Surviving spouse's pension and orphan's pension protect the family

The survivors’ pension replaces income that is lost when your family’s wage earner dies. There are two survivors’ pensions: the surviving spouse’s pension and the orphan’s pension. Together they form a whole and affect each other.

Use the calculator below to assess the amount of your survivors’ pension.

Who gets a survivors’ pension?

You may have the right to an earnings-related survivors’ pension if you are

  • a child of the deceased and under the age of 20,
  • a married or common-law spouse of the deceased, and
  • a former spouse of the deceased.

Same-sex parties to a registered relationship are comparable to married spouses.

Kela always pays the basic amount of the orphan’s pension to the children. If you are a surviving spouse under the age of 65, Kela pays you an initial pension for 6 months. If your family’s income is low, the survivors’ pension paid by Kela supplements the earnings-related survivors’ pension also in other respects. Go to Kela’s website for more information on Kela’s survivors’ pension.

Surviving spouse’s pension based on marriage

As a surviving spouse, you are entitled to the surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • you were married to your spouse at the time of their death,
  • you were married before your spouse turned 65, and
  • you and your spouse have or have had a child together.

If you and your spouse do not have or have not had a child together, you are entitled to the surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • you were married for at least five years before your spouse passed away,
  • you were married before you turned 50 (the age limit does not apply if you are a widow and you were married to the deceased before 1 July 1990), and
  • you were at least 50 years old or you had received a disability pension for at least three years when your spouse passed away.

If your former spouse dies and they were paying you alimony at the time of their death based on a statutory decision issued by a court of law or an agreement confirmed by the social services board, you may have the right to a surviving spouse’s pension. The pension amount depends on the amount of the alimony.

Surviving spouse’s pension based on common-law marriage

If you are a common-law spouse, you have the right to a surviving spouse’s pension if you meet the following conditions:

  • your common-law spouse passed away in 2022 or later,
  • you have a dependent child together with the deceased,
  • you shared a household for at least five years with your deceased common-law spouse before their death,
  • you moved into a shared household with your common-law spouse before they turned 65 years, and
  • neither of you were married to another person.

Find out if you are entitled to a surviving spouse’s pension

Use an online tool to find out if you have the right to receive a surviving spouse’s pension.

The tool does not require that you log in, nor does it offer personal data. Based on your answers, you will get a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify for a surviving spouse’s pension. You will get a final decision on your right to a surviving spouse’s pension when you claim the pension.

Do you qualify for a surviving spouse’s pension? (Asiointi.etk.fi)

Orphan’s pension

If you are under the age of 20 and your parent dies, you are entitled to an orphan’s pension.  You have the right to the pension also if your stepmother or stepfather dies and the following conditions are met:

  • your stepmother or stepfather was married to your other parent, and
  • you lived in the same household with your stepmother or stepfather at the time of their death.

How much is the survivors’ pension?

The survivors’ pension is based on the pension of your deceased spouse or family breadwinner. There is no upper limit to the pension.

If your spouse or family breadwinner was not yet retired when they passed away, the survivors’ pension is based on the value of the disability pension that they would have got at their time of death.

The amount of your survivors’ pension is based on the amount of your own pension and the number of children you had with your deceased spouse. However, your own pension (or your computational disability pension if you are still of working age) does not affect your surviving spouse’s pension until the youngest of your children turns 18.

The more children you have, the greater the survivors’ pension. Each child will receive their own equal proportion of the orphan’s pension. If you have no children, the survivors’ pension consists of the surviving spouse’s pension only.

The table below shows how the number of children affects the survivors’ pension. The shares are indicated as shares of twelfths. At most, the surviving spouse’s pension can be 6/12 (that is, half) of your deceased spouse’s pension.

