Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Survivors’ pension

In what situation can I claim?

The spouses, children and parents of the deceased are entitled to a one-off benefit in the event of death of an insured family member. This one-off payment may be claimed within a period of 3 years from the first day of January following the year of death.

In the event of death of an insured person or pensioner, their family is entitled to part of their pension. It may be the same pension as that received when the person was alive, or that which the deceased person would have received. This is called a survivors’ pension. The following family members are entitled to a survivors’ pension: the children, husband or wife and parents of the deceased person.

The supplement from a pension or pensions payable to a living spouse is different from a survivors’ pension. This supplement cannot be received at the same time as a survivors’ pension.

What conditions do I need to meet?

A one-off benefit in the case of death is payable to the family of a deceased person who was insured at the date of death, regardless of the risks against which they were insured. The spouses, children and parents are entitled to a one-off benefit. They can receive a one-off benefit regardless of whether they are pensioners, school pupils, students or at work. Whether they are insured is immaterial. The parents of the deceased person are entitled to this benefit whether they were supported by them or not.

Survivors’ pensions are granted to the children, parents or spouse of the deceased person.

Children are entitled to this pension:

  • until they reach the age of 18 years;
  • if they are students: until the age of 26 years;
  • if they are disabled before they reach 18 years of age (or 26 if they are students) - they retain their entitlement to a survivors’ pension;
  • if they were born in wedlock, adopted or born out of wedlock.

Children must provide certification that they are studying at the beginning of each school year. This certificate is issued by their educational establishment. You are entitled to a pension whether you study in Bulgaria or abroad. If you have to interrupt your studies due to illness, pregnancy or care for a small child, you retain your pension entitlement if you comply with the rules of the relevant educational establishment. The pension will be paid for a total of 2 years of interrupted education.

Spouses are entitled to a survivors’ pension 5 years earlier than the required age for a social insurance period and old age pension. If the surviving spouse is unable to work, the survivors’ pension is paid regardless of their age.

The parents of the deceased person are entitled to a survivors’ pension if they have reached pensionable age, but do not receive the pension. If the person has died during compulsory military service, the parents are entitled to a survivors’ pension regardless of their age, along with their personal pension.

Compulsory military service was abolished in Bulgaria in 2008.

A supplement from the pension or pension of a deceased spouse is payable to pensioners who are spouses of the deceased person and is referred to as a bereavement supplement. The supplement amounts to 26.5% of the pension or total sum of pensions received by the deceased spouse.

If the deceased person does not receive a pension, the supplement is calculated on the basis of the pensions which they would have received if they had been alive.

You are not entitled to this supplement if you receive a survivors’ pension.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

One-off benefit in the case of death 

A one-off benefit in the case of death is established in the budget each year. For 2018 this supplement is BGN 540. The amount is divided equally between everyone who is entitled to receive it: spouse, children and parents.

Survivors’ pension

A survivors’ pension is a percentage of the personal pension payable to the deceased person. This percentage is calculated according to the number of heirs entitled to this pension:

  • one heir: 50%;
  • two heirs: 75%;
  • three or more heirs: 100%.

The survivors’ pension is paid in total to all persons entitled to it and is divided equally amongst them. The minimum amount of the survivors’ pension cannot be lower than 85% of the minimum amount of the pension for periods of insurance and old age.

If both parents or adoptive parents are deceased, their children are entitled to a survivors’ pension calculated on the basis of the total sum of the pensions of the deceased person.

Supplement from the pension or pensions of a deceased spouse

A pensioner is entitled to a supplement from the pension or total sum of pensions which the deceased spouse received. This is established at 26.5% of the pension/s. For example, if your deceased spouse received a pension of BGN 500, the supplement to your pension will be BGN 132.5.

If the supplement exceeds the survivors’ pension, you receive the supplement and not the pension.

The conditions under which you can receive more than one pension can be found on the National Social Security Institute website.

Jargon busters

  • NSSI: National Social Security Institute.

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below. These are not European Commission pages and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

National Social Security Institute

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