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Ukraine

NB! The central channel for communicating on Ukraine-related topics is 1247!

and https://kriis.ee/en/security-situation-europe/ukrainian-war-refugees

FAQs for customer service

General information

From where does a UA refugee arriving in Estonia get the necessary information for staying in the country?

The necessary information for staying in Estonia can be obtained from the border crossing point, the national helpline +372 600 1247 or website www.dopomoga.ee.

If a UA refugee wants temporary or international protection, he or she must contact the customer service of the Police and Border Guard Board. According to the information on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board, applications for temporary protection are accepted in the following customer service locations on working days from 9:00 to 17:00:

  • In Tallinn: Tammsaare (Tammsaare 47) and Pinna service halls (P. Pinna 4)
  • Tartu Police Station (Riia 132)
  • Jõhvi Police Station (Rahu 38)
  • Rakvere Police Station (Kreutzwaldi 5a)
  • Pärnu Police Station (Tammsaare 61)
  • Narva Police Station (Vahtra 3)

More detailed information available from the Police and Border Guard Board

Департамент Полиции и Погранохраны (politsei.ee)

If people arrive in Estonia at a time when service offices are closed (on working days from 16:00 to 08:00, on weekends or public holidays), people will be directed to the information desk of the National Social Insurance Board. 

National information points are located in:

  • Tallinn Bus Station (Lastekodu 46)
  • Narva border crossing point (Vestervalli 7)
  • Pärnu (Pikk 18)
  • Tartu (Riia 179)

What operations are performed at the border crossing point?

Border inspection post:

  • the crossing of people and the wish of the application for temporary protection of the UA refugee are documented;
  • documentation of the end of the movement of a person to the destination;
  • if necessary, an application for international protection is accepted;
  • information is provided for staying in Estonia;
  • further movement of an unaccompanied minor alien is organised.

What should be done by a UA refugee who wishes to stay in Estonia and apply for temporary protection? 

If a UA refugee wishes to apply for temporary or international protection, he or she must contact the service location of the Police and Border Guard Board nearest to his or her place of stay.

More detailed information available from the Police and Border Guard Board (politsei.ee)

If UA refugees pass through Estonia in transit, do they have to go to the information point?

If a person's final destination is elsewhere than Estonia, the person moves independently in the desired direction in Estonia.

Tallinn Bus Station is located at Lastekodu 46, information on international bus lines is available from here: Travel Europe by bus and buy bus tickets online - Lux Express

The airport is located at Tartu mnt 101; 24/7 information on departing flights is available from here: Realtime flights - Tallinna Lennujaam (tallinn-airport.ee)

The train station (Balti jaam) is located at Toompuiestee 37 (Tallinn), information on departing trains is available here (only inter-Estonia lines depart): Home | Elron

D-terminal of the port is located at Uus-Sadama 24 (Tallinn), trips to Helsinki and Stockholm depart from there. Information on departures is available from here: https://www.ts.ee/en/departures/

A terminal of the port is located at Sadama 25/2 (Tallinn), trips to Helsinki depart from there, information on departures is available from here: https://www.ts.ee/en/departures/

Can an application for temporary or international protection be submitted outside the customer service of the Police and Border Guard Board?

No, an application for temporary protection can only be submitted in the service halls of the Police and Border Guard Board. The Police and Border Guard Board provides the necessary information and the possibility to make a booking

If the UA refugee has reached Tallinn Bus Station, where does he or she have to go next?

Tallinn Bus Station has a state information point where the UA refugees receive the first information about the possibilities of staying in Estonia. If necessary, it is possible to forward a person from the information point to essential accommodation either until temporary protection is received or until leaving the country. As a rule, accommodation is provided for up to 72 hours, or longer in exceptional cases (e.g., person has a flight ticket for a certain date).

Does temporary protection have to be applied for in the cities where information points are located (i.e., Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva)?

Applying for temporary protection is not mandatory. Ukrainian citizens are allowed to stay in the country temporarily without an Estonian visa. If a UA refugee has a place to stay in Estonia, an application for temporary protection may be submitted in the service hall of the Police and Border Guard Board nearest to the stopping point. The Police and Border Guard Board allows you to apply for temporary protection:

  • In Tallinn: Tammsaare (Tammsaare 47) and Pinna service halls (P. Pinna 4)
  • Tartu Police Station (Riia 132)
  • Jõhvi Police Station (Rahu 38)
  • Rakvere Police Station (Kreutzwaldi 5a)
  • Pärnu Police Station (Tammsaare 61)
  • Narva Police Station (Vahtra 3)

More detailed information available from the Police and Border Guard Board Police and Border Guard Board (politsei.ee)

How can I move on through the Narva border crossing point when I arrive in Estonia?

  • People in transit who can move on their own;
  • those who arrive by bus from Russia will take either the same or the next bus to their destination;
  • For UA refugees wishing to travel by train to Tallinn, Elron offers a free ride upon the presentation of a Ukrainian passport;
  • if a person arrives in Narva and has to wait for the train, then this can be done at the train station. There is 24-hour surveillance, at night you can get in when the Ukrainian document is shown.

If a UA refugee arrives in Estonia via the internal Schengen border, where must he or she proceed?

If a UA refugee has a destination, he or she has to go there. If a UA refugee wishes to apply for temporary or international protection, he or she must contact the service location of the Police and Border Guard Board nearest to his or her destination. If you want information to stay in the country, you must contact the national information point.

