefit for a total of 140 days on the basis of the certificate for maternity leave.

Fathers, too, have the right to ten days of paternity leave in total to be able to fully focus on the family when the child is due.

Parental leave can be taken by the mother or the father until the child turns three. Only one parent can be taking parental leave at a time.

Where to turn to?

The Social Insurance Board ensures that people have a sense of security at every stage of life by providing services on the part of the state and paying social security benefits. You may have to interact with the Social Insurance Board if you need more detailed answers to your questions about family allowance. It is also responsible for the management child protection, victim support and women’s shelter services.

The Estonia Health Insurance Fund  is responsible for the management of the national health insurance, providing various health insurance benefits and health care services to all the insured.