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HomeFITNESSwhat are they and how do they work

what are they and how do they work

Death benefits combine allowances and pensions to which families who lose a loved one are entitled. Find out what they are and how to apply.

At death benefits they are intended to compensate for the loss of income resulting from the death of a person, as well as to cover expenses related to the funeral.

Sometimes, the deceased person is the main, if not the only, source of livelihood for the household, which can thus be in a situation of economic vulnerability.

Spouses, children and other relatives can apply for social benefits to compensate for the burden and loss of income caused by the death. Some of these death benefits are paid only once, others are granted on a continuous basis.

What death benefits are there?

The death of a person has not only an emotional but also a financial impact on their family members. Starting right away with the funeral expenses. Then there is still the loss of income, especially if it was the deceased who ensured the subsistence of the household.

To facilitate the reorganization of the family and help with the first expenses, Social Security grants one of three supports, depending on the circumstances: death grant, reimbursement of funeral expenses or funeral allowance.

To ensure that the household continues to have income, the survivor’s pension is awarded to the beneficiary’s family members. If the deceased has not contributed to Social Security, family members may be entitled to widowhood and orphan pensions, if they meet the necessary conditions.

death grant

The death subsidy is a cash benefit pay at once and is intended to compensate the family members of the deceased person for the increased costs resulting from his/her death, with the aim of helping to reorganize family life.

It is necessary, however, that the deceased was covered by the general Social Security system or had at least three years of discounts for the Voluntary Social Security system.

The death subsidy has an amount corresponding to 1,441.29 eurosequivalent to three times the Social Support Index (IAS) in 2023.

It is assigned to the following people:

  • Spouse, ex-spouse and person living in a non-marital relationship;
  • Descendants, including unborn (not yet born), adopted, and stepchildren;
  • Ascendants when there are no other family members with rights.

If there are no family members under the conditions described above, the death subsidy may be granted to other relatives, in-laws or equivalent of the beneficiary, in a straight line and up to the 3rd degree of the collateral line, including adoptees and strictly adopters.

Reimbursement of funeral expenses

When the deceased has no relative in a position to apply for the death subsidy, funeral expenses may be reimbursed to whoever can prove that he paid them. To do so, you will need to present the original invoice and receipt, which should include your name and that of the deceased beneficiary.

The amount receivable is that of proven expenses, up to the maximum limit of 1,441.29 euros (three times the IAS). Reimbursement only takes place if the person who died has deducted at least one month for social security.

funeral allowance

The funeral subsidy is paid to anyone who proves to have borne the costs of the funeral of a family member (or any other person resident in Portugal) who has never contributed to Social Security or to another mandatory social protection scheme.

There is a fixed amount of 219.96 euros and is paid only if none of the two previous installments has been awarded.

survivor’s pension

The survivor’s pension is intended to compensate for the loss of earnings from employment resulting from the death of a beneficiary. It is about a monthly cash payment pays to the beneficiary’s family members:

  • Spouse, ex-spouse and person living in a non-marital relationship;
  • Descendants, including unborn, adopted and stepchildren;
  • Ascendants when there are no other family members with rights;
  • In the absence of the previous ones, to other relatives in a direct line and up to the 3rd degree of the collateral line.

But for family members to be entitled to a pension, the deceased must have paid at least three years for Social Security or six years for the Voluntary Social Security regime.

THE amount of survivor’s pension is variable and corresponds to a percentage of the old-age (or disability) pension that the beneficiary received or would be entitled to receive based on the discounts made.

For the percentages that apply, see the following article.


See too
Old-age pension: find out when and how to claim your pension

orphan’s pension

The orphan’s pension is intended for the orphans of a person not covered by any social protection scheme. IT IS paid monthly to children and young people until they reach the age of majority or become emancipated. In the case of orphans with a disability, the pension is for life.

The amount of the orphan’s pension is calculated on the basis of a percentage of the amount of the social pensionwhich varies depending on the number of orphans and whether or not there is a spouse or ex-spouse entitled to a pension.

For more details on access amounts and conditions, see the following article.

orphan's pension

See too
Orphan’s pension: who is entitled and what is the amount?

widow’s pension

The widow’s pension is awarded if the person who died receives the social pension. IT IS monthly pay to the widower or to the person living in a de facto union with the deceased pensioner.

The amount of the widow’s pension corresponds to 60% of the amount of the social pension in 2023, which this year is 224.24 euros. That is, the beneficiary receives 134.54 euros.

old-age social pension

See too
Social old-age pension: how much and how can you receive it?

How to apply for these benefits?

To access these death benefits, you must apply for them by completing the following forms, depending on the case:

These forms are also available at social security website.

There is no cost to apply for death benefits and can be done at a Social Security service counter, at Loja do Cidadão or at Espaços Cidadão that provide the service.

Article originally published in July 2019. Last updated in January 2023.

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