Who is concerned
The following are deemed to be legitimate children:
- legitimised children;
- adopted children;
- natural children;
- children who have lost their father and/or mother, provided that the insured or the beneficiary of the pension had been responsible for their upbringing and education for the 10 months preceding the death, and that the children are not entitled to any other orphan's pension in respect of their parents.
Obtaining an orphan's pension is linked to the same conditions that apply for all other survivor's pensions, namely:
- if the deceased (insured) was in receipt of a disability or old-age pension, entitlement to the orphan's pension is automatic; no other conditions need to be satisfied;
- if the insured died while actively employed: entitlement to a survivor's pension is only available if the insured had at least 12 months of compulsory, continuous, voluntary or optional insurance for the 3 years preceding their death.
The orphan’s pension stops:
- at the age of 18;
- at the latest, when orphans turn 27, if they are unable to earn a living as a result of continuing with their studies;
- when the beneficiary dies;
- when the orphan get married, or enter into a civil partnership, unless they are still studying;
- if the orphan is in receipt of a disability pension.
How to proceed
Submitting the application
Pensions are only granted to interested parties upon formal application. The application form is available from the National Pension Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale d'assurance pension - CNAP) and health insurance funds, local authorities and trade unions.
If the deceased insured had contributed to several funds during their professional career, the application should be submitted to the insurance fund that they were last enrolled with.
Beneficiaries must submit the following together with their applications:
- a blank bank wire transfer form, or a bank account identification document;
- the insured's death certificate (to be collected from the commune where the death occurred);
- a copy of their marital status certificate (to be collected from the commune of residence);
- their birth certificate (to be collected from the commune of birth);
- a school attendance certificate or copy of the apprenticeship contract for each child aged between 18 and 27 years old;
- a copy of the guardianship deed for orphans who are minors;
Specific features of the orphan's pension
The orphan's pension is a pension that is derived from the pension that would have been owing to the insured had they survived. It is always calculated on the basis of the the insured's contributions history (in this case, that of the deceased parent, whether working in the public or private sector). The pension is indexed to changes in the cost of living and adjusted to reflect changes in wage levels.
For children who have lost both their father and mother, the pension amount is double the amount mentioned above. If the orphan is entitled to a double pension, for both their father and their mother, only the highest pension is doubled.
If need be, a supplement to the minimum pension, in the amount of 25 % of the latter, is granted to the orphan.
When orphan’s pensions overlap with accident survivor benefits, the law provides for the application of anti-overlap provisions, such that the pension, when combined with the accident benefit, is reduced by the amount that exceeds:
- either 3/4 of the average of the 5 highest annual salaries, wages or other earnings in the deceased's contributions history, in the case of a child who has lost both their father and mother;
- or 1/3 of this same ceiling, if the child has lost either their father or their mother.
On the other hand, it is possible for the pension to overlap with family allowances.
Payment of the orphan's pension
Survivor's pensions are paid monthly in advance. They cease to be paid at the end of the month in which the beneficiary dies.
Any overpayments made in the months following the death must be repaid.
Whilst children are still minors, orphan’s pensions are received by their guardians.
Once the conditions of allocation have been reviewed, pensions are either approved or denied by a decision that is open to appeal.
Tax treatment of the orphan's pension
The orphan's pension paid in accordance with the social security legislation is not subject to tax.
However, an orphan’s pension paid by a private insurance or similar is subject to tax.
Means of appeal
If a decision is disputed, appeals may be lodged as follows:
- orphans can challenge, in writing, the decision of the president, or deputy president, of the relevant fund. The management committee is then tasked with issuing a new decision;
- the management committee's decision may be appealed before the Council of Arbitration of Social Security (Conseil arbitral de la Sécurité sociale – CASS);
- appeals against the judgement of the Council of Arbitration may be brought before the High Council of Social Security (Conseil supérieur de la sécurité sociale) in Luxembourg City.
Beyond that timeframe, appeals will be considered inadmissible, and the decision becomes final with force of "res judicata".