Changes planned to survivors’ pension

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is preparing a government bill on survivors’ pension cover, which is intended to take effect at the beginning of 2022. The government bill will be submitted to Parliament for review in early 2021. The objective of the reform is to renew survivors’ pension cover in order for it to meet the changed needs of society and families.

In case of death in a family, the livelihood of the widowed person and children is secured with survivors’ pensions pursuant to legislation on earnings-related pension. Survivors’ pension covers both the surviving spouse’s pension or orphan’s pension.

The objective of the reform is to improve the situation of children and families with children and to re-allocate survivors’ pension benefits while taking into account the changes in working life, family structures and society.

The duration of the surviving spouse’s pension would be limited

In the future, survivors’ pension would secure a surviving person’s livelihood during the adjustment period following the death of the family provider. The duration of surviving spouse’s pension would be limited to 10 years or until the youngest child entitled to orphan’s pension turns 18.

The fixed-term surviving spouse’s pension would only apply to persons who are widowed after the reform and even then only to widowed persons who were born in 1975 or thereafter.

Currently, the surviving spouse’s pension, as referred to in the legislation on earnings-related pension, is paid until the death of the widowed person, provided that they do not remarry under the age of 50.

Surviving spouse’s pension for common-law spouses, improvements to orphan’s pension

Common-law spouses who lived in the same household with the now deceased family provider would also be entitled to surviving spouse’s pension if they had with the deceased person children who are underage. The surviving spouse’s pension would be paid until the youngest child turns 18. It would be necessary to establish cohabitation of at least five years before the death of the family provider.

Granting common-law spouses the right to the surviving spouse’s pension improves the financial situation of families with children. Currently, only the orphan’s pension is available to such families.

The orphan’s pension would continue for two years longer than currently, that is, until the child turns 20. If there is no beneficiary of the surviving spouse’s pension, the widowed person’s share of the survivors’ pension would be paid to the children under specific circumstances. These changes would improve the financial situation of children who lose their guardian.

Improvements to the pension cover applicable to common-law spouses and children would be implemented immediately at the beginning of 2022 when the reform is planned to take effect.