The orphan’s pension is awarded to orphaned children and young people until they turn 18 or become emancipated. Find out about the values and conditions for attribution in 2023.
As if it wasn’t hard enough for a child to lose their parents, in most cases orphans also lose a source of income: who takes care of them when the adults are gone? What will they live on? It was with children left without financial support in mind that Social Security created the orphan’s pension.
This help, however, does not apply to all orphaned children and young people and obeys some rules that are important to know.
Orphan’s pension: who is entitled?
The orphan’s pension is a social support for children who have been orphaned and whose parents were not covered by any social protection scheme.
Support comes in the form of cash and is paid monthly until the child reaches the age of majority or emancipation.
It is not enough to be an orphan to be considered eligible for this support. First, Social Security only pays an orphan’s pension to citizens of Portuguese nationality residing in Portugal.
these citizens cannot be over 18 years old age nor can they be emancipated – that is, they have to be considered dependents.
Beneficiaries of the orphan’s pension also cannot perform paid activities and included in the mandatory social protection regime, under penalty of losing eligibility for this support. Likewise, the deceased parent could not be included in any social protection scheme.
Finally, and according to Social Securitya child may only be eligible for an orphan’s pension if you meet one of two requirements relating to income:
- Either you have a gross monthly income equal to or less than 192.17 euros (corresponding to 40% of the Social Support Index – IAS), provided that the monthly income of the household of which you are a part also does not exceed 720.65 euros (corresponding to 1.5 times the IAS);
- Or the household income of which the child is a part does not exceed 144.13 euros per person, per month (30% of the IAS) and the child is simultaneously at risk or in a situation of social dysfunction.
The orphan’s household
The household considered in the attribution of the orphan’s pension includes direct relatives (grandparents, surviving father / mother, stepfather / stepmother, children and grandchildren), but also collateral relatives up to the 3rd degree (brothers, uncles and nephews) who share room and board with the orphan.
How much is the orphan’s pension?
Beneficiaries of the orphan’s pension cannot combine this State aid with other similar support from other social protection schemes.
The value of the orphan’s pension is calculated based on the value of the social pension, which in 2023 is €224.24, and varies depending on the number of orphans in the household and depending on whether there is (or not) a spouse or ex -spouse of the deceased who is also entitled to a pension.
Thus, the calculation table is as follows:
|No. of orphans
|Is there a spouse or
|there is no spouse
(20% of social pension)
(40% of social pension)
(30% of social pension)
(60% of social pension)
|3 or more
(40% of social pension)
(80% of social pension)
How long is the orphan’s pension paid?
As long as the orphan does not reach the age of 18 or become emancipated – and as long as the means condition is maintained (that is, the household income within the limits mentioned above), he/she continuously receives the orphan’s pension.
Likewise, if any of these criteria are no longer met (if the orphan turns 18, becomes emancipated or if the household increases income), Social Security suspends the payment of support.
How to get orphan’s pension?
The process for applying for an orphan’s pension is the same as applying for widow’s pensions, because, in essence, they are all death benefits.
To get this support, you must submit an application to Social Security, delivering it at a counter of this service. The application form, however, can be achieved online, avoiding a double trip to the State services.
Don’t forget that you have six months, counting from the month following the death, to submit an application for the orphan’s pension. If you hand in the paper after this deadline, you will only start receiving support in the month following the one in which you submitted the application.
Fines provided for undue receipt
Social Security has sanctions for anyone who unduly receives an orphan’s pension. If the undue receipt results from a fraudulent communication, that is, if the statements that gave rise to the attribution of the benefit are proven to be false, the fine ranges from €74.82 to €249.40.
If, on the other hand, the undue receipt is due to the failure to communicate changes to the orphan’s situation (because he reaches the age of majority, because he becomes emancipated or because the household changes income), the fine is lighter, but still fluctuates between €49.88 and €174.58.
Article originally published in July 2019. Last updated in January 2023.