Widow's pension: everything you need to know

Who can request it, what requirements must be met and how much the benefit amounts to, among other things

A widow's pension consists of the payment of a financial benefit to people who have been married to, or an unmarried registered partner of, the deceased person in question, provided both parties meet the established requirements.

As with other pensions, this type of pension is also intended to avoid a possible financial shortage brought about by an unexpected event. In this case, it is intended to provide a person with support following the death of their spouse.

Receiving a survivor's pension is not a difficult process for the recipient. In fact, they just have to fill out the form on the website of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and hand it in either online or at any of the Social Security Service and Information Centers (the survivor's pension falls under the responsibility of the National Social Security Institute, unless the spouse or registered partner who passed away was a maritime worker, in which case the body responsible for processing the application will be the Maritime Social Security Institute through its provincial offices).

However, while the procedure is not difficult, it is important to know the requirements that both parties must meet in order to apply for a widow's pension. This article will set out, among other things, all the conditions that the deceased person (giving rise to the pension), and their spouse or unmarried registered partner (the beneficiary of the pension), must meet.

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Characteristics of the deceased in order to give rise to the widow's pension

Not all those who pass away give rise to their spouse or unmarried registered partner having the right to receive a widow's pension. For this to be the case, those who pass away must meet one of the following characteristics at the time of their death:

  • Be registered, or in a situation equivalent to being registered, with the Social Security General Scheme, and have met the minimum contribution period required for each of the following cases:
    • If the death is caused by a common illness: 500 days within an uninterrupted five-year period immediately prior to the date of death.
    • If the death is due to an accident, whether occupational or otherwise, or an occupational disease: no minimum contribution period is required.
  • If, at the time of death, they are not registered or in a situation equivalent to registration with the Social Security Scheme: they will have paid contributions over the course of their lifetime for a minimum of 15 years.
  • If, at the time of death, they were recipients of the grant for temporary disability, risk during pregnancy, maternity, paternity or risk during the natural breastfeeding period: they will need to have met the minimum level of contributions established for each case.
  • Be beneficiaries of the retirement pension at the time of the death.
  • Be beneficiaries of the permanent disability pension at the time of the death.
  • Have stopped working with a right to the retirement pension in the contribution-based format and have deceased before requesting it.
  • Be workers who have disappeared in an accident, occupational or otherwise, in circumstances in which they are presumed dead or where there is no news of them for 90 days after the accident.
  • Be workers with the right to a total and permanent disability pension and who have chosen to receive the special indemnity for people under 60 years of age.

Requirements for the spouse in order to be a beneficiary of the widow's pension

In order to be considered a beneficiary of a widow's pension, spouses must prove certain specific requirements according to the specifics of their connection with the deceased:

  • If the death was caused by a common illness, the living spouse must prove whether any of the following requirements were met at the time of death:
    • Having children in common.
    • Having married at least one year prior to the death.
    • If, prior to the marriage, they were unmarried registered partners, no minimum marriage period will be required. provided that the sum of the period of cohabitation as unmarried registered partners and in marriage exceeds two years.
  • If they are legally separated or separated: spouses will be considered beneficiaries of the widow's pension provided that they have not remarried or registered with a new unmarried partner and that they are creditors of the separation or divorce compensatory pension.
    • Those who prove, by providing all the documents that are accepted, that they have been victims of domestic violence at the time of the legal separation or divorce, even if they are not creditors of the compensatory pension.
  • If the possible beneficiary had entered into a marriage declared null and void with the deceased and their right to compensation had been recognized, provided they have not remarried.
  • If they are the surviving unmarried registered partner, and they can prove that:
    • The death occurred on or after 01/01/2008.
    • They registered as unmarried partners at least two years prior to the death.
    • They lived together for an uninterrupted five-year period immediately prior to the death.

Amount to be received

Generally speaking, the financial benefit that is received for a widow's pension is 52% of the regulatory base that the deceased who has given rise to the pension would have been entitled to. This amount can be increased to 70% of the regulatory base in the event that:

• The pensioner has dependent relatives.

• The pension is the main or only source of income.

• The pensioner's annual income, from all forms of income appearing in their tax return, does not exceed the amount of €17,460.37.

Moreover, an increase in the amount of the widow's pension will soon be approved, rising from 52% of the regulatory base to 60% of the regulatory base. This measure was already set out in Act 27/2011 of August 1, but had not yet come into force. In order to benefit from this increase to 60%, the recipient must be at least 65 years old, not be a beneficiary of any other public pension, not have earned income or any other business income and must not have income exceeding the limit established at any given time for being a beneficiary of the minimum widow's pension.

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In the case of pensions triggered after 12/31/2015, a maternity supplement will be applied, consisting of an additional percentage added to the amount of the general widow's pension. For this, the beneficiary must be a mother of two children or more. In this case, the supplement is of 5% in the case of two children, 10% for three and 15% in the case of four or more children. It applies in the case of women who have had their own children or who have adopted.

Lastly, pensions which are for an amount below that of the minimum pension established by law may be supplemented up to these levels, provided that it is proven that the beneficiary has no other income and is resident in Spain.

A widow's pension is a mechanism to guarantee a person's financial solvency in the event of the death of their spouse. However, if you feel that the financial compensation will not be sufficient for your partner in the event of your death, or you are worried that they would not be considered a beneficiary of the pension, you might be interested in taking out a BBVA Life Insurance policy.

At bbva.es, you will find all the information on this secure product that can be tailored to all kinds of customer profiles and that will guarantee the payment of a benefit to your spouse or registered partner in the event of your death.

Your pension at BBVA

We offer very good conditions when it comes to paying in your pension with our Va Contigo Account. But if you want to bring it to BBVA from another bank, we can offer you our Removals service (to the one which can access from bbva.es or from BBVA's app), which is responsible for carrying out the entire process conveniently, quickly and at no cost to you. Visit BBVA.es to find out more.
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