You are here

Welfare, benefits, victim and child protection

Can I apply for the subsistence benefit or needs-based benefit during the emergency situation?

Yes, applications can be submitted by e-mail or as a letter to the local government. The social worker can be consulted by telephone. Exceptionally, the necessary documents may also be submitted retrospectively.


How can I get help for purchasing foods and medicines?

  • Ask your family, friends, or neighbours for help.
  • or helpline 5660 4642
  • or helpline 716 8068 (9:00-18:00)
  • Contact the local municipality of your residence. Contact information is available on the rural municipality or city municipality websites.





Assistance and support continue

Even in the emergency situation the child protection services, and the provision of necessary services for children and families will continue. Women's support centres and victim support also continue to work. As usual, the pension will arrive every month at the latest on the 5th day, and applications for new benefits can be submitted.



Things are under control at nursing care homes

Life in nursing care homes is a little bit different now because extra caution is taken – even if no employees or residents have been infected with the coronavirus or are suspected of having the infection.  Everyone's health status is monitored closely and there are detailed plans in place what to do in case someone gets infected.


Try to reach an agreement regarding maintenance payments and parental access arrangements

It is very important to maintain reasonable cooperation between the parents during the emergency situation, certain flexibility must be shown, and children's interests must be taken into account, while not jeopardising the health of the child or other family members. In the event of a reduction of income due to the emergency situation, parents should try to come to an agreement.




How is my family member doing at the nursing care home?

Due to the extra caution taken, the life at the nursing care home is a little bit different now, even if none of the employees or the residents have the infection or are suspected to have the infection.

  • The health status of everybody in the care home will be constantly monitored, residents will get help with washing hands, if necessary, and other hygiene rules are complied with.
  • Rooms will be aired and cleaned even more carefully than usual.
  • Employees will also monitor their health and use protective equipment.


Can residents of care homes currently go to public places, for instance go to town or for a walk?

Healthy clients can move freely if they follow the rules, including to go to work. As of May 18, movement can be restricted on a case-by-case basis, for example, if there are infected people in the care home or people suspected of infection, etc.

What happens if there is a suspected outbreak of the virus at the nursing home?

If anybody in the nursing care home develops coronavirus-like symptoms, they will be isolated immediately and tested. The family members of the infected person will be notified.

Anyone who has been in contact with the infected person will be also isolated for 14 days and their health will be closely monitored. If an employee, who did not use the personal protective equipment came into contact with the infected person, they will be sent home.

Essentially, the care home will be divided into two parts:

  • In one part there are people with coronavirus symptoms or positive test results.
  • In the other part, there are people without the symptoms or negative test results.

The employees cannot move from one part of the house to another, nobody who is on the “healthy” side can visit the residents on the other side, who are in isolation.

If possible, every patient will have a room with a radio and the TV for the duration of the isolation. If they have a mild case of the disease, they may remain at the nursing care home even if they have tested positive for the coronavirus. Their health status will be continuously monitored, and if the condition should deteriorate, the ambulance will be called.

The room of the person with suspected infection will be disinfected.  All the employees will use face masks, protective gowns, and gloves.

Will the home service provision continue?

Yes, the local authorities will continue with the provision of home services for the people who need these services also during the current emergency situation. Home services will help people with their daily tasks and handling of various activities.

Does a quarantined care home have the right to restrict the movement of their residents? Can the residents be restrained, for example, and be prevented from leaving the room by locking their doors?

The care home must ensure that infected and non-infected residents would not come into contact with each other. In order to do this, the residents with the coronavirus diagnosis and symptoms must be separated from other residents. If there are infected people in the care home, the movement of residents between rooms and different sections is not allowed. The residents must be informed of the restrictions, and if necessary, the information must be repeated.

Healthy residents of the care home need to be able to go outside. It is certainly not right to lock people up indoors but the care home residents need to be explained in a manner comprehensible for them, why they cannot move around without restrictions during the quarantine, and if needed, the information must be repeated.


Victim Protection and Child Protection


Will I get help in case of domestic violence during the emergency situation?


