Every Estonian social service is meant for Estonian residents. This means that you have to register your place of residence in Estonia to benefit from social care.
Most of our social services are provided by the Social Insurance Board, and its two public legal bodies, the Health Insurance Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Some social services are also provided by the local government, like preschool, domestic care, shelter service, and transport. Here is a short overview of the most common social services Estonia offers:
State Health Insurance
State health insurance is provided for residents by the Health Insurance Fund. It will cover your free healthcare if your social tax is paid by your employer, or if you pay the social tax for yourself. There are also some exceptions (for example: children, university students, parental leave parents, pregnant mothers, etc.) who do not pay social tax, but still receive free healthcare.
Read about health insurance: https://www.haigekassa.ee/en/people/health-insurance
There are different family allowances in Estonia: childbirth allowance, child allowance, big family allowance, single-parent allowance, etc. The most unique, however, is the parental benefit, which affords a new parent the opportunity to stay at home for a full three years, receiving an income payment equal to about 50% of his or her average salary. It's worth noting that it is not solely the mothers who will be able to benefit from this service: Fathers can also choose to take a break from work, take care of their children, while still receiving a portion of their income. It is the employer's responsibility to have a job available for a parent returning from leave.
Read more about family care: https://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/en/family-and-child-protection/ki…
If you lose your job and register yourself as unemployed, then you have the right to receive unemployment benefit. This isn't something that allows for easy living in Estonia, though.
If you are simply unemployed, and need something to help you get started while you look for work, you are entitled to some small benefit. In 2022, the rate for unemployment had the average individual receiving €9.42 per day, which adds up to approximately €290 per month. Individuals receiving unemployment benefits will be subject to mandatory consultations, and must continue to actively search for work.
Read about unemployment benefits: https://www.tootukassa.ee/en/services/unemployment-allowance
There is also an unemployment insurance benefit that is available for a person who has lost their job for a specific reason, such as having it terminated by their employer, or being released for behavioral issues. In this case, the individual will receive a benefit of around 60% of his or her average remuneration for the first 100 days of receiving the stipend, and 40% for each calendar day thereafter.
Read about unemployment insurance benefit: https://www.tootukassa.ee/en/services/unemployment-insurance-benefit
The Estonian pension system aims to make sure that retired people are guaranteed a monthly income. The pension system is made up of three pillars: The first and second pillars are state pensions, and the third pillar is private. The first and second pillars are mainly funded by social tax, whereas contributions to the third pillar are made by individuals themselves, or by their respective employers.
A person is eligible for an Estonian retirement (i.e. old-age pension) when they have reached the Estonian retirement age, and they have proof of at least 15 years of pensionable service in Estonia, or the EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland, or in countries in which Estonia has signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on social security, (so-called partner countries).
Read more about pension benefit here: https://sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/en/pension-benefits/pension-types-pen…