People with Granted Rights / Beneficiaries

Originators / requirements

  • People included in the General Scheme of the Social Security, who are affiliated and with active contributor or assimilated contributor status and who have completed the minimum required contribution period:
    • If death is due to a common disease:

      500 days within an uninterrupted period of 5 years immediately before the death or the date on which the obligation to pay contributions ended, if the originator is affiliated or has an assimilated contributor status and is not under the obligation to pay contributions.

      However, the requirement to pay contributions is eliminated for orphanhood benefits if when the originator died they were affiliated or had the status of assimilated contributor.

      In the case of workers with part time contracts,  in order to accredit the required contribution period, as from 04-08-2013,  the rules established in Royal Decree-law 11/2013, of 2 August, will be applied

      For workers included in the special System for domestic employees, from 2012 until 2018, the hours that have effectively been worked in the System will be determined in accordance with the contribution basis referred  to in transitional provision sixteen  of the LGSS, divided by the amount set for the minimum hourly basis of the General System by the LPGE for each one of those years. 
    • If death was caused by an accident, whether or not it was work-related, or by occupational disease, no previous contribution period is required.
    • Previous contribution periods are also not required for coverage of a death grant.
  • People who at the time of their death "were not" in an active contributor status or assimilated situation, will have the right to pensions as long as they contributed for a minimum of 15 years. Under no circumstances will a person be entitled to benefits for activities prior to 01-01-99.
  • People receiving benefits for temporary disability, risk during pregnancy, maternity, paternity or risk during breast feeding who fulfil the contribution period that may be set for that case.

  • Pensioners with permanent disability. The death of a person with absolute permanent disability or outstanding disability will be considered to be caused by work-related injury or occupational disease if either was the cause of the disability.
  • Workers who stopped working and had the right to collect a contributory retirement pension but died without requesting it.
  • Workers who disappear as a consequence of an accident, whether or not it was work-related, in circumstances in which death can be presumed, and those from which no news is received during the 90 calendar days following the accident. In this case, there is never any entitlement to a death grant.
  • Workers who are entitled to a total permanent disability pension, and opted for the special lump sum compensation for people under 60 years of age.

Recipients / requirements

In addition to the general requirements (affiliation, registration and contribution) required from the originator in each situation, in order to receive the widow's or widower's pension, the beneficiaries must prove other specific requirements in certain circumstances.

  • The surviving spouse, in the event of death arising from common disease prior to the marriage, must prove one of the following requirements:

    • That there are children in common.
    • That the marriage took place one year prior to the death. This duration of the marriage is not required when it can be proved that, on the date of the wedding, there had been a period of cohabitation in which the originator was a partner in a de facto couple which, when added to the duration of the marriage, exceeded two years.

If the spouse does not prove fulfilment of one of these requirements, they may access a temporary widow/widower's benefit, provided that they have met the rest of the compulsory requirements. 

  • Legally separated or divorced persons, as long as in the latter case they have not remarried or formed part of a common-law marriage, if they are entitled to the maintenance allowance described in |art. 97 of the Civil Code, and this terminated upon the death of the originator. As of 01/01/2010, if the amount of the widowhood pension is greater than the maintenance allowance, the former will be reduced to the amount of the latter.

To certify entitlement to the maintenance allowance, which determines entitlement to the widowhood pension in the case of legal separation and divorce, only the following shall be required:

  1. That the widowhood pension applicant, who is separated or divorced from the deceased, is named as the recipient of the maintenance allowance in the relevant court ruling.
  2. That this entitlement has not been terminated for one of the grounds set forth in article 101 of the Civil Code, or that, in relation to another comparable pension, it remains in force on the date of the originating event (this will be deemed to be certified by the applicant's declaration of responsibility).
  3. The maintenance allowance established in the ruling and the rules set forth in that ruling shall be taken into account for the purposes of the limitation set on the widowhood pension (the interested party may also make a statement in this regard by the declaration of responsibility, as there may be amendments to the amounts and the basis for updating it).

In any case, even where they are not entitled to the maintenance allowance, women will be entitled to the widowhood pension  when they can provide proof that they were victims of gender violence at the time of the legal separation or divorce by court ruling, or when the proceedings were dismissed due to annulment of criminal liability due to death; in the absence of a court ruling, through the protection order issued in their favour or report by the Public Prosecution Service stating that there is evidence of gender-based violence, as well as any other means of proof admissible by Law (applicable to deaths on or after 01/01/08).

