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Survivor's pension: better in new pension system?

The survivor's pension arranges a benefit for your partner and / or children in the event of your death. This can be in the form of a life insurance policy or a survivor's benefit. Now it sometimes happens that survivors receive financial worries after your death, because their right to a survivor's benefit lapses when you stop working. This will be better regulated in the new pension system. How? We explain this briefly below.

Types of survivor's pension

Such a survivor's pension comes in two forms. We will briefly discuss these below.

1. Life insurance
You usually take out life insurance yourself. In your insurance policy you state who the beneficiary is and under what conditions payment will be made. The insurance pays out to the surviving relative (s) you have chosen - either a one-off amount or a monthly payment (annuity).

2. Survivors' benefit
A survivor's benefit goes through your employee's pension and can be arranged in two ways: on a risk or accrual basis. Do you have a risk-based scheme? Then your partner will receive a benefit in the event of your death, as long as you are employed by your employer. Your surviving dependents are no longer entitled to benefits when your employment ends. This is not the case with an accrual basis - or a combination of the two forms: you are insured during your work against the risk of death and you also accrue a survivor's pension. This accrual will remain in place when you leave the company and will be paid out when you die. The more you have accrued, the higher the benefit.


We see that things often go wrong with such risk insurance. Surviving dependents expect a benefit after your death, but are no longer entitled to it after you have stopped working. This leads to big disappointments: not only has a loved one died, but they also suddenly have financial worries.

Improvement proposals for a new pension system

The Labor Foundation (STAR) has also established this and has therefore issued an advice for improving the survivor's pension in the new pension system. Minister Koolmees has adopted the STAR recommendation and wants to have it take effect from 1 January 2022 - with a few adjustments and additions. The details are not yet fully established. We will briefly explain below what the new survivor's pension will look like in general terms.

If you die before you retire

There will be a risk-based survivor scheme. The benefit for your partner is a maximum of 50 percent of the entire salary, which he / she will receive for life and in addition to his / her own pension and AOW. In addition, your children will receive a maximum of 25 percent of your salary up to their 20th birthday.

This survivor scheme does not end immediately when your employment ends. He continues through unemployment benefits and between jobs, probably with an aftereffect of several months - after that you are expected to find work again. Do you die during this period? Then your partner and children are entitled to benefits. And that is a big improvement on the current situation.

It is still being examined how the scheme should work for people who have to leave their employment early prior to their death, such as chronically and seriously ill people. Minister Koolmees has promised to take a good look at this. In addition, proposals for improvement are adopted in the area of ​​more uniformity and a good partner definition.

If you die after retirement

Now in many pension schemes you build up capital for a survivor's pension. This will be paid out to your surviving dependents if you die after your retirement date. The STAR advises to follow this system in all pension schemes. This advice has also been included in the pension agreement. For the implementation of this scheme, STAR has proposed to link up with a scheme that now often occurs: a survivor scheme based on your chosen retirement date - and not your AOW age. If you die after that date, your partner will receive a maximum of 70 percent of the retirement pension you have accrued under this scheme. Ultimately, the social partners must jointly decide for each individual pension scheme whether they will follow this advice.


What your next of kin will receive in the new system after your death therefore largely depends on the time of death. Before retirement, your partner will receive a maximum of 50 percent of your last-earned salary for life, after your retirement date he / she will receive a maximum of 70 percent of your accrued retirement pension. And there can be a big difference. Moreover: in addition to the 'maximum 50 percent scheme', you may have already built up a part of the survivor's pension before your death. This is not lost and is therefore paid out to your partner.


There is still a lot of uncertainty about the precise details of the new pension system. This also applies to the survivor's pension. For example, we do not yet know about the relationship with the Surviving Dependents Act (ANW scheme), possible indexation, consequences of divorces and financing issues. January 1, 2022 remains a very ambitious target date, but given the proposed improvements, we are doing all we can to contribute to this new system. One in which the personal suffering is not supplemented with a lot of extra financial suffering.

More information

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