National information points are located in:

  • Tallinn Bus Station (Lastekodu 46)
  • Narva border crossing point (Vestervalli 7)
  • Pärnu (Pikk 18)
  • Tartu (Riia 179)

How can a person get from a service hall of the Police and Border Guard Board to their temporary accommodation?

If the UA refugee is able to arrive independently at the accommodation, the Police and Border Guard official will provide instructions for this. If temporary accommodation is located at an unreasonably long distance (walking or taking the public transport is difficult), transport to the accommodation is provided for UA refugees, who have applied for temporary or international protection, on the basis of regional reasonableness.

Are all Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia receiving accommodation organised by the state?

As emergency assistance, the state provides a maximum of 72 h accommodation for all UA refugees who require it. Longer-term accommodation is only offered to applicants or recipients of temporary or international protection. 

What happens if the refugee refuses the temporary accommodation offered?

If the applicant or recipient of temporary or international protection refuses the temporary accommodation to which he or she is directed, he or she must confirm this refusal by signature and find accommodation for themselves and their family at their own expense.

If the refugee does not apply for temporary protection or international protection, can he or she remain in the accommodation?

If a person does not wish to apply for international protection or temporary protection and is using state accommodation, he or she must contact the contact person of the National Social Insurance Board at the property or an information point of the National Social Insurance Board (information points are located in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva) with this issue.  

How long can I stay in temporary accommodation provided by the state?

The number of accommodation places for UA refugees seeking temporary or international protection or UA refugees who have received protection is limited. The National Social Insurance Board has entered into contracts with accommodation establishments all over Estonia. Once a person has been placed in an establishment providing accommodation, the National Social Insurance Board, the local government, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, employers, etc. will begin working on ways to integrate the person into society as quickly as possible.

If I do not like a residence offered by the state and I don't want to sign a lease, what happens to me?

If a refugee refuses the permanent residence offered by the state, he or she must confirm the waiver with his or her signature and find a permanent residence independently within a maximum of two months after the waiver. In the meantime, the person can live in the short-term accommodation provided by the state. The state has the right to relocate the UA fugitive. 

If a UA fugitive leaves the accommodation provided by the state, who does the person need to inform?

If a UA refugee has found a place to live or returns to his or her home country and leaves the accommodation provided by the state, he or she must notify the contact person of the National Social Insurance Board or the accommodation.  

Children and family

How can a child arriving from Ukraine attend nursery school in Estonia?

In order to apply for a place in nursery school, you must contact the local government. Good to know:

  • Nursery school is not mandatory in Estonia.
  • The local government is responsible for the availability of pre-school education and is obliged to ensure that all children between the ages of 1.5 and 7 in their service area, whose parents so wish, have the opportunity to attend nursery school.
  • A spot in a nursery school for a child between the ages of 1.5 and 3 may be replaced by childcare services, with the consent of the parent.

More information: A child and young person from Ukraine in Estonia | Ministry of Education and Research (hm.ee)

How can a child arriving from Ukraine attend school in Estonia?

In cooperation with local governments, an attempt shall be made to find a place in school for all children arriving from Ukraine who are subject to compulsory school attendance. When a child arrives in Estonia, the parent may submit a written application to the school or school owner.

Good to know:

  • According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, everyone has the right to an education. Basic education (grades 1-9) is mandatory. Children who have reached the age of seven before 1 October of this year are expected to enter the first grade. School attendance is compulsory until basic education has been acquired or until they reach the age of 17 – the same applies to children with foreign citizenship in Estonia.
  • In state and local government general education schools, education is free of any tuition fees.
  • A parent has the right to decide on issues related to the education of a child subject to compulsory schooling, such as the time spent in Estonia, the language of instruction and which language or cultural space they are connected to. Educational institutions and school owners can make recommendations to parents and introduce opportunities.

More information: A child and young person from Ukraine in Estonia | Ministry of Education and Research (hm.ee)

Is it possible to apply for a residence permit for a child brought here from Ukraine without the father’s consent?

Subsection 120 (3) of the Family Law Act states that: ‘If making a joint declaration of intention of the parents would cause a delay in conflict with the interests of the child, one parent has the right to enter into necessary transactions and perform necessary acts in the interests of the child also alone. In this case the other parent shall be immediately informed of the acts.’ In other words, it is also legal under the Family Law Act for one parent to submit an application for a residence permit, for example, if it is known that making contact with the other parent is difficult, and this quite likely during wartime.

Can the child’s residence be registered without the father’s consent?

Subsection 120 (3) of the Family Law Act states that:  ‘If the making of a joint declaration of intention of the parents were to cause a delay in conflict with the interests of the child, one parent also has the right to enter into necessary transactions and perform necessary acts in the interests of the child alone. In this case, the other parent must be informed immediately.’ In other words, it is correct under the Family Law Act to only register the child’s residence at the request of one parent, if it is known that contacting the other parent is difficult, which is quite likely in a state of war.

Unaccompanied minors

How is the provision of assistance organised when an unaccompanied minor arrives in the country? How is the documentation and accommodation of unaccompanied minors organised? Who is responsible?

When an unaccompanied minor arrives in the country, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) will pass the information on to the Social Insurance Board on 116111 and, when arriving with a trusted adult, to the contact person at the accommodation centre.

