Widow's pension: 11 facts you should definitely knowLittle widow's pension, big widow's pension, death quarter, application& Height – we have compiled the most important facts about the widow's pension for you.
The death of a partner is a heavy emotional blow. Even if nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, at least the widow's pension or widower's pension should be a help during the difficult time and secure the livelihood. We have the 11 most important facts about the widow's pension. Widower's pension compiled for you. Since the same rules apply to the widow's pension and the widower's pension, this article will only refer to the widow's pension for the sake of simplicity. This refers to both pensions due to death.
Unfortunately, the topic of widow's pensions is very complex. Before you can find out about the amount, entitlement and term of the widow's pension, you must first check whether the widow's pension applies to you under the old or the new law.
You will receive Widow's pension under the old law, if
– Your spouse died before 1. died on January 1, 2002, or
– Your spouse after the age of 31. December 2001, but you were born before 1 January 1962. You must have married before January 2002 and one of the spouses must have died before 2 January 2002. was born on January 1962.
You receive Widow's pension according to the new law, if
– You will receive your spouse's pension after the age of 31. You married on or before December 2001; or
– you married earlier, but both spouses married after the age of 1. January 1962.
1.) you are entitled to a widow's pension
First of all, let's clarify the most important question: who is entitled to a widow's or widower's pension?? The widow's pension is paid if the deceased spouse was insured in the pension insurance for at least five years – this is the so-called minimum insurance period -, your partner has fulfilled the waiting period early or has already received a pension. In addition, you must have been married to your spouse until his or her death. It does not matter whether you live together or separately. In addition, the marriage must usually have existed for at least one year. However, if the marriage is legally divorced, declared null and void, annulled or you were only engaged, you will unfortunately be left empty-handed.
By the way:
If registered partners meet the same requirements, they are also entitled to a widow's pension. Accordingly, all the explanations in this text also apply to registered civil partnerships.
2.) Apply for a widow's pension
You must apply for a survivor's pension such as the widow's pension. An application works as follows: Fill out forms and either mail them to Deutsche Rentenversicherung or drop them off at one of Deutsche Rentenversicherung's local counseling centers. The application forms can be downloaded from the website of the German Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung).
3.) Amount of the widow's pension
The amount of the widow's pension depends on whether you are entitled to the small or the large widow's pension. Basically, it can be said: With the small widow's pension you get less money than with the large one. More about this in a moment.
4.) The quarter year of death
To ease the transition to your changed financial situation, you will receive the widow's pension in the full amount of the insured person's pension for the three calendar months following the month in which you died. These three months are also called the "quarter year of death". During this time, your own income is not taken into account either.
5.) The small widow's pension
First, let's clarify the question of who gets the small widow's pension. The requirements are:
– You have the 47. You have not yet reached the age of 65.
– You are not incapacitated for work.
– You are not raising a child.
Now to the amount of the small widow's pension. The German pension insurance first checks what pension entitlement your deceased spouse would have had at the time of death. You will then receive 25 percent of this as a small widow's pension. However, if your spouse is unfortunately already before the age of 65. If you die before your 60th birthday, you must expect a deduction.
It is also important to know: The small widow's pension is limited to 24 calendar months after the death of your spouse, so you can only count on this money for two years. Except for you, the old legislation still applies. Then you will receive the small widow's pension without any time limit.
6.) The large widow's pension
There are also requirements that you must meet for the large widow's pension:
– You have reached the age of 47. Age completed
– or you are incapacitated for work
– or you are entitled to a training allowance under the law that has been in force since 31. If you become incapacitated or unable to work as a result of the law in force on December 2000
– or you are raising your own child or a child of the deceased who is under 18 years of age.
The amount of the large widow's pension is also determined by the pension entitlement your deceased spouse would have had or the amount of the pension he or she was already receiving. You will receive 55 percent of the insured person's pension as a large widow's pension. Here too, if your spouse dies before the age of 65, the pension will be reduced. If you reach the age of 62, the widow's pension is reduced by a discount.
By the way:
There are special rules for widowers, rules for the case of several beneficiaries or a child supplement. The German pension insurance has put together a brochure with all the information about the widow's pension for your perusal.
