Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

A-Z on social security coordination (FAQs) - D

Death grants

Legal basis: article 42-43 Regulation 883/2004

If the State responsible for paying the pension also pays death grants, your family will receive such grant, even if the family lives and /or the death occurs outside that State. This is an application of the principle of assimilation of facts (see the relevant keyword). This will also apply if the death resulted from an accident at work or an occupational disease.
The State in which you reside will be responsible for paying a death grant, provided that you draw a pension from this State and this State was competent for assuming the cost of medical care. If you do not fulfil these conditions for entitlement, the other Member State paying a pension will provide the death grant if this Member State was responsible for assuming the cost of medical care.

If you reside in a State which does not pay a pension, and you receive more than one pension, the Member State to whose legislation you have been subject for the longest period of time is responsible for paying the death grant under the same rules as those governing medical care.
In order to receive a death grant from a Member State other than the State of residence, the claimant must submit a claim to either the competent institution or the institution in the State of his/her residence. This claim must be submitted accompanied by supporting documentation required by the legislation of the competent State.

Dialogue and conciliation procedure

Despite the emphasis put by the regulation on the principles of sincere cooperation between institutions and good administration, it cannot be excluded that in certain situations genuine differences of opinion and difficulties in applying the rules will persist. In those cases, it is in the interest of the persons covered by the regulation that institutions or authorities of the Member States concerned reach an agreement within a reasonable period of time. To this effect, a structured dialogue and conciliation procedure has been set up, accompanied by strict time limits.

This procedure needs to be followed in cases where there is doubt about the validity of a document or about the correctness of supporting evidence, or where there is a difference of views between Member States concerning the determination of the applicable legislation.

The dialogue and conciliation procedure consists of three stages, only the first of which (the so-called first stage of the dialogue procedure) is compulsory. If no agreement can be reached through this first stage within a period which cannot in principle exceed six months, the institutions must notify their competent authorities, which may decide to initiate the second stage of the dialogue procedure or to refer the matter directly to the Administrative Commission. In case of the former option, the authorities each appoint a central contact person, which will endeavour to seek an agreement on the matter within six weeks after their appointment. In case of the latter option, the competent authorities each prepare a memorandum for the Administrative Commission with the main points of contention. The Administrative Commission shall try to reconcile the points of view within six months of the date on which the matter was brought before it. It may decide to refer the matter to the Conciliation Board, which was set up in accordance with the rules of the Administrative Commission.

If you want to read more about this topic, see for example the ECJ ruling in the case RSZ v. Herbosch Kiere NV (C-2/05)


Legal basis: article 4-5 Regulation 883/2004

Union law in general, and the coordination regulation in particular, prohibit discrimination on the grounds of nationality (of a Member State).

Whereas direct discrimination, whereby a distinction is operated explicitly on the basis of nationality, has become very rare in the EU/EEA/Switzerland, indirect discrimination does still occur as a result of the fact that social security systems are nationally organised and that national elements are used to determine who has access to the scheme and who is entitled to benefits. Examples are the condition to reside on the territory or the condition to have been insured for a certain period under the national legislation to open entitlement to a benefit. Such conditions are neutrally defined with regard to the nationality of the person. The conditions of residence on the territory and insurance under national legislation apply equally to nationals and non-nationals. However, these conditions are liable to affect the latter more. The coordination regulation and the case law of the Court of Justice, based directly on the Treaty, address these obstacles, notably by imposing equality of treatment as regards benefits and obligations under the legislation of the Member States, waiving residence requirements (see the keyword export of benefits), imposing the aggregation of periods (see the relevant keyword) and prescribing equal treatment of benefits, income, facts and events (see the keyword assimilation of facts).

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