In the event of the death of an insured professionally active person or a recipient of a personal pension, their spouse or legal partner may be entitled to a survivor's pension.
The survivor's pension is not granted automatically. The person concerned must submit an application.
Who is concerned
Provided the eligibility conditions are fulfilled:
- the spouse or partner;
- the divorced spouse or former partner;
- relatives by blood or marriage in the direct line of descent and relatives in a collateral line up to the 2nd degree, if the insured person dies without leaving a surviving spouse or partner;
- the insured person's children.
There are 2 possible scenarios:
- the deceased insured person was the recipient of a personal pension: no qualifying period is required;
- the insured person dies while actively employed: the right to a survivor's pension only exists if the deceased was affiliated to the pension insurance scheme for at least 12 months during the 3 years preceding their death.
No preconditions related to the duration of affiliation are required if the death is attributable to an accident or to an occupational illness which occurred during the affiliation.
Conditions for allocation of the survivor's pension
Spouses / partners
In the event of the death of the insured person, the surviving spouse or legally recognised partner may claim the survivor's pension, provided that:
- the marriage or civil partnership existed at least one year at the time of death or after the retirement of the insured person due to disability or old age;
- the insured person was not the recipient of a disability or old-age pension at the time of the marriage or civil partnership.
However, these rules do not apply if at least one of the following conditions is met:
- the death of the active insured person or their retirement due to disability is the direct result of an accident that occurred after the marriage or civil partnership;
- there is a child born or conceived during the marriage or civil partnership or a child legitimated by the marriage;
- the marriage or civil partnership lasted more than one year and the age difference between the spouses or partners is less than 15 years;
- the marriage or civil partnership lasted at least 10 years.
Divorced spouses or former partners
Divorced spouses are entitled to a survivor's pension provided that they have not remarried or entered into a civil partnership before the death of their former spouse.
The survivor's pension for a divorced spouse is calculated on the basis of the periods of insurance completed by the deceased insured person during the marriage in relation to the total duration of the insurance periods taken into account.
If there are one or several divorced spouses concerned, the survivor's pension is divided proportionally to the duration of the various marriages.
The same rules apply to civil partnerships.
Relatives by blood or marriage
If an insured person dies and has no surviving spouse or partner, the rights to the survivor's pension go to:
- relatives by blood and marriage in the direct line of descent (children, grandchildren, parents and the spouses or partners of such persons);
- relatives by blood in the collateral line up to the 2nd degree inclusive (brother and sister);
- adopted children who were minors at the time of adoption.
In order to qualify for the survivor's pension, relatives by blood or marriage must satisfy all the following conditions:
- the person must be widowed, divorced, legally separated, a former partner or single;
- the person must have lived in a domestic community with the insured person or pension recipient for at least 5 years prior to their death;
- the person must have been part of their household during the same period;
- the insured person or pension recipient must have been the person's main financial supporter during that period;
- the person must be over 40 years of age at the time of the death of the insured person or pension recipient.
The orphan’s pension
After the death of the father or the mother, legitimate children are entitled to a survivor's pension pursuant to the same qualifying periods as those applicable for the spouse's or partner's survivor's pension.
This survivor's pension is called an orphan's pension.
How to proceed
Submitting the application
Survivor's pensions can only be granted if formally applied for by those concerned, even in the event of the death of a pension recipient.
You must, as a principle, submit the application in your country of residence.
Exceptions to this principle may apply, depending on the place where the deceased insured person was last affiliated:
- the deceased was last affiliated in Luxembourg:
- you can submit your application to the CNAP, regardless of your place of residence;
- if the deceased worked in several countries, the CNAP will submit the pension applications to the pension bodies abroad;
- the deceased was last affiliated outside Luxembourg:
- you must submit your application:
- either in your country of residence;
- or in the country the deceased last worked;
- the body abroad will then have to contact all the other countries in which the deceased worked.
- you must submit your application:
General considerations where several countries are involved:
- all the steps to be taken are conditional on Luxembourg having a bilateral or multilateral agreement with the foreign country or countries concerned;
- the competent insurance body of a Member State of the European Union contacts the pension body of each country in which the deceased paid contributions;
- you will receive from each country a pension proportional to the length of affiliation of the deceased, provided the conditions for allocation are met in accordance with the country's applicable legislation.
