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Widow’s/Widower’s Benefit

Persons eligible for a Widow’s or Widower’s Benefit are:

  1. A spouse who has been married for at least three years and whose partner has died;

  2. A spouse who has been in a common-law union for at least 5 years and whose partner has died.

The following persons may also claim:

i. A single woman/man who was living with a single man/woman.

ii. A single woman/man who was living with a widower/widow

  1. A widow/widower who was living with a widower/widow

In order for the surviving spouse to qualify for this benefit, the deceased must have satisfied one of the following contribution conditions:

  • have paid a minimum of 156 weekly contributions with an annual average of at least 13, or

  • have been in receipt of a National Insurance Retirement or Invalidity Pension, in which case, the contribution conditions are deemed already met.

A full pension is payable if the annual average exceeds 38 contributions. Reduced pension rates are payable where the annual average falls between 13 and 38 contributions.

Qualifying Conditions to be met by Spouse

To be awarded a benefit the surviving spouse, in addition to the relevant contribution conditions listed earlier, must also satisfy at least one of the following conditions at the date of his/her partner’s death:

i. Must be 55 years and older in order to receive the benefit for life

ii. Must be under 55 years with a child under 18 years old, in which case the benefit is paid until child attains 18th birthday

iii. Must be permanently incapable of work because of a prescribed disease, or a mental or physical disability

iv. Be pregnant by her late husband or partner

If none of the above conditions has been satisfied, but the claimant and the deceased were married for at least 3 years or living together for at least 5 years, the benefit is then payable for one year only.

The following documents must accompany the application:

  1. Proof of Death e.g. Death Certificate, Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

  2. Marriage Certificate, in the case of a marital union

  3. Two letters from independent persons (non-family members) attesting to the common-law union, (in the case of a common-law union)

  4. Claimant’s Birth Certificate or Passport;

  5. Birth Certificate or Passport of the youngest child, of the deceased and spouse, under 18 years old

  6. Medical Certificate to prove pregnancy (in the case of a pregnancy);

  7. Pension Order Book(s), if any, belonging to the deceased if he/she was a pensioner

  8. NIS Registration Card (pink card) in respect of the deceased and the applicant

The pension will cease if the beneficiary remarries or enters into a new common-law union. However, he/she will receive a lump sum amounting to one year’s pension from the date of remarriage or new common-law union.

If he/she is under 55 years old, and without a child under 18 years old, he/she will be paid an amount calculated from the time of the new union to the end of that year.

Dual Rights for a Widow/Widower

A person may receive both a widow/widower’s benefit along with his/her own Old Age.

To download and print widow’s benefit claim form click here


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