Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Cyprus - Survivors' benefits – widow's/widower's pension, orphan's benefit and funeral grant

In what situation can I claim?

Surviving spouse’s pension

  • A surviving spouse’s pension is payable to the surviving spouse of an insured person regardless of the category of insurance (employee, self-employed or voluntary insured person);
  • Widows: previously dependent on the deceased and living with him or maintained by him till the date of his death;
  • Widower: dependent on the deceased and incapable of supporting himself.

Orphan's benefit

Orphan's benefit is payable to a minor:

a. when both parents are deceased and at least one of them was insured;

b. after the death of the parent who was, at the time of death, exclusively or mainly maintaining the minor (in cases where the parents were not living together);

c. when one parent (the mother or the father) dies and the other is ineligible for a surviving spouse’s pension; or

d. when the mother, who was receiving a surviving spouse’s pension, remarries.

Funeral grant

Funeral grant is payable for the death of:

  • any insured person, regardless of the category of insurance (employee, self-employed or voluntary insured person);
  • a person who was eligible for a statutory pension, invalidity pension, widow’s pension, missing person's allowance, or death benefit (death that occurred due to an employment accident or an occupational disease);
  • an orphan for whom orphan's benefit is being paid;
  • a person who was dependent on an insured person or pensioner;
  • an employee whose death was the result of physical injury caused by an employment accident or a designated occupational disease.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Widow's pension

The insurance conditions for the payment of the surviving spouse’s pension are as follows:

  • if the spouse had not reached the pensionable age by the day they died, then:

a. the insured person must have acquired actual basic insurance of at least 3 insurance points and 156 weeks must have elapsed since the week the insurance commenced;

b. the insured person's total number of insurance points from actual and assimilated basic insurance must not be less than 25% of the years which fall within the relevant reference period.

  • if the spouse died after reaching pensionable age, they must have been in receipt of the statutory pension or entitled to a statutory pension if the relevant application had been submitted;
  • if the death was caused by any accident, the insurance conditions are that the insured person:

a. had actual insurance equal to at least 0.50 of an insurance point and at least 26 weeks had elapsed since the week in which the insurance commenced; and

b. had actual or assimilated insurance equal to at least 0.39 of an insurance point in the relevant contribution year.

Orphan's benefit

In cases where both parents of a minor child have died, it is sufficient for one of the deceased parents to have been insured, even if they were not living together.

If one parent (mother or father) dies and the other is not eligible for a surviving spouse’s pension, the parent who died must have satisfied the conditions for a surviving spouse’s pension.

Funeral grant

The insurance conditions for payment of a funeral grant for the death of an insured person or a dependant of an insured person are that the insured person:

  • had actual insurance equal to at least 0.50 of an insurance point and at least 26 weeks had elapsed since the week in which the insurance commenced; and
  • had actual or assimilated insurance equal to at least 0.39 of an insurance point in the relevant contribution year.

Where the insured person dies as a consequence of an employment accident or occupational disease, a funeral grant is payable even if the above conditions are not satisfied.

For the death of a pensioner or the dependant of a pensioner, it is sufficient that a pension was being paid or that there was an entitlement to a pension on the date of the death.

For the death of an orphan for whom orphan's benefit was being paid, a funeral grant is payable without any further conditions.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Surviving spouse’s pension

The surviving spouse’s pension includes a basic pension and a supplementary pension.

  • The weekly amount of the basic pension equals to 60% of the weekly value of the annual average insurance points which have been credited to the insured person's basic insurance during the reference period, increased to 80%, 90% or 100% if the beneficiary has one, two or three dependants respectively. If the deceased person was receiving a statutory pension with an actuarial reduction, then the basic surviving spouse’s pension amount shall be equal to the amount of the deceased person’s statutory pension without the increments for dependants. This amount is increased by 1/3, 1/2 or 2/3 where the beneficiary has one, two or three dependants respectively;
  • The amount of the supplementary weekly pension is equal to 60% of the supplementary statutory or invalidity pension that was paid to the deceased person. In any other case, the weekly amount of supplementary pension is equal to 60% of the invalidity pension that would have been payable to the deceased if they had satisfied the insurance conditions for such a pension on the date of their death, i.e.:
  1. the insured person must have actual basic insurance of at least 3 insurance points and 156 weeks must have elapsed since the day on which the insurance commenced; and
  2. the insured person's total number of insurance points from actual and assimilated basic insurance must not be less than 25% of the years which fall within the relevant reference period.

For the purpose of calculating the amount of surviving spouse’s pension, the insured person's basic insurable earnings are revalued on the basis of the amount of the basic insurable earnings applying on the day of death.

In December of each year a 13th pension instalment is paid, equal to 1/12 of the pension paid for the whole year.

Pensions are readjusted every year in line with the increase of insurable earnings and the price index.

The surviving spouse’s pension begins from the day the spouse dies and is payable for life or until the surviving spouse remarries.

A surviving spouse who gets married ceases to receive a pension, but receives a lump sum equal to the pension for 1 year, without the increments for dependants.

If the deceased entered into a marriage after the pensionable age, the surviving spouse is entitled to a pension if the marriage lasted at least 5 years.Orphan's benefit

The orphan's benefit comprises of two parts: the basic and the supplementary.