Yes, the work of victim support and the work of Women´s support centres will continue also during the emergency situation for people who have become victims of a crime, suffer from negligence or maltreatment, or physical, mental, or sexual abuse.  Due to the emergency situation the social isolation and insufficient contacts with family and friends test the relationships and there is a danger for increased domestic violence.

  • Victim support staff of the Social Insurance Board can be contacted by telephone, Skype video calls and e-mails. Contacts can be found on the Social Security Insurance Board website.
  • Both people in need of the assistance and the assistance providers can call 24/7 the victim support crisis hotline 116006. The service is free of charge to the caller and the help is provided any time of the day. The caller may remain anonymous if they wish to do so. The service is provided in Estonian, Russian, and English. Victim support crisis hotline also provides support for all the specialists needing advice on psychosocial crisis assistance.
  • Women's support centres are located in all counties and continue to assist victims of violence also during the emergency situation. Women's support centres monitor the requirements of the Health Board in their work and are also ready to provide consultations by telephone. Contact information for Women's support centres can be found on the Social Insurance Board website and by calling victim support crisis hotline 116 006.

How can a parent get advice and support during the emergency situation?

For all the questions and concerns regarding children it is possible to call the Child Helpline 116 111 or contact

If your family or child needs assistance or support services, contact the child protection worker of the local government; their contacts can be found on the website of your city or rural municipality or via general information hotline. Regardless of the emergency situation, child protection activities, and services for children and families will continue.

Child protection workers can help the family if:

  • the child refuses to study or cooperate with parents,
  • the child is worried or depressed and the parent is unable to help,
  • family relations have become complicated,
  • child has a difficult relationship with the school,
  • parents need support with parenting skills,
  • the child has special needs,
  • the family needs financial support,
  • the family needs some other kind of support or assistance.

During the emergency situation, a child protection worker can still make home visits, if this is essential for ensuring the well-being of the child.


Children with special needs


Have there been any changes regarding the children with special needs, including children with disabilities, due to the emergency situation?

  • Due to the emergency situation, the Social Security Board extends the deadline for the duration of the degree of disability and the social support payment for six months for the people whose invalidity determination needs to be extended.
  • Children with severe and profound disabilities continue to receive childcare and support services. The provision of the service, supported by ESF funds, has been made more flexible, including the provision of support person service at the child's home during distance learning, and childcare service to children attending school during the day.
  • Social rehabilitation services will continue as far as possible, in agreement with the service provider. If there are obstacles to getting the service, the local government should be contacted.

Is the parent entitled to benefits if they must temporarily leave their employment in order to care for a child with special needs due to the emergency situation?


As of April 20, benefits will be paid to parents raising a child with special needs. The purpose of parental support for a child with special needs is to ensure replacement income for a parent who must be temporarily away from work due to the emergency situation.  The parents do not have to submit an application to receive the benefits, the Social Security Board has sent the proposal via the self-service portal which has to be confirmed by the parent.


Parental access arrangements and maintenance obligations

Will the emergency situation change the parental access arrangements for parents and children?

The agreements on the parental access and the related court orders apply also during the emergency situation.
Their implementation must be guided by the purpose of emergency restrictions. If the other parent, or a member of their family is ill, or suspected of being ill, then contacts with them should be avoided.

In any case, the rules of emergency situation must be respected, i.e. infected persons and persons suspected of having the infection need to self-isolate for two weeks or until recovery, and avoid contacts with other people, including their children.

It is extremely important to maintain reasonable cooperation between the parents during the emergency situation, it is important to be flexible, and respect the interests of the children, not endangering the health of the child or the family members.

Does the emergency situation impact the payment of maintenance?

The emergency situation does not mean the costs related to the child would have decreased. Rather, it may be the opposite – children are at home and food costs may have increased. It should be taken into account that, due to the crisis, the income of the parent with the main custody of the child, may also have decreased.

In case of problems or reduced income, the parents should try to come to an arrangement with each other. If this is not possible, you must obey the maintenance obligation order.





Last updated: 4 June 2020