Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Spain - Death and survivor pensions

This chapter explains the support anyone who is financially affected by the death of a family member can apply for.

Below we will tell you about the benefits that the spouse, children and certain family members of the deceased can apply for:

  • Widow’s or widower’s pension (pensión de viudedad)
  • Orphan’s pension (pensión de orfandad)
  • Pension for family members (pensión en favor de familiares)
  • Death grant (auxilio por defunción

When can you apply for these?

If you have lost a family member whom you depended on financially, you should be aware that there are benefits for surviving spouse and partner, orphans and some family members of the deceased. These are called survivor pensions:

  • Widow’s or widower’s pension: available to the person who was married to the deceased or who was a common-law partner of the deceased.
  • Orphan’s pension: available to children of the deceased, regardless of filiation.
  • Pension for family members: available to some members of the family who lived with the deceased and depended on him/her financially (usually parents, grandparents, grandchildren or siblings of the deceased).
  • Death grant: financial support to cover some of the funeral costs.
  • Furthermore, if death occurred as a result of an accident at work or occupational disease, certain family members are entitled to lump sums.

What requirements must you meet?

Widow’s or widower’s pension: if you have lost your spouse or common-law partner (provided, in this case, that certain requirements are met), you can apply for a widow's or widower's pension. Furthermore, it is possible to apply for a widow's or widower's pension if you were separated or divorced or your marriage was annulled, provided you meet certain requirements.

To apply for it, you should prove that the deceased paid contributions for 500 days in the 5 years prior to their death or for 15 years throughout his/her entire working life, if he/she was registered with Social Security. If not, he/she should have paid contributions for 15 years during his/her working life.

No previous contribution period is required when death results from an occupational disease or accident, nor when the deceased is a pensioner.

Orphan’s pension: if you are the child of the deceased and, in certain circumstances, the child of the spouse, you are entitled to an orphan's pension if you are under 21 years of age (or over with an absolute permanent invalidity or severe disability) or if you are under 25 years of age, when your income is less than the minimum wage.

No minimum contributions period is required when the deceased was registered with Social Security.

Pension for family members: if you are the father, mother, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the deceased, you can also apply for a pension for family members, provided you can prove you lived with and depended financially on the deceased for at least two years prior to their death. Moreover, you should not be receiving any other public pension.

Death grant: there are no requirements. This is the only available financial benefit for covering part of the funeral costs, whatever the cause of death.

What are you entitled to and how can you apply for it?

Widow’s or widower’s pension


Payment and duration

52% of the calculation basis, depending on the occupational circumstances of the deceased (whether they were active or a pensioner) and the cause of death (whether due to occupational or common causes)

If the beneficiary has dependents and a certain level of income, this percentage may be increased to a maximum of 70%

When it is impossible to prove the length of the marriage or there are no shared children, you can be paid a temporary benefit for widowhood during two years

14 monthly payments

Unlimited, except in certain cases of termination of benefits

The pension guarantees minimum amounts and is increased annually

Orphan’s pension


Payment and duration

20% of the calculation basis

In the event of absolute orphan hood (having lost both parents), if the other parent was entitled to a pension, this amount is added to the orphan's pension, that is, a further percentage is added to the 52%.

If there are several beneficiaries, the sum of death and survivor pensions will be capped at 100% of the deceased's calculation basis, apart from exceptions.

14 monthly payments.

The pension guarantees minimum amounts and is incremented annually.

The entitlement ceases when the child reaches the maximum age, except for children with disabilities; if their disability disappears; when they are adopted or marry; or due to death.

Pension for family members


Payment and duration

20% of the calculation basis

If there is no surviving spouse, nor any children entitled to a pension, the amount of the pension for family members will increase by the 52% corresponding to the widow/er's pension. If there are several beneficiaries, the sum of death and survivor pensions will be capped at 100% of the deceased's calculation basis, apart from exceptions.

A temporary allowance for family members may also be awarded for a maximum of 12 months

14 monthly payments. Minimum amounts

Death benefits: payment of €46.50 to cover funeral costs.

These pensions should be applied for after death. If three months have passed, the pension will be paid retroactively up to a maximum of three months from the date of the application.

To apply for these pensions, submit the forms and documents at one of the Social Security Information Centres of the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS). The Institute will decide on your entitlement and determine the amount.

Jargon busters

  • Common-law partnership: this is a stable, habitual, sentimental relationship between two adults, regardless of their sexual orientation, who live together in order to maintain a personal relationship analogous to marriage. Given the absence of an official relationship within the couple, some legal regulations prevent the vulnerability of each partner in certain circumstances such as the death, illness, etc. of the other partner.
  • Filiation: is a legal right existing between two people where one is the descendent of the other, whether due to nature (biological child) or a legal act (adopted or foster child).

Documents you will need

Find out about your entitlements

These links will help you to find out about your entitlements in Spain. They are not European Commission links and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

Publications and web pages of the European Commission:

  • Death allowances: your entitlements as a European citizen abroad.

Who can you contact?

Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS)
C/ Padre Damián, 4
28036 Madrid
Tel. +34 915688300 
Fax +34 915640484
Web page: http://www.seg-social.es

Social Security Information Centres.

For any problem with your entitlement as a European citizen: EU welfare services.

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