  1. In the case of a minor where either both parents have died and of whom at least one was insured or (if the parents were not living together) the parent who, at the time of death, was exclusively or mainly responsible for maintenance dies,  the basic weekly amount is the same for every orphan and is equal to 40% of the weekly basic insurable earnings. The level of the supplementary part is equal to 50% of the supplementary surviving spouse’s pension which was paid or payable for the deceased parent. Should there be more than two orphans the supplementary benefit cannot exceed the level of the supplementary surviving spouse’s pension.
  2. Where both parents were insured, the amount of the weekly supplementary benefit is calculated based on whichever parent's insurance is most beneficial for the minor.
  3. In cases where either one parent (mother or father) has died and the other was not entitled to a surviving spouse’s pension, or where a mother receiving a surviving spouse’s pension has remarried, the amount of benefit is 20% of the weekly basic insurable earnings for each orphan (up to three orphans).

The monthly amount of the orphan's benefit is calculated by quadrupling the weekly amount.

In December of each year a 13th benefit instalment is paid, equal to 1/12 of the pension paid for the whole year.

Orphans' benefits are readjusted every year in line with the increase of insurable earnings and the price index

Orphan's benefit is payable until the orphan reaches adulthood or, if the orphan is permanently incapable of self-support, for life.

Funeral grant

Funeral grant is paid as a lump sum and is equal to 5.6% of the annual basic insurable earnings applicable at the time. The amount of the funeral grant is reviewed every January.

To be awarded a surviving spouse’s pension or orphan's benefit, an application form must be submitted accompanied by the required original certificates within 3 months of the date of death. If the application for a surviving spouse’s pension is submitted late, only 3 months are paid in arrears. However, in exceptional circumstances, if the applicant can demonstrate that there was a justifiable reason for the delay, the pension may be paid retrospectively for up to 12 months.

To be given a funeral grant, the relevant application form and the required original certificates must be submitted within 1 year of the date of death.

Jargon busters

  • The following are considered to be minors:
    • a child aged under 15 years;
    • an unmarried son aged between 15 and 25 years who is in regular education in an educational institution or serving his term in the National Guard;
    • an unmarried daughter aged between 15 and 23 years who is in regular education in an educational institution;
    • an unmarried child, regardless of age, who is permanently incapable of self-support.
  • Insurable earnings: the amount of the insured person's earnings on which contributions are payable.
  • Insurance points: the result by converting real and assimilated insurable earnings to insurance points.
  • Basic insurable earnings: the amount of insurable earnings which is set each year and increased by Cabinet decree (published in the Official Gazette of the Republic) on the basis of the percentage increase in average insurable earnings in the previous contribution year compared to the contribution year immediately preceding it.
  • Basic insurance: includes the insurable earnings for each year up to the amount of the basic insurable earnings i.e. up to 1 point.
  • Weekly value: the valuation of the insurance point in insurable earnings, based on the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings.
  • Insured person's dependants:
    • the wife with whom he lives or whom he maintains. Should the wife be in employment, if the benefit relates to a statutory pension, invalidity pension or disability pension, the material time being after 1 January 2013, the increment for a dependent wife is not given;
    • a child aged under 15 years;
    • an unmarried daughter aged between 15 and 23 years who is in regular education;
    • an unmarried son aged between 15 and 25 years who is serving his term in the National Guard or is in regular education;
    • a child, regardless of age, who is permanently incapable of self-support;
    • a husband who is unable to work and who was supported by his wife;
    • a parent who is unable to work and was supported by the insured person;
    • a younger brother or sister of minor age if maintained by the insured person.
  • Assimilated insurance: insurable earnings for which the insured person is not obliged to pay contributions:
    • for any period of regular education in an educational institution after the age of 16;
    • for periods of service in the National Guard;
    • for periods when receiving benefits for sickness, unemployment, maternity, paternity, physical injury or the invalidity pension from the Social Security Fund;
    • for a period of absence from work because of parental leave.

When evaluating eligibility for, and the amount of, the statutory pension and surviving spouse’s pensions for the death of an insured person who died at or after pensionable age, assimilated insurance from regular education is only taken into account for 6 years i.e. up to 6 insurance points. It should be noted that for all other benefits the period of assimilated insurance for regular education is taken into account without limits. An insured woman, for the purpose of acquiring eligibility for a pension or an increase in its rate, is entitled - for each child she has given birth to or adopted - to assimilated insurance for a period of up to 156 weeks within the 12 years following the birth of each child to cover any possible gaps in her insurance.

  • Contribution year: for salaried employees whose earnings are set on a monthly basis, this means the calendar year; and for other insured people, this means a period of 52 or 53 weeks starting on the first Monday of each year and ending on the Sunday preceding the first Monday of the following year.
  • Material time: in relation to any benefit, this means the first day a person would be eligible for the benefit if they submitted an application form for that benefit by the set deadline.
  • Reference period: the period commencing the first day of the contribution year during which the insured person reached the age of 16 and ending the last week before the week in which the person attains eligibility for pension (material time).
  • Break in employment: any two days, consecutive or otherwise, falling within a period of 6 consecutive days and any such breaks in employment between which there is not an intervening period of employment greater than 13 weeks. In other words, not only 13 weeks have to have passed, but there must have been employment for a period of at least 13 weeks.
  • Actual insurance: includes all insurable earnings for which contributions were paid.
  • Actual basic insurance: refers to the insurable earnings each year in relation to which contributions have been paid up to the amount of the basic insurable earnings.
  • Supplementary insurance: includes the insurable earnings each year beyond the amount of the basic insurable earnings.
  • Relevant contribution year: in relation to benefits, this means the last contribution year before the benefit year which includes the date on which the insurance conditions attached to the benefit must be satisfied (i.e. the relevant contribution year is 2016 for the first half of 2018 and 2017 for the second half of 2018).

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The links below define your rights legally. They are not European Commission websites and they do not represent the Commission's views:

European Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

Social Insurance Services

Share this page