This section describes the benefits you may be entitled to in the event of the death of a working family member or one receiving a retirement pension or disability pension. The funeral benefit to help cover funeral costs of the relative is also described.
The benefits described are:
- survivor's pension (renta rodzinna)
- funeral allowance (zasiłek pogrzebowy)
Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?
Survivor's pension is granted to family members of the deceased person, who at the time of death had a right to a retirement pension or disability pension or met the conditions to obtain one of those pensions (e.g. they paid contributions into a pension scheme for a sufficient amount of time. For specific conditions read the "Retirement Pensions" and "Disability pensions"). Family members of the deceased will also receive a pension if the deceased received an early retirement pension or pre-retirement benefit.
A funeral allowance is provided to a person who has covered the costs of a funeral. Each institution is also entitled to this benefit if it has covered the costs of a funeral. This can therefore be the employer, social welfare home, municipality, district, etc.
The funeral allowance is a one-off payment.
What conditions need to be met?
The following may apply for a survivor's pension:
- children (one's own, spouse's children, adopted) meeting one of the following criteria:
- until they reach the age of 16 or 25 y if the child is in education (if the child reaches the age of 25 while being a final year student at tertiary education institute, the right to the pension is prolonged till the end of the year of study);
- irrespective of age if they had become completely incapable of work before reaching the age of 16 or 25 if in education.
- nieces and nephews, siblings and other children taken in and raised until they reach the age of majority: provided that they meet the requirements set out above and have been taken in at least a year before the death of the insured person (either retirement pensioner or person on other pensions);
- widow (or widower) who meets one of the following conditions:
- at the time of death of the husband (wife) the spouse is aged 50 or is unable to work;
- irrespective of age but bringing up at least one child, grandchild or relative entitled to a survivor’s pension after the death of the person, the child being below 16 old and if it still in education below 18, irrespective of age but the spouse is providing care to a child unable to work;
- divorced spouses: if they had the right to alimony from the deceased and meet one of the conditions for widows and widowers;
- parents of the deceased: if they meet the conditions for widows, or if their deceased child made a substantial contribution towards supporting them.
Children do not lose the right to a survivor's pension if they remarry, as is the case for a widow and widower.
Funeral allowance is payable in the event of the death of:
- the insured person;
- a person receiving a retirement or other pension;
- a family member of the insured person, old-age pensioner or people on other pensions.
What am I entitled to and how do I apply?
When assessing the right to a pension it is accepted that the deceased person was completely incapable of working. The pension amount is therefore calculated on this basis and then, the amount of the survivor's pension is calculated according to the following criteria:
for one eligible person
85% of the benefits that the deceased would have received
for two eligible persons
90% of the benefits that the deceased would have received
for three or more eligible persons
95% of the benefits that the deceased would have received
Grounds for awarding pensions for complete incapacity to work can be found under "Disability pensions».
Every family member entitled is granted a joint survivor’s pension which, if need be, is split into equal parts among those who are entitled to it.
The pension which would have been granted to the deceased person (that is, the amount based on which the survivor's pension is calculated), cannot be lower than the minimum pension.
Minimum pension (figures valid from 1 March 2019)
PLN 1,100 per month
The decision to grant the survivor's pension is undertaken by the local pension body - the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS).
To claim the pension an application must be made.
The decision will be made within 30 days of the moment when the final condition required to grant the right to the pension has been met. It is possible for the applicant to appeal the pension body's decision.
The funeral allowance is a one-off payment.
Amount of funeral benefit
The application must be made no later than 12 months after the death of the person to whom the allowance relates. After this period the right to this allowance becomes invalid.
Funeral allowances are paid out by branch of the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS).
Documents to be completed
- Application for survivor's pension - ZUS ERR
- If more people are applying for the survivor's pension, ZUS Rw-3 must also be attached
- Application for funeral allowance - ZUS Z-12
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights; they are not European Commission sites and do not reflect its opinions:
- How do you apply for a survivor's pension? - ZUS guidance
- Survivor’s pension – Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy information
- A detailed description of the procedure for awarding benefits through ZUS
- Information on funeral allowance
Who do I contact?
Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy - Department of Social Insurance
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
Tel.: +48 226611738 / 226288597 / 226216772
Fax: +48 226611736
Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) – Headquarters
ul. Szamocka 3, 5
ZUS call centre
Consultation hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on working days. An automatic information system is available 24/7.
number intended for connections with mobile telephones and fixed and foreign lines: +48 225601600
Email address for general enquiries: email@example.com