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Eligibility for surviving spouse's pension

In order to get a surviving spouse’s pension, you must have been married to, cohabited with or lived in a registered partnership with the deceased.

Kela pays surviving spouse’s pension until you reach the age of 65, at the maximum. In certain situations, the surviving spouse’s pension is paid until any child that you have with your spouse/partner or any child of your spouse/partner turns 18.

The surviving spouse's pension from Kela consists of two components:

  • a starting pension
  • a possible continuing pension.

Read more about the starting pension and the continuing pension.

Cohabitation

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s pension, if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • Your partner died on or after 1 January 2022.
  • You started cohabiting before your partner reached the age of 65.
  • You had cohabited for a consecutive period of at least 5 years at the time when your partner died.
  • You have a child under the age of 18 with your partner and the child has lived in the same household with you and your partner.

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s starting pension and continuing pension.

If you yourself were married to another person at the time of your partner’s death, or if your partner was married to another person at the time of his or her death, then you are not entitled to surviving spouse’s pension.

Basic or additional amount of the continuing pension?

You are entitled to the basic amount of the continuing pension. If your income is small, you can also get an additional amount to your continuing pension. It is not possible to get only the additional amount.

For how long can you get surviving spouse’s pension?

The surviving spouse’s pension is payable until the youngest child that you have with your deceased partner turns 18. You can be paid surviving spouse’s pension until you turn 65, at the maximum.

Marriage and registered partnership

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s pension if you were married to your spouse or registered your partnership with your partner before he or she turned 65.

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s starting pension and continuing pension.

Basic or additional amount of the continuing pension?

You are entitled to the basic amount of the continuing pension. The basic amount is paid until the youngest child that you have with your spouse/partner reaches the age of 18, or until you reach the age of 65.

You are also entitled to the basic amount of the continuing pension, if your child with your spouse/partner has reached the age of 18, but you have a child (either yours or your spouse’s/partner’s) under the age of 18 living with you. An additional requirement is that your or your spouse’s/partner’s child was already living with you when your spouse/partner died. The basic amount is paid until the child turns 18 or moves out of your home at an age younger than 18.

If your income is small, you can get an additional amount to the continuing pension. You can be paid an additional amount until you reach the age of 65, even if your child is over 18.

For how long can you get surviving spouse’s pension?

If you were born before 1975

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension until you reach the age of 65, at the maximum.

If you were born in 1975 or later, and your spouse/partner died before 1 January 2022

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension until you reach the age of 65, at the maximum.

If you were born in 1975 or later, and your spouse/partner died on or after 1 January 2022

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension for 10 years or at least until any child living with you turns 18.
  • You will, however, no longer be eligible for surviving spouse’s pension after you have reached the age of 65.

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s pension only if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You were at least 50 years old when your spouse/partner died.
  • You were under 50 years of age, and your spouse/partner was under 65 when you were married or entered into a registered partnership.
  • Your marriage or registered partnership lasted at least 5 years.

You are entitled to surviving spouse’s starting pension and possibly to continuing pension.

Basic or additional amount of the continuing pension?

If your income is small, you can get an additional amount to the continuing pension.  

If the above requirements are met and you have a child (either your own or your spouse’s/partner’s) under the age of 18 living with you, you can also get the basic amount of the continuing pension. An additional requirement is that the child was already living with you when your spouse/partner died. The basic amount is paid until the child turns 18 or moves out of your home at an age younger than 18.

For how long can you get surviving spouse’s pension?

If you were born before 1975

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension until you reach the age of 65, at the maximum.

If you were born in 1975 or later, and your spouse/partner died before 1 January 2022.

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension until you reach the age of 65.

If you were born in 1975 or later, and your spouse/partner died on or after 1 January 2022

  • You can get surviving spouse’s pension for 10 years or at least until any child living with you turns 18.
  • You will, however, no longer be eligible for surviving spouse’s pension after you have reached the age of 65.

Effect of other pensions on the surviving spouse’s pension

Kela will not pay you surviving spouse’s continuing pension if you are already being paid

You may, however, be eligible for a surviving spouse’s starting pension. If you receive national pension, Kela will pay starting pension at the amount exceeding the national pension.

Effects of residence abroad on the surviving spouse's pension

If you have lived abroad, you can get surviving spouse’s pension from Kela provided that you now live in Finland permanently.

All the following criteria must, however, be met:

  • Your deceased spouse/partner had lived in Finland for at least 3 years after having reached the age of 16.
  • Your spouse/partner was living in Finland at the time of his or her death.
  • You yourself have lived in Finland for at least 3 years after having reached the age of 16.
  • You are living in Finland or you have moved back to Finland within one year of the death of your spouse/partner.

You can also get surviving spouse’s pension from Kela, if you are living in an EU or EEA country, in Switzerland or in the UK.

You can also get a pension from abroad on the basis of an international agreement.

If you or your spouse/partner have lived abroad, you should check with Kela how your residence abroad affects your surviving spouse's pension.

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Last modified 9/10/2023

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