It is important that information about a child who is in Estonia without a legal representative reaches the local government where the child lives as soon as possible. If the child does not have a legal representative in Estonia, the local government entity of the child's place of residence will act as the legal representative until a guardian is appointed. The place of residence in this case is the place where the child is temporarily accommodated.

Information about an unaccompanied minor usually reaches the local government via the Social Insurance Board (SKA). The SKA will ensure that the necessary procedures are carried out and the child is safely accommodated, first in a shelter and later in a substitute care service. Unaccompanied minors are paid for by the SKA.

What are the requirements to be met by a person who wants to become the legal guardian of an unaccompanied minor?

The requirements for a guardian come from the Family Law Act:

§ 174.   Requirements for guardians

  (1) A guardian shall be an adult natural person with full active legal capacity.
[RT (State Gazette) I, 29.06.2014, 3 - in force. 09.07.2014]

  (2) A person who has been fully or partially deprived of the parent's right of custody or who has previously violated the obligations of a guardian shall not be a guardian. An employee of the health care or social welfare institution where a child is staying shall not be appointed guardian of the child.

  (3) Upon the selection of a guardian, his or her personal characteristics, financial situation and ability to perform the obligations of a guardian, the presumed will of the parents and relationship with the child who is placed under guardianship, the need for consistency of raising of the child and the child's national, religious, cultural and linguistic origin shall be taken into account. Upon the selection of a guardian, a court and rural municipality or city government has the right to require from the person appointed guardian documents and information for the assessment of his or her suitability.

  (4) A person may be appointed guardian with his or her consent.

What to do with children who arrive in Estonia without a parent (e.g., with an aunt, brother or other adult in whose care the parent has entrusted the child and sent the child to Estonia)?

The child must not be separated from a person who is safe to them, and the child will go to the accommodation centre with the accompanying person.

  • It is important for the Police and Border Guard Board to provide advance information so that the contact person at the accommodation centre knows of this in advance and pays special attention.
  • It is important for the Police and Border Guard Board to ask the person accompanying the child for the information and contact details of the parent (e.g., whether there is consent or another document provided by the parent that entrusts the child to the care of that person).
  • It is important for the Police and Border Guard Board to notice possible signs of victimisation and to act accordingly.

If a child needs to be separated from the accompanying person, the child will be sent to a shelter. Information on shelters can be obtained from the Child Helpline 116111.

Help can also be found from subsection 6 (2) of the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens: A parent, guardian or another adult responsible person who is staying in Estonia together with a minor alien is presumed to have the right of custody. At the request of the Police and Border Guard Board or the Estonian Internal Security Service, the parent, guardian or other responsible adult is obligated to prove the existence of the right of custody.

Can someone other than the parent draw up documents for the child? E.g. an adult sister? What must this person do?  

The child's legal representative can draw up documents on the child's behalf. As long as the child does not have a legal representative in Estonia, the child’s guardian functions are performed by the local government. If the person who accompanies the child is a close and safe person for the child and meets the conditions set for a guardian, it is also possible to appoint him or her as guardian of the child - for this, the accompanying person must contact the local government, which will support him or her by preparing an application to the court.

The child came from Ukraine with his/her grandmother. How does she become the legal guardian of the child?

If a child needs guardianship, you must inform the local government where the child is staying or call the Child Helpline (Lasteabi) on 116 111. The local child protection specialist will find out whether the grandmother of the child is willing and able to take on the duties of a guardian. The grandparent must be made aware of the rights and obligations of the guardian, and the child must also be notified accordingly. The child and grandmother must also be informed and supported in the process of determining guardianship.

If the guardian is suitable and willing to perform the duties and the child does not object, the local government will, as soon as possible, submit an application for interim legal protection to the court for the appointment of an interim guardian. Until the appointment of a guardian, the functions of the guardian of the child are performed by the local government of the child's place of residence entered in the population register. If the child is not entered in the population register, the guardianship is exercised by the local government of the child's habitual residence.

How will the need for assistance of the children of Ukrainian war refugees be identified?

Identifying the needs of the children of Ukraine is similar to assessing the needs of our own children, and starts with noticing the child's need for assistance.  Social specialists who communicate with families and children and map their primary needs are available on site in the accommodation establishments of the Social Insurance Board and refugee reception centres. These specialists will also be able to spot the first signs of need for assistance and inform the local government or the Child Helpline.

If a large number of unaccompanied minors were to arrive in Estonia at the same time, what would happen to them?

The state is obligated to take good care of all unaccompanied children who have arrived in Estonia from abroad and to provide them with a safe place to live and a caring adult in cooperation with the local government for the duration of their stay, the opportunity to attend school and nursery school and, if necessary, to receive psychological help.

In Estonia, substitute and family homes, safe houses and foster families rated as suitable by the Estonian National Social Insurance Board can provide homes for unaccompanied children. Temporary places of stay before being referred to substitute care are provided in the form of children’s safe houses. The Estonian National Social Insurance Board has communicated with all of the above and determined how many unaccompanied children having arrived from abroad can be offered alternative care services all over Estonia. As of now, mostly mothers and children are arriving together from Ukraine, with unescorted children only arriving in isolated cases. The Estonian National Social Insurance Board, through various organisations and government agencies in neighbouring countries, is informed in regard to the movement of war refugees and can, if necessary, get started making preparations to receive a larger number of unaccompanied children in a timely manner.

Can I temporarily take a Ukrainian child into my family?

