The widow’s pension is awarded to spouses of deceased social pensioners. Find out the values of this benefit and how you can apply for it.
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Losing the partner of a lifetime is, in itself, a difficult situation. In addition to the emotional loss, the death of one of the spouses often means the loss of the source of income that supported the house. To minimize this financial impact there is the widow’s pension assigned to the member of the surviving couple.
The widow’s pension is a monthly cash benefit awarded to the widower or person living in a de facto union with the social pension pensioner due to disability or old age.
This support from the State serves to help support the widower. However, like all social support, there are specific conditions to enjoy this benefit.
Who can claim the widow’s pension?
If you are married or live in de facto union with the deceased social pension pensionerthe widower may apply for the widow’s pension if:
- Have Portuguese nationality or are in conditions of equal treatment with Portuguese citizens;
- Reside in Portuguese territory;
- Not benefiting from any pension in their own right;
- Do not have a gross monthly income of more than €192.17 (corresponds to 40% of the value of the Social Support Index – IASwhich in 2023 is €480.43).
But how much does a beneficiary of the widow’s pension receive? The assigned value is €134.54 (60% of the social pension which this year is €224.24).
How to claim widow’s pension?
The widow’s pension can be requested from the Social Security (SS) services within a period of six months from the month following the death of the pensioner. If you do so within that period, you are entitled to receive it from the month following the death.
However, if this deadline is exceeded, the installment will only be paid from the month following the submission of the application. The Social Security response is sent within a maximum period of 90 days (three months).
Another important note regarding deadlines is that, if you wait too long, you may lose your right to the subsidy, since from 5 years after the death you can no longer claim the widow’s pension.
The application for the widow’s pension can be made at a Social Security service or online at the site of this service. The widower must present the application Model RP5018-DGSS.
This document can be obtained from site of Social Securityin the right-hand column under “Forms” or directly at an SS counter.
The applicant will have to submit the following documents:
- Valid identification document (citizen card or identity card, civil registration certificate, birth certificate, passport);
- Tax identification card (without which the pension cannot be paid);
- Registration card of the widow/widow in any other social protection system in which he/she is registered, national or foreign;
- Narrative birth certificate of the deceased person with the death recorded duly certified (for Social Security purposes);
- Document proving legal residence in Portugal, if you are a foreigner;
- Evidence of the widow/widow’s assets indicated on the form (for example, property booklet if there are properties);
- Proof of the NIB/IBAN (where the name of the account holder appears), for payment by bank transfer.
There are people who are widowed, but who already receive social support. However, this is not necessarily an exclusion factor. The widow’s pension can accumulate with:
- Solidarity Supplement for the Elderly: for people aged equal to or older than the normal age of access to the old-age pension of the general social security system with low resources;
- Supplement for Dependency: if you are in a situation of dependency and need the help of another person to meet the basic needs of everyday life (personal hygiene, food or moving around alone).
How long does the widow’s pension last?
If the widower does not have an income of more than €192.17, he/she can benefit from the widow’s pension until the end of his/her life.
However, this only happens as long as you are not entitled, per se, to any pension and you are not entitled to another non-contributory pension that, added to this, exceeds the limit of the minimum pension of the general regime.
If this happens, the beneficiary has the duty to communicate, within one month, the change in their conditions to Social Security. The same should be done if there is a change of address or if you move in with someone or get married again.
There are specific situations that lead to the cut of the widow’s pension. Synthesizing, the interruption and cessation of this benefit happens when:
- The income of the widow or widower exceeds €191.17 (except in cases of accumulation with the social old-age pension or social disability pension, since in these circumstances it can accumulate up to the limit of the minimum pension of the general regime);
- The widow or widower is entitled to another pension under the general scheme;
- The widow or widower becomes entitled to another pension from the non-contributory regime whose value exceeds the limit of the minimum pension of the general regime;
- The widower or widower marries or starts living in a de facto union;
- The widower or widower dies.
Note that, if you make false statements to obtain, improperly, the widow’s pension, you may be subject to fines.
Article originally published in July 2019. Last updated in January 2023.