The same principle applies in respect of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and the third-party countries with which Luxembourg has concluded agreements.
You must also enclose with your application:
- a bank account identification document;
- a death certificate of the insured person;
- a marriage/civil partnership certificate issued after the death of the insured person.
Application processing time
The time taken to process a pension application will depend on the availability and the soundness of the required data. It may range from:
- a few weeks; to
- several months, if information needs to be obtained from abroad.
As soon as entitlement to the pension has been established, the CNAP initiates payments to the beneficiary in the form of advances. However, such payments are provisional until the final pension is calculated.
When the review is completed, the pension is either approved or rejected in a decision which may be appealed.
Calculation of pension, accumulation and purchase
Amount of pension
The survivor's pension is calculated on the basis of the components of the personal pension to which the deceased was entitled or would have been entitled. Thus, the basis for determining the amount of the survivor's pension is always the insurance history of the deceased.
The survivor's pension comprises:
- 100 % of flat-rate allowances/special flat-rate allowances ('Length of contribution' component);
- 75 % of proportional allowances/special proportional allowances ('Contributions paid' component);
to which the deceased was or would have been entitled as well as the full year-end allowance to which the deceased was or would have been entitled.
Survivor's pensions are indexed to changes in the cost of living and re-adjusted to reflect changes in wage levels.
Survivor's pension and personal income
If the beneficiary of a survivor's pension has personal income (professional income, replacement income, personal pensions or annuities), the survivor's pension is subject to anti-accumulation rules and may be reduced.
You can find further explanations on the website of the CNAP: Overlapping of the survivor's pension with personal income.
Overlapping of several survivor's pensions
The cumulated amount of the pensions paid to the survivors of an insured person may not exceed:
- either the amount of the pension which would have been due to the deceased insured person;
- or, if this method of calculation is more favourable, the average of the 5 highest annual wages during the deceased's insurance history, without this average being less than 1.2 times the reference amount.
If all survivor's pensions combined exceed this limit, they are reduced on a proportional basis.
Payment and termination of the entitlement to a survivor's pension
Start of the survivor's pension
If the insured person dies while actively employed, the survivor's pension starts on the date of death.
If the deceased was the recipient of a disability or old-age pension, the survivor's pension will commence on the first day of the month following the death.
Pensions are paid monthly and in advance.
Payment of the spouse's / partner's survivor's pension stops as from the month following a new marriage or civil partnership (see 'Purchase and reinstatement of rights to a survivor's pension').
3-month goodwill period in the event of survivor's pensions
If the deceased person was the recipient of a personal pension at the time of death, the pensions of the survivors who lived in the same household as the deceased or were dependent upon the deceased, are supplemented during the first 3 months following the death up to the pension amount received by the deceased.
3-month goodwill period in the event of death during active employment
In the event of the death of the insured person during active employment, the beneficiaries of the survivor's pension may request the following from the deceased's employer:
- payment of the salary for the month during which the death occurred; and
- an allowance amounting to 3 months' salary.
The amount of the survivor's pension due for the month of death and the 3 subsequent months is withheld by the CNAP and paid to the employer as compensation up to the amount advanced by the employer.
After expiry of the 3-month goodwill period, the survivor's pension is paid to the beneficiaries.
Purchase and reinstatement of rights to a survivor's pension
If you remarry or enter into a new civil partnership, payment of the survivor's pension is stopped from the month following the new union.
In this event, the law provides for a settlement regarding the survivor's pension under the following conditions:
- if the new marriage or civil partnership is entered into before the age of 50, the person concerned will receive a settlement equal to 5 times the amount paid over the previous 12 months;
- if the new marriage or civil partnership is entered into after the age of 50, the rate is reduced by 3 times the aforementioned amount.
If the new marriage or civil partnership is dissolved, either by divorce or termination of the partnership, or by the death of the spouse or civil partner, the right to a survivor's pension is reinstated after 5 or 3 years respectively after the new marriage or partnership.
Forms / Online services
Who to contact
National Pension Insurance Fund1A, boulevard Prince Henri
Postal address :
Opening hours : Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 15.30Phone : (+352) 22 41 41-1Fax : (+352) 22 41 41-6443from 8.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 16.00 / Contact form: http://www.cnap.lu/accueil-mail/