In Estonia, substitute and family homes, safe houses and foster families rated as suitable by the Social Insurance Board can provide homes for unaccompanied children. At present, entire families are arriving from Ukraine, and children without an adult escort are only arriving in a few cases. In order to help these children, the Estonian National Social Insurance Board has agreements in place, and a safe and caring home is guaranteed for as long as they need it.

If you have a desire and a long-gestating idea to open your heart and home to a child who is unable to grow up with his or her birth family, please first familiarise yourself with the process of becoming a foster family and the stories of already existing families on the page www.tarkvanem.ee/kasupere/. There you will also find the contact information of specialists from the Estonian National Social Insurance Board engaged in assessing families. A safe and caring family is something that continues to be needed by our Estonian children, who for various reasons cannot grow up with their birth family.

Pensions and allowances

What benefits are available to the Ukrainian war refugees under temporary protection?

Before applying for benefits from the Social Insurance Board, you must apply for a temporary protection, a residence permit and Estonian identity card from the Police and Border Guard Board.

The Social Insurance Board pays to the beneficiaries of temporary protection:

  1. family benefits for families with children
  2. allowance for a person of pensionable age

To qualify for family benefits and allowances, you need:

  • proof of temporary protection
  • identity document - passport, birth certificate or embassy certificate
  • bank account to pay your benefits into - Estonian bank account, Ukrainian bank account or the account of a person close to you is suitable.  You can open an Estonian bank account free of charge and in a simplified procedure at the largest banks in Estonia - Swedbank and SEB Bank. 

Family benefits

Family benefits are paid to the parent of the child.

If the person is not the child's parent (a grandparent, aunt, other relative or acquaintance, but caring for the child), you should first contact the local government entity that will help you claim family benefits for the child. In this case, it will take longer to award benefits.

The amount of the child allowance is €60 for the first and second child in a family and €100 for the third and subsequent child in a family. For families with three or more children, an allowance for the family with many children of 300 euros per month is paid, and for families with seven or more children it is €400 per month.

We pay parental benefit to a parent raising a child under 3 years of age. The parental benefit is €584 per month for up to 435 or 545 days or until the child reaches the age of three. The exact number of days of parental benefit depends on the age of the child and the start date of the parent's residence permit.

Allowance for a person of pensionable age

Pensionable age in Estonia is 64 years and 3 months. Paying compensations begins in May.

For those of pensionable age, we will compensate the difference between the national pension rate and the Ukrainian pension. To determine this difference, i.e., the benefit, you must contact the Social Insurance Board. Temporary protection, a personal identification code, a residence permit, and a bank account (including a third-party account) are required beforehand.

Determination of the severity of disability and social assistance for disabled persons

To apply for the severity of disability and social benefits, you need to submit an application and, if possible, medical records to the Social Insurance Board. If there is no health record, the person must first consult a doctor in Estonia to specify their condition. If the person's condition meets the conditions for determining the severity of the disability, the type and severity of the disability and the social allowance (between €12.79 and €241.64) are determined. The severity of the disability is established from the day the application is submitted.

*In the case of children (0-15) and old-age pensioners (64+), the application must be submitted to the Social Insurance Board. Working-age people aged 16-64 can submit an application to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) for an assessment of their capacity for work and the severity of their disability.

Will pension payments made from Russia work?

At present, there is no information indicating that any changes will be made to the transferring of pensions. Pensions are transferred once per quarter and the payment for the first quarter of 2022 has been received from Russia. The payment rate is calculated on the basis of the rate of the date of compilation of the Russian list. The Russian pension is indexed by Russia in accordance with their laws. Estonia pays out pensions according to the amounts listed.

According to the agreement, the next quarter’s payment should be received from Russia by 25 May, at the latest. At the moment, it is difficult to say whether there will be a payment. The Ministry of Social Affairs has confirmed that if a pension payment should not be received from another country, the state will still provide the Estonian pensioner with an income in the amount of the national pension.

If a parent has a residence permit in Estonia but the children do not yet have temporary protection. Can a parent apply for family benefits?  

A parent can submit an application for family benefits. The Social Insurance Board will accept it as a deficient application. In order to grant family benefits, it is important that the child also has a legal basis for residence in Estonia, i.e. a residence permit. The benefits are granted as soon as the residence permit is issued. Family benefits can also be claimed 6 months after the entitlement has arisen.

Children under one year of age do not need a residence permit.

If the parent has a temporary visa but the children have temporary protection. Can a parent apply then for family benefits?

A parent can claim only child allowance. Because the child is entitled to child allowance and has a legal basis to live in Estonia.  If the child is a single parent's child - there is no entry for the father on the birth certificate - you can also apply for a single parent's child allowance. If the parent has been granted a residence permit, entitlement to other family benefits also arises.

Can a mother with a two-year-old child be awarded parental benefit?

A parent becomes entitled to parental benefit if he or she is living in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit. If the mother was entitled to maternity benefit, entitlement to parental benefit starts from the day after the end date of the maternity leave certificate; if the mother was not entitled to maternity benefit, from the birth of the child. The Social Insurance Board (SKA) will first find out whether the applicant has received maternity benefits in Ukraine. This will also determine whether and for how many days parental benefit can be granted. Entitlement to parental benefit starts from the birth of the child, or, in the case of a working parent, after the end date of the maternity leave certificate. From there, the calculation of days of parental benefit begins for the 435 days for a parent who received maternity benefit or for the 545 days for a parent who did not receive the maternity benefit.