7.) The pension deduction
As mentioned earlier, if your spouse dies before the 65th. If the deceased dies before his 62nd birthday. The amount of the deduction depends on your age:
– If the widow's pension starts before the deceased's 62. If the widow's pension starts before the deceased's 62nd birthday, you must expect a reduction of 10.8 percent.
– If the start of the widow's pension is between the age of 62 and retirement age, the pension will be reduced by up to 40 percent. and 65. If your spouse dies before the deceased's 65th birthday, the reduction is 0.3 percent for each month before 65. Birthday.
8.) Income is offset against the widow's pension
You have other income in addition to the survivor's pension, such as a private pension? This income will be deducted from your widow's pension above an allowance of up to 40 percent.
The allowance will be payable from 1. July 2021 until 30. June 2022 at 883.61 euros in the east and at 902.62 euros in the west. It is usually increased annually.
The pension insurance calculates the net income from your gross earnings. Only if the net income exceeds the allowance, 40 percent of the remaining net income is credited to the pension.
When it comes to the deduction, it ultimately depends on the exact income involved. If you receive a salary, 40 percent will be deducted from your widow's pension. If you have rental income, 25 percent is generally deducted from it. In addition, there is income that is not taken into account, such as unemployment benefit II. So it depends on your individual situation.
By the way:
The widow's pension is a so-called derived pension entitlement. This means that the widow's pension will not be paid from your own insurance entitlement, but from the deceased's insurance policy. This has one consequence: If, for example, you receive an old-age pension from your own insurance company in addition to the widow's pension, this pension counts as income and is offset against the survivor's pension.
9.) Remarriage: pension payment ends
Both the small and large widow's pensions end if you remarry. And always with the end of the calendar month in which you marry. So get married on 10. April, the widow's pension ends on 30. April.
However, in case of remarriage, there is a possibility of a so-called pension settlement. This is worthwhile: In the case of the large widow's pension, the pension settlement amounts to two annual amounts of the widow's pension that you received on average in the last twelve calendar months. The decisive factor for the calculation is the pension amount after income imputation, but before the possible deduction of contributions to health and long-term care insurance. The quarter year of death is not taken into account in the calculation. Sounds complicated? An example provides clarity.
Widow Marie has been receiving the large widow's pension since May 2017. She remarries in July 2021, so your widow's pension ends on 31. July 2021. She applies for a pension settlement. The period from 1 July 2021 is therefore taken into account when calculating the pension settlement. August 2020 until 31. July 2021 is decisive. During this period, Marie received an average widow's pension of 500 euros after your income was taken into account. She gets 24 times the average pension, which is 12.000 Euro pension settlement.
Attention: in case of the small widow's pension the severance pay is lower, because it is paid only for 24 months anyway. In this case, you will only be paid the remaining amount, i.e. the outstanding monthly pensions.
10.) Pension splitting – alternative to widow's pension
As an alternative to the widow's pension, spouses can opt for so-called pension splitting. In pension splitting, pension entitlements from the marriage period are divided equally among each other. This is especially worthwhile for the partner who has lower pension entitlements. But: If you have opted for pension splitting, there is no way back to the widow's pension.
Before you decide between widow's pension and pension splitting, you need to take a look into the crystal ball: Which spouse will be the survivor? What does the income ratio look like then? The German Pension Insurance can show you on the basis of trial calculations how much your retirement pension can be after pension splitting and how much your widow's pension can be. There you can also apply for pension splitting.
You can find all the requirements for pension splitting and much more information in the brochure "Pension splitting – sharing in partnership" published by the German Pension Insurance Fund.
11.) Widow pension and tax return
From a tax point of view, the same rules apply to the widow's pension as to a regular old-age pension: pensioners benefit from a pension allowance, so part of the pension remains tax-free. The year of retirement determines the amount of the pension allowance. For detailed information on the pension allowance, tax rates for pensioners and when you have to file a tax return, see our article When do I have to pay taxes as a pensioner?
You see: The topic of widow's pensions is incredibly complex; it depends heavily on the individual case. That's why this article can only give you an initial overview. Has no claim to completeness. If you have any questions or uncertainties about the widow's pension, the German Pension Insurance is the right partner for you. If you have problems with your tax return, our advisors will be happy to help you at any time. Find a counseling center near you here: Counselor search.