Survivors’ pension for surviving spouses and children
If your spouse passes away, the survivors’ pension helps secure an income. You are eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension and your underage children for an orphan’s pension.
When can I receive survivors’ pension?
If you are widowed, apply for survivors’ pension. You are eligible for the surviving spouse’s pension and your children under 18 years of age are eligible for orphan’s pension. You can receive the pension regardless of whether your spouse was an employee, self-employed or unemployed.
Surviving spouse’s pension provides security for the surviving spouse
The condition for receiving the surviving spouse’s pension is that you were married or in a registered partnership or you received personal continuous child support from your ex-spouse. If you had a common-law marriage you will not receive surviving spouse’s pension even if you had children together.
If you have a child together
If you have or have had a child together and your marriage was contracted before your spouse turned 65, you are entitled to a surviving spouse’s pension.
If you do not have a child together
If you do not have or have not had a child together, you are eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension if:
- you were at least 50 years old when your spouse died or you have received a disability pension for at least three years and
- your marriage had lasted at least five years before your spouse’s death and
- the marriage was contracted before you turned 50 and your spouse turned 65.
You may also receive the pension if you married after you turned 50. This is the case if you are a widow and you were born on 1 July 1950 or earlier and your marriage was in force on 1 July 1990.
Are you entitled to surviving spouse's pension?
From the picture below you can check if you are entitled to surviving spouse's pension.
If your spouse died in an occupational accident or traffic accident, you can also receive compensation from his or her employer’s or company’s accident insurance company or the motor liability insurance company of the person who caused the accident. The compensation can reduce the survivors’ pension paid by Ilmarinen.
You can also receive compensation from the employees’ group life insurance. Apply for it to the Employees’ group life insurance pool.
You can also receive compensation from Kela. Read more about Kela's compensation.
If the deceased had worked abroad, you and your children may also receive survivors’ pension from his or her countries of employment.
Orphan’s pension brings security until the age of 18
Your spouse’s child under 18 years of age is entitled to orphan’s pension. He or she will receive the pension regardless of whether he or she lived with your spouse or not or whether he or she is a biological or adopted child. Foster children are not eligible for the pension.
Your child can also receive an orphan’s pension even if your deceased spouse was not his or her parent. This is the case if your child lived in the same household together with you and your spouse when your spouse died. However, your child may receive the orphan’s pension only if you and your spouse were married or in a registered partnership.
The survivors’ pension is based on your spouse’s earnings-related pension. The amount of survivors’ pension is affected by your earnings-related pension cover and the number of children. The amount of pension is not affected by your or your spouse’s national pension, voluntary pensions or assets of the estate.
The more children under the age of 18 in your family, the larger the survivors’ pension. If you have no children, the survivors’ pension consists solely of the surviving spouse’s pension and is thus at most half of the maximum survivors’ pension.
The table illustrates how the number of children affects the survivors’ pension. The pension is divided into 12 parts, whereby the fraction 12/12 is the full survivors’ pension and 6/12 is half of the pension.
|Pension||No children||1 child||2 children||3 children||4 or more
|Surviving spouse's pension||6/12||6/12||5/12||3/12||2/12|
|Total orphan's pensions||-||4/12||7/12||9/12||10/12|
|Total survivors' pension||6/12||10/12||12/12||12/12||12/12|
- you are over 65 years old or you receive your own earnings-related pension and you do not have children under 18 years of age; your surviving spouse’s pension may be reduced immediately when it begins.
- you are not yet drawing your own earnings-related pension and you do not have children under 18 years of age; your surviving spouse’s pension may be reduced six months after it began.
- your family has one or more children receiving orphan’s pension who lived with you and your spouse when your spouse died; your surviving spouse’s pension will not be reduced until the youngest child turns 18.
- you begin drawing your own earnings-related pension.
How much your surviving spouse’s pension will be reduced depends on how much earnings-related pension you receive currently or will receive in the future. If your own earnings-related pension is large, it is possible that you will not receive survivors’ pension at all.