Example 1:  The baby was born on 10 January. In 2021, the mother was not in employment, so she would be entitled to receive parental benefit for 545 days from the date of birth (until 08.07.2022). Nevertheless, if the mother of the child has a residence permit from 16 March 2022, she will be entitled to parental benefit from 16 March 2022 until 08 July 2022.

Example 2:  Mother had a maternity leave certificate until 15.01.2022, so her entitlement to 435 days of parental benefit starts from 16.01.2022. However, if the residence permit starts not before than on 16 March 2022, parental benefit can be granted from the start date of the residence permit until 25 March 2023, i.e. for 375 days. If the mother holds a residence permit for a year, the parental benefit can also be granted until the end date of the residence permit, i.e. probably until 15.03.2023.

What benefits are available to Ukrainian war refugees under temporary protection?

Before applying for benefits from the Social Insurance Board, you must apply for a temporary protection, a residence permit, and an Estonian personal identification code from the Police and Border Guard Board.

The Social Insurance Board pays to the person eligible for temporary protection:

  • family benefits for families with children;
  • allowance for a person of pensionable age.

 

To qualify for family benefits and allowances, you need:

  • proof of granting of temporary protection
  • an identity document – passport, birth certificate or embassy certificate
  • a bank account to pay your benefits into – an Estonian bank account, Ukrainian bank account or the account of a person close to you is suitable.  You can open an Estonian bank account free of charge and in a simplified procedure at the largest banks in Estonia. 

 

  • Family benefits

Family benefits are paid to the parent or guardian of the child. To apply, you must contact the Social Insurance Board.

If the person is not the child’s parent (a grandparent, aunt, other relative or acquaintance, but caring for the child), you should first contact the local government authority, which will help you to immediately apply for child allowance for the child. Entitlement to other family benefits, including guardianship allowance, arises when guardianship is established. In this case, it will take longer to award benefits.

 

Family allowances

Every child is entitled to child allowance from birth until the age of 16. The amount of the child allowance is EUR 60 for the first and second child in a family and EUR 100 for the third and subsequent child in a family. For families with three or more children, allowance for a family with many children of EUR 300 per month is paid, and for families with seven or more children it is EUR 400 per month.

A child without secondary education is entitled to child allowance until the age of 19, if he or she is studying.

 

Parental benefit

We pay parental benefit to a parent who has arrived in Estonia with a child younger than eighteen months. The parental benefit is EUR 584 per month for up to 545 days. The exact number of days of parental benefit depends on the age of the child and the start date of the parent’s residence permit. The payment of parental benefit is accompanied by health insurance.

 

For children born in Estonia, the parental benefit procedure is carried out in accordance with the standard national procedure.

Mother does not work in Estonia before the birth of the child – total parental benefit from the birth of the child for 545 days, of which the first 30 days are maternity benefit.

Mother works in Estonia before the birth of the child – parental benefit for a total of 575 days, with the mother being entitled to receive maternity benefit for up to 70 days before the expected birth of the child.

 

If the mother has earned income taxed with social tax in Estonia during the parental benefit calculation period, her parental benefit is calculated on the basis of the income earned. If the mother has not earned any income during the calculation period, the amount of the parental benefit is EUR 584 per month.

 

  • Allowance for a person of retirement age

The retirement age in Estonia is 64 years and 3 months.

For those of retirement age, we will compensate the difference between the national pension rate and the Ukrainian pension. To determine this difference, i.e., the granting of the benefit, you must contact the Social Insurance Board. Temporary protection, a personal identification code, a residence permit, and a bank account (including a third-party account) are required beforehand.

 

  • Determination of the severity of disability and social assistance for disabled persons

To apply for determining the severity of disability and social benefits, you need to submit an application and, if possible, medical records to the Social Insurance Board. If there is no health record, the person must first consult a doctor in Estonia to specify their condition. If the person’s condition meets the conditions for determining the severity of the disability, the type and severity of the disability and the social allowance (between EUR 12.79 and EUR 241.64) are determined. The severity of the disability is established from the day the application is submitted.

*In the case of children (0-15) and old-age pensioners (64+), the application must be submitted to the Social Insurance Board. Working-age people aged 16-64 can submit an application to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for an assessment of their capacity for work and the severity of their disability.

Temporary protection

What is temporary protection and to whom is it granted?

In the European Union, people fleeing the war in Ukraine are granted temporary protection. This includes residence permits, housing, access to the labour market, social, medical and other assistance, and means of subsistence. For unaccompanied children and teenagers, temporary protection entitles them to legal guardianship and education. 

How long does temporary protection last?

Temporary protection is valid for one year. This period may be extended twice by six months to one year.

The European Commission may at any time propose to the Council that temporary protection be terminated if the situation in Ukraine allows for the safe and permanent return of persons granted temporary protection, or to extend it for another year. 

What rights come through temporary protection?

Temporary protection covers a residence permit, housing, access to the labour market, social, medical and other assistance, and means of subsistence.

Ukrainian war refugees who have received temporary protection are provided with emergency medical care, emergency dental care, COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccination and health services related to the protection of public health.

For unaccompanied children and teenagers, temporary protection entitles them to legal guardianship and education.

What rights are extended to newborn babies and their mothers who are applicants for international protection or under temporary protection in Estonia?

The first step is to apply for temporary protection. They will then be entitled to family benefits - child allowance and, in the case of an infant, parental benefit, as well as subsistence benefit. So, in terms of benefits, we treat Ukrainian war refugees in the same way as young Estonian mothers who cannot work full-time.