How the survivors’ pension is divided between the surviving spouse and the children

Number of children 0 1 2 3 4-
Surviving spouse’s pension 6/12  6/12 5/12 3/12 2/12
Orphan’s pension  4/12 7/12 9/12 10/12
Total 6/12 10/12  12/12  12/12  12/12

The surviving spouse’s share of the pension is paid to the children as an orphan’s pension if there is no surviving spouse who is entitled to the surviving spouse’s pension. For example, the child is entitled to a computational share if a common-law spouse is not entitled to the surviving spouse’s pension or if the surviving spouse’s pension is terminated because the surviving spouse remarries before turning 50. A child cannot receive the computational share of the surviving spouse’s pension if the surviving spouse’s pension ends when the youngest child turns 18 or if the surviving spouse’s pension ends because it has been in payment for a fixed-term period of 10 years.

Estimate the amount of your survivors’ pension

The calculator estimates the share of the deceased spouse’s or breadwinners pension paid to the surviving spouse and the orphans (beneficiaries), as well as the reduced surviving spouse’s pension

Enter your pension as a whole number, for example 1500
Select beneficiaries

How your own pension affects your surviving spouse’s pension

When your surviving spouse’s pension is calculated, your own earnings-related pensions will be taken into account. If you are not retired yet, a computational pension is taken into account. The computational pension is the pension amount you would have received had you become disabled when your spouse died.

If your own earnings-related pension exceeds a certain amount, half of the excess amount is reduced from your surviving spouse’s pension. The limit is adjusted each year. In 2022, it is 750.50 euros per month.

Example of a reduced surviving spouse’s pension

Pension of the deceased spouse: €2,000/month

Surviving spouse’s pension before the reduction: 6/12 x €2,000 = €1,000/month

Surviving spouse’s own pension: €1,500/month

Reduced surviving spouse’s pension: €1,000 – 0.5x (€1,500-€750.50) = €625.25/month

Your surviving spouse’s pension is reduced right from the beginning if you are over 65 years old or you receive an earnings-related pension when your spouse dies. However, your surviving spouse’s pension is not reduced as long as any of your children are under the age of 18.

If you are of working age and have no children under the age of 18 together with your deceased spouse, your are paid a surviving spouse’s pension (an initial pension) for six months without reductions.

For how long is your survivors’ pension paid?

The survivors’ pension starts from the onset of the first month following the death of your spouse. If you claim the pension late, the pension is paid in retrospect for a maximum of six months.

The orphan’s pension is paid until the child turns 20 years.

The duration of the surviving spouse’s pension depends on the surviving spouse’s year of birth and whether the pension is paid based on marriage or common-law marriage.

When based on marriage, you will receive a surviving spouse’s pension for 10 years if you were born in 1975 or later or at least until your youngest of the children entitled to an orphan’s pension turns 18. If you were born before 1975 or your spouse died before 1 January 2022, the pension will be paid for the rest of your life.

The surviving spouse’s pension ends if you are under 50 and remarry.

A surviving spouse’s pension granted based on common-law marriage is paid until your youngest child turns 18.

The pension is paid until the end of the month in which the age limit is reached or you remarry.

Survivors’ pensions are also paid under mandatory workers’ compensation insurance and motor liability insurance (LITA pensions). These pensions can also be paid to common-law spouses. LITA pensions are primary in relation to earnings-related survivors’ pensions. LITA pensions are deducted from the amount of the earnings-related pension.

Read more about workers’ compensation insurance and motor liability insurance

You may be entitled to a survivors’ pension also if your spouse or family breadwinner has worked in other EU or EEA countries. You may qualify for the pension also for work done in such countries with which Finland has signed a social security agreement.

Claim a survivors’ pension from such countries with the same claim form you use to claim a Finnish survivors’ pension. The Finnish Centre for Pensions forwards your claim abroad. Fill out Appendix U (information on your spouse’s or breadwinner’s residence and work abroad) and attach it to your claim.

Survivors’ pension claim forms

If you are under 65 and the next-of-kin of an employee, you may receive group life insurance compensation from the Employees’ Group Life Assurance pool. As the next-of-kin of a self-employed person, you do not qualify for this compensation.