Survivors' pension, i,e. orphan's and surviving spouse's pension

Survivors’ pension is granted upon application after the death of a spouse or family provider. Survivors’ pension secures the livelihood of the surviving spouse and children under 18.

Conditions for receiving survivors’ pension

Survivors’ pension can be granted after the death of the insured person to a child under 18 years of age, a spouse, a partner in a registered partnership or an ex-spouse who has been receiving support payments. A common-law spouse is not entitled to survivors’ pension. These rules are currently in force, and changes to them are planned. A bill is currently before Parliament.

The pension is determined based on the number of beneficiaries (applicants), and it can be at maximum equal to the deceased person’s earnings-related pension. The surviving spouse’s pension is at most half of the deceased person’s pension, and it may be reduced if there are no children under the age of 18. The survivors’ pension brochure contains detailed information about how pension is distributed between the surviving spouse and children.

Survivors'pension

How to apply for orphan’s pension as survivors’ pension

A child under 18 receives orphan’s pension as survivors’ pension after the death of his/her parents or adoptive parents. A child receives the pension after the death of his/her stepmother or stepfather if the child lived with the deceased at the time of their death.

Fill in an electronic application form for orphan’s pension for each child in Varma’s eServices. The same application form can also be used to apply for orphan’s pension from Kela.

It is a good idea to apply for orphan’s pension as soon as possible after the person’s death, because survivors’ pension can be applied for retroactively for no more than six months.

The application form asks for the recipient’s bank account number in IBAN format, and it includes questions about the deceased’s employment relationships and other pensions.


Fill in an application for orphan’s pension in Varma Online Service

Surviving spouse’s right to survivors’ pension

The granting of survivors’ pension is subject to certain conditions. In order for the surviving spouse to be entitled to receive survivors’ pension, the deceased is required to have been under the age of 65 at the time of the marriage. If the spouses have children together (including adult children), the surviving spouse is entitled to survivors’ pension. The surviving spouse’s pension may be reduced if they no longer have children under the age of 18.

If the spouses have no children together, the surviving spouse’s pension is subject to, among other things, the ages of the deceased and the surviving spouse at the time of their marriage, and the duration of their marriage. Take this quiz to see if you would be entitled to surviving spouse’s pension under the current rules. 

Applying for surviving spouse’s pension

Apply for surviving spouse’s pension from Varma if the deceased received earnings-related pension from Varma and the last month of his/her earnings were mostly insured by Varma. Kela (the Social Insurance Institution of Finland) pays surviving spouse’s pension only for surviving spouses under the age of 65. You can apply for surviving spouse’s pension from Kela using the same application you use to apply for surviving spouse’s pension from Varma.

In addition to the application form, you must also fill in Appendix U (Residence and employment abroad) if you or the deceased person worked or lived abroad.It is a good idea to apply for surviving spouse’s pension as soon as possible after the person’s death, because survivors’ pension can be applied for retroactively for no more than six months.

In the application, you will be asked to provide your bank account number in IBAN format. You will also be asked to enter the date of your marriage, as well as information about the deceased’s and your last job or pension.


Fill in the application for surviving spouse’s pension in Varma Online Service

PDF applications

If you cannot file an electronic application, use the application forms that are available on the website Työeläke.fi. Fill in the form preferably on your computer screen, print it out and sign it. You can send in an application either by post to Varma, P.O. Box 3, FI-00098 VARMA, or you can scan your signed application and send it via secure email.


Application for surviving spouse’s pension
Application for orphan’s pension

Appendix U (Residence and employment abroad
Instructions: Information for pension applicants

How to send a secure email to Varma

Send the PDF survivors’ pension application in a secure message via https://turvaposti.varma.fi.
1. In the “Lähettäjä” field, enter your email address.
2. Click “Jatka” to continue and enter the subject and your message, and attach any required files. Click “Lähetä” to send the message.

Calculate an estimate of the amount of surviving spouse’s pension

Surviving spouse’s pension is at most half the amount of the deceased’s pension. The amount of the surviving spouse’s own earnings-related pension may affect the amount of surviving spouse’s pension to be granted. Use the calculator to estimate the amount of surviving spouse’s pension when the sole beneficiary is the surviving spouse.

When is surviving spouse’s pension reduced?

  • The surviving spouse was over the age of 65 or retired at the time of his/her spouse’s death: The reduction is made from the start of the survivors’ pension.
  • The surviving spouse is under 65 and has not retired: The surviving spouse initially receives half of the deceased’s pension for six months. A reduction will be made only after six months have passed since the start of the surviving spouse’s pension.
  • The youngest child turns 18: The reduction is made from the first day of the month after the child’s birthday.
  • The surviving spouse is granted his/her own earnings-related pension: A new reduction is made based on the surviving spouse’s actual earnings-related pension.

Decision on surviving spouse’s pension

The application processing time varies, but it is currently around good two weeks. If you have also applied for pension from Kela, the processing time will be longer.

If the beneficiaries of the survivors’ pension are both the surviving spouse and children under 18, the pension will be divided between the beneficiaries. If there are no children under 18 and the surviving spouse is under 65, he/she will be granted an initial pension for a period of six months. The initial pension is half of the deceased person’s pension. After six months, the surviving spouse’s own earnings-related pension is taken into account in the amount of surviving spouse’s pension. If the surviving spouse does not yet receive earnings-related pension, the amount used is the calculated amount of earnings-related pension

Help with using our services

Take care of your pension matters online

In our online service, you can, for instance

  • fill in an application for surviving spouse’s pension or orphan’s pension (i.e. survivors’ pension) on the ‘Applications and notifications’ page
  • see which processing phase your surviving spouse’s pension application is in
  • see Varma’s decision
  • use the services for pensioners once you have received a decision
  • send and receive messages and attachments.
Log in to Varma Online Service