When the legal separation or divorce precedes 01/01/2008, recognition of entitlement to the pension shall not be conditional on the divorced or legally separated person being entitled to the maintenance allowance, provided that:

  • A period of over 10 years has not passed between the date of divorce or legal separation and the death of the originator.
  • The marriage tie lasted for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Furthermore, one of the following conditions must be fulfilled: there are common children from the marriage; the beneficiary is aged over 50 on the originator's date of death.

The amount of the resulting pension will be calculated in accordance with the regulations in force prior to 01/01/2008 (entry into force of Law 40/2007, of 4 December).

The aforementioned provisions are also applicable to deaths occurring between 01/01/2008 and 31/12/2009, provided that the divorce or legal separation occurred prior to 01/01/2008. 

A divorced or legally separated individual who was responsible for paying the maintenance allowance will not receive the widow/widower's pension.

Effective 01/01/2013, individuals divorced or legally separated prior to 01/01/2008, who did not receive a maintenance allowance will also be entitled to the pension, even if they do not meet all the other requirements set out in temporary provision 18 (that no more than 10 years have elapsed between the date of divorce or separation and the death of the originator; that the marriage lasted at least 10 years, and that they have children in common) provided that:

  • They are aged 65 or over,
  • They are not entitled to any other public pension and
  • The marriage to the originator of the pension lasted at least 15 years.
  • A survivor whose marriage had been been annulled, who has been granted entitlement to compensation under the terms of |art.  98 of the Civil Code, as long as they have not remarried or formed a duly certified common law marriage.
  • The survivor of a common law marriage, as long as they prove:

    • That the death occurred after 01/01/08.
    • The registration of the de facto couple in one of the specific registries of the Autonomous Communities (AC) or Town Councils of the place of residence or the signing of a public record that certifies the establishment of this couple, in both cases, for a minimum of 2 years before the date of death of the originator.
    • Stable and patently obvious cohabitation at the time of death of the originator, for an uninterrupted period of no less than 5 years.
    • That, during the period of cohabitation, neither member of the couple was legally unable to enter into marriage or had a marital tie with another person.
    • That their income:
      • During the calendar year prior to the death, did not reach 50% of the amount of their own income plus the income of the originator in the same period, or 25%  in the event that there are no children in common with entitlement to an orphan's pension.
      • Or, alternatively, is less than 1.5 times the amount of the MW  in force at the time of death. This requirement must apply both at the time of the causal event and during receipt of benefits. The specified limit will increase by 0.5 times the amount of the MW in force for each child in common entitled to an orphan's pension and living with the survivor.

Earnings from work, capital gains and assets, according to the terms under which they are calculated for the recognition of the minimum pension supplements, will be considered as income.

Assimilated Contributor Situations

For the purposes of these benefits, assimilated contributor situations are:

  • The legal state of unemployment, full and subsidised, and involuntary unemployment upon completion of the contributory or welfare benefits, as long as the person remains registered as unemployed at the employment office.
  • The situation of the worker during the period corresponding to paid annual holidays that were not taken before the contract ended.
  • Forced leave.
  • The period of time the worker remains on leave to care for a child, fostered  minor or other family members that exceeds what is considered as the effective contribution period in article 237 of the LGSS.
  • Transfer of the employee by the company outside of Spain.
  • Periods of inactivity between seasonal jobs.
  • Prison terms served as a result of the cases outlined in the Amnesty Act 46/1977, of 15 October, under the terms governed by Law 18/1984, of 8 June.
  • The periods when aid is received for early retirement and before ordinary retirement.
  • A situation of temporary disability that continues after the contract has expired.
  • The situation of maternity or paternity that continues after the employment contract has ended or that starts while receiving unemployment benefits.
  • In the case of workers affected by toxic shock syndrome who, as a result, stopped their job or professional activity and have not been able to resume it, and had active contributor status in one of the Social Security schemes, the assimilated contributor status will be understood to be assimilated to the regime which applied to the worker until stopping work,  and for common contingencies.
  • The period that the employment contract is suspended due to the female worker's decision to leave their job as a result of being a victim of gender-based violence. 
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