The subsistence benefit is €150 for the first family member, €120 for the second adult and €180 for minor children. You can apply for this once in one month by submitting an application to the local authority where you live. If a person or family does not have to pay for their residence, they can only apply for the benefit in order to calculate the subsistence level.

The amount of the child allowance is €60 for the first and second child in a family and €100 for the third and subsequent child in a family. For families with three or more children, an allowance for the family with many children of 300 euros per month is also paid.

We pay parental benefit to a parent raising an infant: €584 per month for up to 435 or 545 days, depending on whether the mother received maternity allowance in Ukraine. The days are counted from the birth of the child or the end date of the maternity benefit. The exact number of days of parental benefit depends on the age of the child and the start date of the parent's residence permit.

Just in case, it should also be noted that new changes to the system of parental benefits will take effect on 1 April, and will apply both to Estonian citizens as well as to war refugees from Ukraine who are under temporary protection. More information on these changes can be found here: https://sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/et/lapsed-pered/vanemapuhkuste-ja-huvitiste-susteemi-muudatused

International protection

NB! The volume of international protection services is limited. In the event of an increased number of applicants, the service focuses on ensuring the basic needs of the individual.

How can I apply for international protection?

Applications for international protection are processed by the Police and Border Guard Board.

Where will the applicant for international protection be accommodated?

If, at the time of applying for international protection, a person has nowhere else to stay, he or she will be directed to the accommodation centre for applicants for international protection, if the places there have been filled, to the accommodation of the contractual partners of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board.

What type of help is offered by the Estonian state to applicants for international protection under normal circumstances?

If, under normal circumstances, an applicant for international protection is referred to an accommodation centre by the Police and Border Guard Board, he or she is guaranteed:

  • Accommodation service;
  • Psychosocial support, so that the basic needs of the person are covered;
  • A cash allowance (harmonised with subsistence benefit rates), with which a person covers his or her daily expenses. Catering is not guaranteed in the accommodation centre, i.e., the food is purchased and prepared by the person himself or herself;
  • Emergency medical support;
  • Essential health care, in particular the services of a family physician, other procedures in the case of greater risk;
  • Learning Estonian;
  • Adaptation cafés, where Estonia and the culture here are discussed;
  • The help of a psychologist, as needed;
  • Support for starting work, starting from the sixth month after applying for asylum in Estonia, when a person can work in Estonia. We help the Unemployment Insurance Fund to register a person and, if possible, we support them in looking for a job, preparing a CV, etc. NB! When a person starts working, certain financial benefits disappear because they have their own income;
  • Supporting the participation of school-age children in education;

If necessary, translation service for conducting official business. 

Psychosocial crisis support

Where can I get help, and who can I turn to if I need emotional support and counselling?

Victim Support Helpline, 24/7 and free of charge, in Estonian, Russian, and English: 116 006, when calling from abroad: +372 614 7393

Chat window www.palunabi.ee

National Child Helpline, 24/7 and free of charge, in Estonian, Russian, and English: 116 111, www.lasteabi.ee

People in Estonia are provided with free 24/7 mental health support via the following channels:

Mental health support line 660 4500*

Pastoral counselling helpline 116 123*

Online advice https://www.palunabi.ee/vaimne-tervis

Children and parents can get help from the National Child Helpline 116 111 and https://www.lasteabi.ee/

 

*From 1 April, they will be brought together under a single number 116 123

What is psychosocial crisis support?

Psychosocial crisis support in today's context is the supporting of people and families who have fled the war, in order to reduce the impact of the traumatic event on their coping. Helping means noticing basic needs, providing practical help and information, and providing emotional support. If help and support for people is timely and available, it will help prevent and alleviate later suffering and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Psychosocial crisis assistance includes:

  • psychological first aid;
  • providing shelter, water, food and sleep, i.e., basic needs;
  • providing clear instructions and information on how to cope (e.g., on issues of migration, employment, education and medical care).

Above all, human support, attention and presence are essential.

The Estonian National Social Insurance Board provides psychosocial crisis assistance to people who have fled the war:

the availability of psychosocial crisis workers in accommodation centres and reception centres:

24-hour round-the-clock victim support on the crisis hotline 116 006 (+372 614 7393), which offers first aid and psychological first aid in Estonian, Russian and English.
You can also chat online at www.palunabi.ee in Estonian, English and Russian.

The Estonian National Social Insurance Board provides psychosocial crisis assistance to people who have fled the war:

  • The presence of psychosocial crisis support workers in accommodation centres, distribution points, and border crossing points.
  • Victim support helpline 116 006, which provides 24-hour primary support and psychological first aid in Estonian, Russian, and English.

What does a psychosocial crisis support worker do?

The role of a psychosocial crisis support worker is to notice a person’s immediate needs, provide emotional support and help them personally or direct them to the necessary help and information. 

The employee helps the person to cope with their primary problems and identifies their immediate basic needs. For example, whether he or she has rested, eaten, had a drink; whether he or she needs medical attention or medicinal products, etc. After which the person is given psychological first aid. This is a method of psychosocial crisis support, designed for both children and adults. Empathetic listening, understanding and acceptance are important when providing psychological first aid. Human contact and instilling a sense of peace and hope help to restore the emotional and physical security of the person in need. If necessary, the person is referred for further help (e.g., medical care or mental health service) and it is determined that he or she also has information about long-term help and further recovery.

