Parental insurance and allowances to parents in Sweden
Sweden has a diverse and extensive support system aimed at providing financial security to families during the years when they have many dependants. The various forms of financial support to families contribute to creating a good economic standard of living and increase freedom of choice for families with children.
This support from society is based on the central importance of the parents for the child's security and the need for greater gender equality. The support available is intended to help parents who wish to combine work with family life.
Financial support to families - part of social insurance
Social insurance benefits can be individual-based and provide compensation for income lost when looking after a sick child, for example, or benefits can be general or means-tested allowances.
The Social Insurance Code is the governing legislation
The rules for financial support to families can be found in the Social Insurance Code, which includes the benefits administered by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Pensions Agency.
Three areas for family support
Financial support to families with children is divided into three main areas: insurance, general allowances and means/needs-tested allowances. The various types of family support are designed to meet specific needs, for example, the needs of parents living apart and parents of sick children or children with disabilities.
The gender equality bonus and municipal child-raising allowance are also included in financial support to families.
- Parental benefit
- Temporary parental benefit
- Pregnancy benefit
- Child pension
- Pension rights for childcare years
Parental benefit enables both parents to combine work and studies with parenthood. Parental benefit is the compensation parents receive to be able to stay at home with their children instead of working. It is paid for a total of 480 days per child.
Temporary parental benefit
A parent who needs to stay at home from work to look after a sick child under the age of 12 (in some cases 16), is entitled to temporary parental benefit. Temporary parental benefit may also be paid in certain other cases, for example when the child's regular caregiver is ill.
The father of a newborn baby is entitled to 10 days of temporary parental benefit, known as 'father days', in connection with the child's birth.
A woman with a physically demanding job who cannot carry out her duties towards the end of her pregnancy may receive pregnancy benefit. In addition, a woman who is not allowed to perform her ordinary work due to risks in the working environment may receive pregnancy benefit.
Children who have a deceased parent may receive a child pension. The child pension compensates part of the support that was contributed by the deceased parent. If the child receives a low, or no child pension, he or she may also receive a surviving children's allowance.
Pension rights for childcare years
Pension right for childcare years can be paid to a parent for the first four years of a child's life, regardless of whether or how long the parent has been on parental leave.
- Child allowance
- Adoption allowance
Families with children living in Sweden receive financial support in the form of child allowance. This is paid from the month following the child's birth, or later, for example, if the child moves to Sweden. Child allowance is tax-free and is paid up to and including the quarter in which the child turns 16. A supplementary allowance for additional children is paid to families with two or more children.
The state contributes a fixed sum towards the costs of intercountry adoptions of children adopted through an authorised adoption organisation.
Means- and needs-tested allowances
- Care allowance for disabled children
Maintenance support guarantees that children whose parents are living apart receive some support even when the parent who is required to pay maintenance support does not comply. It is paid to the parent with whom the child is living or directly to the child. The parent who is required to pay must reimburse costs paid from public funds for the maintenance support in full or in part.
Households with children living at home and households with access rights to children can apply for housing allowance. The size of the allowance depends on housing costs, the size of the home, household income and number of children. People who do not have children can also apply for housing allowance. This applies to people between the ages of 18 and 29 years.
Care allowance for disabled children
A parent who looks after a disabled or sick child at home may receive care allowance. To be eligible for care allowance, the child must need special supervision and care for at least six months, or must have a disability or illness that entails substantial extra costs.
Gender equality bonus
The aim of the gender equality bonus is to improve the conditions for gender equality in both parental leave and participation in working life. Parents who take an equal number of parental benefit days each receive the maximum bonus.
The child-raising allowance is a voluntary municipal allowance that the municipalities can choose to introduce, finance and administer. The child-raising allowance provides greater opportunities for parents to stay at home and look after their child while the child is between one and three years of age.
Applications for allowances
Applications for the above-mentioned allowances are made to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, with the exception of applications for the child-raising allowance, which are made to the municipality. Child pension and pension rights for childcare years are administered by the Swedish Pensions Agency. For more information on these benefits, see the links under 'Related topics' to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting).
The Swedish Social Insurance Agency is responsible for a large number of public social security systems. It investigates, decides on and pays allowances and compensation within the social insurance system. This includes insurance and allowances to families.
Child pension and pension rights for childcare years are administered by the Swedish Pensions Agency.
Relevant rules and documents
Social Insurance Code (2010:110).