Pensions and benefits for widow(er)s
A widow(er) is often entitled to a spouse’s pension, which is paid by employment pension insurance companies and Kela. To receive a spouse’s pension, the widow(er) must have been married to or in a registered relationship with the spouse. In certain situations, the widow(er) may also receive compensation from the spouse's accident insurance or group life insurance.
You may receive a spouse’s pension, if you were married or in a registered partnership with your partner. The spouse’s pension is paid either by Kela or by your spouse’s employment pension insurance company.
You have the right to your spouse’s employment pension insurance company’s pension if
- your spouse had accrued an earnings-related pension, that is they had work history
- you had a biological or an adopted child together, and
- you and your spouse were married or entered a registered partnership before your spouse reached the age of 65.
If you did not have children together, you may only receive a spouse's pension paid by employment pension insurance company, if
- you were at least 50 years old when your spouse died, or you have received a disability pension for at least three years
- your marriage or registered partnership lasted at least five years, and
- you were under the age of 50 and your spouse under the age of 65 when you got married or registered your partnership.
In addition to the earnings related pension, you may receive a spouse’s pension from Kela, if you are under the age of 65.
If you are divorced and your ex-spouse paid you alimony, there’s a possibility that you can receive a spouse’s pension after your ex-spouse's death.
No. If you lived with your partner without being married, you will not receive a spouse's pension, as it is only paid to people who were married or in a registered partnership. If you have children together who are minors or students, they are still entitled to an orphan's pension.
Use the application form for survivors’ pension to apply for the spouse’s pension. You can use the same application form to apply for the spouse’s pension paid both by employment pension insurance companies and by Kela. You can submit your application either to the employment pension insurance company used by your spouse's employer or to Kela. Information on applying for spouse’s pension on the Kela website.
If your spouse has lived abroad, you may also be entitled to a spouse's pension from that country. In that case, fill in Appendix U in addition to the application for survivors’ pension. The appendix contains questions about your spouse’s stay and employment abroad.
You begin to receive the spouse's pension at the beginning of the month following your spouse's death. Apply for a spouse's pension as soon as possible, as you can receive it retroactively for a maximum of six months.
The spouse's pension paid to you by an earnings-related pension company is at most half of the earnings-related pension your spouse would have received.
If you spouse died when still working, he or she did not yet receive any earnings-related pension. Your survivor's pension is then calculated on the basis of the pension your spouse would have received if they had become incapable of work on the date of their death.
If you work and do not have any under-age children, you will receive a spouse's pension for six months after your spouse's death. The amount of this pension does not depend on your income. After the six months, your calculated pension, or the amount of money you would receive if you were incapable of work, will be determined. The spouse’s pension paid to you will be redetermined on the basis of your calculated pension and the pension of your spouse. Usually, the amount decreases or the pension ceases.
If you have children, the spouse's pension paid to you will not be reduced until the youngest child reaches the age of 18.
If you are over 65 years old or retired and do not have any under-age children, the amount of your own pension has been taken into account in the spouse's pension. If your pension is large, you will not receive a spouse's pension at all.
The initial pension paid by Kela is the same for everyone, approximately EUR 330 a month. On the other hand, your income and family relationship affect the continuing pension.
If you have a small income and you don't remarry or enter into a new registered partnership, you can in principle receive a spouse's pension for the rest of your life.
However, if you remarry or enter into a new registered partnership before you reach the age of 50, your survivor's pension will cease. In that case you will receive a three-year spouse’s pension as a single payment.
If you remarry or enter into a new registered partnership after you have reached the age of 50, you will continue to receive the spouse’s pension as before. However, if your new spouse dies, you will not be paid a new spouse's pension.
You can receive a spouse's pension paid by Kela until the end of the month in which you turn 65.
As a widow(er), you may also be entitled to a survivors’ pension or care pension from an accident insurance, traffic insurance, military accident insurance, military disability insurance or medical malpractice insurance policy. Ask your spouse’s employer for the name of the insurance company where your spouse had a policy and apply directly to the insurance provider for the pension. Note that if you receive sufficient income from these insurance policies, you may not be eligible for Kela's continuing pension.
If your spouse was of working age at the time of their death and was working or on sick leave, you may also receive a single payment from the group life insurance coverage for employees. The size of the compensation depends on your spouse's age and the number of children you have together. It is also possible to get an increase for accidental death if your spouse’s death was accidental. Find out from your spouse's employer the information you need for the application and apply for compensation to the Employees’ Group Life Assurance Pool.
If your spouse worked for the State, you can apply to the State Treasury for a benefit equivalent to group life insurance.
If your spouse has died and you have become the single parent of children aged under 18, inform Kela of your status. As a single parent, you will receive a supplement to the child benefit. If your income is low, you may be entitled to general housing allowance. You may also be given social assistance if you are having temporary difficulties with money.
In addition, the diaconal work of parishes and many organisations help widow(er)s and widowed single parents in difficulties. Getting help does not usually require you to be a member of the Church or the organisation in question.