Who is responsible for the organisation of psychosocial crisis support? 
Psychosocial crisis support is organised by the Estonian National Social Insurance Board, which is also responsible for the preparation and support of psychosocial crisis assistance workers. Today, psychosocial crisis support is provided in accommodation centres, distribution points and border crossing points. In addition, those fleeing war are offered primary support and psychological first aid in Estonian, Russian, and English via the victim support helpline 116-006. The most up to date information is consolidated on the website kriis.ee and information materials prepared for arrivals in Russian and Ukrainian.

People in Estonia are provided with free 24/7 mental health support via the following channels:

Where can I get help for a traumatised child arriving from Ukraine?

Since children (as well as adults) may require medical attention in similar cases, e.g., to calm down, fall asleep, the primary recommendation should be a medical examination. If the arrivals do not head to the accommodation establishment, instead staying with an acquaintance, it is possible to go to the Emergency Room themselves or call an ambulance via 112. If children are involved in the Tallinn/Harju County region, it is recommended to contact the Emergency Room of Tallinn Children's Hospital (Tervise 28, Tallinn, reception desk in the admissions department 697-7146, open 24 hours a day). If necessary, the child in need is left in the hospital. If those arriving from Ukraine are staying in an accommodation establishment, an ambulance is also called via 112.

How can I offer emotional support to people fleeing the war in Ukraine?

We can be humane, identify primary needs and support the recovery of emotional and physical safety through psychological first aid. Psychological first aid is immediate support and help for people in crisis. Providing first aid means making contact, listening attentively to the person in need and assisting, as appropriate, in resolving specific problems and practical tasks.

Psychological first aid can be provided by anyone who is willing and ready. Watch the video and learn how to do it. Kaia Kastepõld-Tõrs from the Victim Support (Ohvriabi) explains the principles of assistance and gives guidance on how to give it.

In addition, we recommend the Psychological First Aid e-learning course, which is designed to provide further training for a helper in supporting a person in crisis. The course consists of four parts, which you can complete at your own pace, according to your needs and possibilities. The course takes up to 2.5 hours to complete. Enter the course.

Emotional support

How to resolve a conflict if there are different opinions in the family?

Conflicts are a normal part of life and should not be avoided. Even if it is an internal family conflict. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and has the right to express their opinion. A child’s opinion is no less important than that of an adult. If a conflict has occurred, it is not worth beginning to resolve it after it has already broken out. It’s worth taking a moment to calm down – go for a walk, inhale and exhale deeply, look out of the window, count large numbers from top to bottom, do something active. When the initial irritation is over, reach a mutual agreement (there are still two parties in the dispute) on when would be a good time for both of them to discuss what happened. One must understand that the most intense quarrels arise on the basis of values and attitudes, and people are not ready to give up their views. This is also understandable, because values serve as the foundation of a person, and when someone damages this foundation, the person and his or her world collapses. At home and in the family, regardless of different opinions, we must stay together, because relationships between loved ones are the most important parts of our foundation. Key points for resolving a conflict:

  • Find a mutually acceptable time to mediate your thoughts
  • take turns speaking
  • focus on the facts
  • avoid making assessments
  • accept dissenting opinions and make an agreement that respects the views of both sides 

A simple example from life itself. In one family, both meat eaters and vegetarians can live together. They may eat different foods, but they sit at one table.

What can I do if experiencing or seeing war events has emotionally traumatised me or someone close to me?

24/7 emotional support can be obtained from the victim support helpline 116 006 (EST, RUS, ENG).

Having experienced traumatic events and perceived a threat to the lives of oneself, one’s loved ones or even strangers, it is natural that you:

  • feel persistent anxiety, are alert and startle easily;
  • the events that have taken place are not forgotten, images or ‘film clips’ of what has happened come to mind unintentionally and uncontrollably;
  • you once again hear voices from the scene;
  • you can smell the smells associated with what happened;
  • you feel tremors in your body, have difficulty breathing, experience nausea, a lack of appetite, muscle weakness, aches and pains;
  • it is difficult to fall asleep, sleep is disturbed, you see disturbing dreams related to the event;
  • it is difficult to focus on everyday activities and keep your thoughts away from the event;
  • you feel powerless or guilty – ‘maybe I could have done something different to alleviate the situation or help in some way’, etc.

Russian and English text are both available here: https://peaasi.ee/psuhholoogiline-kriis/

Know that these reactions will be commonplace in the coming days and may decrease and disappear gradually on their own. If they do not pass, consult an expert via telephone 116 006.

How to help yourself if you feel persistent fear and anxiety against the backdrop of current events taking place? 

A traumatic event is a situation in which existing coping mechanisms prove to be insufficient. Such situations are usually accompanied by a great sense of fear, a feeling of helplessness and a loss of control over the situation and over one’s life. Although such events affect everyone in some way, people react to them differently.

It is very common for many people to feel extremely frightened, anxious or confused after a traumatic event. It may seem that others are able to maintain peace and are able to act purposefully and effectively.  

There are a few steps that, taken step by step, will help you gain better control over the situation:

Give yourself time to adjust. Be patient with yourself and others. Your recovery may take some time.

  • Don’t be alone.
  • Make self-care a priority – eat regularly, drink enough water, be active, and rest.
  • If possible, do the things that have helped you to cope in the past with difficult and stressful situations.
  • Try to create a daily routine. That means, make a schedule and stick to it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – the task of dealing with trauma alone may be too difficult.
  • reactions to trauma may also be so extensive that it is sometimes necessary to seek the help of professionals.

24/7 emotional support can be obtained from the victim support helpline 116 006 (EST, RUS, ENG).

Russian and English text are both available HERE: https://peaasi.ee/psuhholoogiline-kriis/

Do I need to talk to my child about the war?

Yes, you do. Because our children probably already know more about the war than we realise. War is scary, for adults and children alike, and even if we don’t bring it up ourselves, it doesn’t mean the child won’t think about it.

When discussing the war with a child, remember to:

Talk to your child about the war with messages that are appropriate for his or her age. 

Don’t disregard the child’s concerns. Confirm that the war is in Ukraine, not in Estonia. But don’t make any predictions about how long the war will last or whether it will continue to spread.

It is important to continue your daily routine, and in addition to the anxiety of the child, the parent must also deal with their own anxiety. Set an example for your child on how to consciously deal with stress – fresh air, doing things together, movement, etc., are a great help in all of this.

You can get 24-hour help in Estonian, Russian, and English for child-related topics from the national child helpline 116-111 or via an online chat at www.lasteabi.ee

At what age should I talk to my child about the war?

Children as young as four and five ask questions about what they see on TV, and it can often happen that the child does not ask, instead keeping their worries to themselves. Therefore, it is very important to talk to the child in order to understand what is happening inside them. Set aside time for your child, engage with and listen to your child. Listen to what the child is really worried about and answer them. Explain to your child what is happening, so that his or her questions are answered. War is a serious matter, but a child does not need to know all the gory details. With teenagers and adolescents, the news could be watched and then discussed together, encouraging them to express their opinions, feelings and questions.

What to do if a child is afraid of war?

Constantly talking about the war, inquiring about it, or avoiding the topic can be an indication of anxiety in a child. A sign is also when a child makes fun of the topic of war – this may be a defensive reaction on their part. In any case, it is a warning sign when changes occur in the behaviour of a child – when an open and cheerful child becomes anxious and reserved, or when the child complains that they cannot sleep. 

In no case should one ridicule a child’s concern or say that they should not worry about it. Take your child’s concerns seriously, listen to them and discuss it with them. Tell them that you understand their concerns and that you are worried, too. Tell them that many countries around the world are working together to bring the war to an end quickly. 

Assure the child that although there is a war in Ukraine, Estonia is not involved in the war. If it helps, look together at a map of the war zone. Do not predict what will happen next, but give the child a sense of hope and security. 

What to do if the parent is afraid of the war and it is difficult for them to talk about it?

It is very important that the parent also copes with their anxiety. Continuing with your daily routine is a great source of help. Don’t live in the news all the time, consciously take time for yourself. Go outside with your child or interact together at home – physical exertion, fresh air and acting together have a calming effect. Keeping up with the news is necessary; however, we must also deal with ourselves, giving our body a chance to rest and relieve anxiety. It is important that children see how a parent copes with a difficult situation and consciously deals with their stress. 

What can be done to ensure that the child does not develop hatred for all Russians because of the war in Ukraine?

Children follow their parents’ example – so it is important to observe what vocabulary we use when talking about Ukraine. It is not a Russian war, it is Putin’s war, and it was his decision. Many people of Russian nationality are not happy with what is happening. There are many posts on social media from people of Russian nationality expressing their dissatisfaction with the situation that has arisen and showing solidarity with Estonians. Check out these posts with your children and explain the situation. 

Health care

How does a Ukrainian war refugee who has arrived in Estonia obtain health insurance?

In Estonia, both foreigners who work for short periods of time and those who are working while holding a residence permit are covered by health insurance.

If you have received temporary protection status, you will receive health insurance when you start working or if you register as unemployed with the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Children with a residence permit, pregnant women, pensioners, students, university students and other people are considered equal to insured persons. 

If a person who has fled the war in Ukraine and arrived here needs medication or medical care, what should they do?

All people staying in Estonia are provided with emergency care in the event of a serious or life-threatening health disorder. Health advice can be obtained in English and Russian by calling the Family Doctor’s Advice Line 1220 (calling +372 634 6630 from abroad). If necessary, the person will be referred to the emergency number 112.

If prescription medicines are needed for a person fleeing the war in Ukraine, the contact person at the reception point or the establishment providing accommodation must be contacted.

Receiving planned general and specialised medical care depends on whether the person is covered by health insuranceHealth insurance is obtained in the same way as by other people who have the right of residence in Estonia: For example, a person working on the basis of an employment contract valid for more than one month or an unemployed person registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund has the right to health insurance. Children, pregnant women, pensioners, students, university students and other people are considered equal to insured persons.

For volunteers

The Social Insurance Board invites volunteers to think about how we can work together even more effectively to help Ukraine’s war refugees. We want to create a stronger dialogue between the state and NGOs, as in this long-term crisis, the contribution of everyone who wants to help is essential. It is our common wish that to maximise the benefits of the assistance provided. To this end, we have launched a series of information days to share best practices.

If you have your own NGO, village society, business or you are a representative of a municipality and would like to work with the Social Insurance Board, please write to: kersti.kask@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee.

Information day ‘Aitame! Vabaühenduste abi ukrainlastele’ (‘Let’s help! NGO aid for Ukrainians’) on 8 June. The presentations of the information day are available on the Estonian page