When someone dies, grief and loss are not the only consequences. Death can also affect the financial situation. An income in the family disappears but most expenses are still there. The Swedish survivor's pension is based on Swedish conditions and acts as a financial security that will cover part of the income contributed by the deceased.
The requirement for being entitled to a Swedish survivor's pension is that the deceased person has worked or lived in Sweden at some point. The survivor's pension is based on the deceased person’s pension base that he or she earned in Sweden.
If the deceased has a low pension base in Sweden, the survivor's pension will also be low. This applies regardless of whether the survivor receives a low pension or no pension at all in the country where he or she lives.
If the death is due to occupational disease, an accident at work, or on the way to or from work, the estate may receive funeral assistance. If you are a surviving spouse or child, you may also be entitled to a survivor's annuity.
How to receive a survivor's pension if you live in Sweden
When the Swedish Pensions Agency receives information that someone living in Sweden has died, we investigate whether there are survivors who are entitled to a survivor's pension without you having to apply. In some cases, we will send you a letter to get additional information and then make a decision.
Survivor's pension if you live outside Sweden
If you are resident outside Sweden in an EU or EEA country (EEA is the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you must apply to the pension authority in the country where you reside. The pension authority in that country then sends an application to Sweden if the deceased person has previously lived and/or worked in Sweden.
If you live outside the EEA or Switzerland, you must request it yourself by using an application form. Sweden has signed social security agreements with a number of countries outside the EEA, these agreements can affect which pension you receive and which country you should apply from. Contact customer service if you have questions regarding what applies to the country you live in.
If you plan to move or already live outside Sweden, it is good to find out what applies to taxes, change of address and the life certificate that is sent to you once a year.
Survivor's pension consists of the following compensations
There are various benefits within the survivor's pension. Depending on whether you are a child, married, registered partner or widow, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Child pension and survivor's benefit for children
A child may receive a survivor's pension in the form of a child pension (barnpension) and survivor's benefit for children (efterlevandestöd) if one or both parents have died. A child pension is paid until the month when the child turns 18.
A child pension is calculated on the deceased's assumed income pension in Sweden and can be paid regardless of where you live in the world.
Survivor's benefit for children is a basic protection for those who receive a low or no child pension and live in Sweden. If you live in the EEA, Switzerland or Canada, you may also be entitled to survivor's benefit for children if you have a low child pension.
You do not need to apply for a child pension and survivor's benefit for children if you live in Sweden and your parent has died in Sweden. A child pension can be granted two years retroactively before the application date, but not earlier than the month in which the parent died. Survivor's benefit for children can be granted one month before the application month.
The right to a child pension and survivor's benefit for children will cease if the child is adopted. For children over the age of 18, the pension will cease if the child stops their education.
Children over 18 years of age
For children over 18 years of age, child pension (barnpension) and survivor's benefit for children (efterlevandestöd) can be extended if you are studying in primary or secondary school or an equivalent school and if the studies make you entitled to Swedish study aid from CSN (Central Student Aid Board) or extended child benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. It can be paid up until June of the year you turn 20.
In order to receive an extended child pension, you must register online that you are studying. You will receive information about it sent to your home well in advance of your 18th birthday.
You can also submit your registration about studies by post. Fill in all the details in the form and sign it before sending it to us.
Studies in the EEA or Switzerland
You can receive an extended child pension (förlängd barnpension) if you live and study in the EEA or Switzerland (EEA is the EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and if your studies correspond to studies that give you the right to Swedish study aid according to CSN (Swedish Central Student Aid Board). You must submit a certificate of study from your school.
Survivor's benefit for children where the deceased has never lived in Sweden
Children who have a residence permit in Sweden and are assumed to be staying here for longer than one year can receive survivor's benefit for children (efterlevandestöd) by applying for it, if one or both parents are deceased or disappeared and are likely to be deceased (for example in the event of war).
The survivor's pension from another country reduces Swedish survivor's benefit for children.
The right to survivor's benefit for children ends if the child moves from Sweden or if the child no longer has a residence permit.
Adjustment pension and guarantee pension for adjustment pension
You can receive an adjustment pension (omställningspension) if your spouse or registered partner dies. The same applies to cohabiting partners, that have, had or are expecting a joint child or if you have previously been married or registered partners. You cannot however receive an adjustment pension only because you lived with the deceased.
To receive an adjustment pension, you must be under 65 years of age and live with your spouse or registered partner at the time of death.
At the time of death, you need to also meet one of the following criteria:
- You must live together with children under the age of 18 that one of you has custody of.
- You must have lived with your spouse or registered partner without interruption for the past five years.
If the adjustment pension, which is based on the deceased person’s assumed income pension, is low, you will also receive a guarantee pension for your adjustment pension (garantipension till omställningspension). The guarantee pension is a basic protection and a supplement to the adjustment pension. You can receive a full guarantee pension if your spouse has lived in Sweden all of his/her life. It then counts that he/she had 40 years as insurance time in Sweden.
You will receive the guarantee pension for as long as you receive the adjustment pension and the extended adjustment pension. If you live in Sweden and the deceased person has lived and worked in another EU country, EEA country or Switzerland, you are entitled to a guarantee pension in the same way as if the spouse had lived in Sweden all this time.
You will receive the adjustment pension and guarantee pension for twelve months. The adjustment pension will end if you reach the age of 65 during these 12 months.
The adjustment pension is calculated on the deceased person’s assumed income pension in Sweden and can be paid regardless of where you live in the world.
If you live outside Sweden, you need to apply for an adjustment pension by contacting the social security institution in the EU/EEA country you live in. Adjustment pension cannot be paid for more than three months before the application month.
Guarantee pension for adjustment pension when you live outside Sweden
The guarantee pension (garantipension till omställningspension) can be paid to a resident of an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the UK under temporary Swedish regulations (EEA is the EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). In order for a guarantee pension to be paid to you if you live in one of these countries, the deceased must have lived or worked in Sweden for at least three years.
The guarantee pension is calculated on the number of years the deceased lived in Sweden. If you have been entitled to a guarantee pension calculated on less than three years in Sweden and then move abroad, your right to a guarantee pension will stop.
If you live in the UK and have been granted a guarantee pension before the UK left the EU (1 February 2020), you have the right to keep the guarantee pension as long as your situation remains unchanged. If you live in the UK and apply for a guarantee pension after the UK left the EU, you will not be able to receive a guarantee pension as long as you live in the UK.
Extended adjustment pension and guarantee pension
If you have custody of a child you may receive an extended adjustment pension (förlängd omställningspenion). You must live with the child who also lived with you and the deceased at the time when the death occurred.
If you have custody of children under the age of 12, you will receive an extended adjustment pension until your youngest child reaches the age of 12.
If you have custody of children under the age of 18, you will receive an extended adjustment pension for 12 months. If your youngest child reaches the age of 18 within the 12-month period, you will receive an extended adjustment pension until the month of the child’s 18th birthday.
As a widow you may be entitled to a widow's pension
The widow's pension (änkepension) was in principle abolished from 1990 onwards. The widow's pension was replaced by an adjustment pension which can be paid to both surviving women and men.
If you were married to your spouse before 1990, you may be entitled to a widow's pension under certain conditions. This applies especially to women born in 1944 or earlier. Women born in 1945 or later may, to some extent and under certain conditions, be granted a widow's pension. The requirements for you to receive a widow's pension and how it is calculated depend on the year you were born.
If you have a national public pension you do not need to apply for a widow's pension. If you live outside Sweden and do not have a Swedish pension, you must apply.
The requirements for you to receive a widow's pension differ if you were born in 1944 or earlier or 1945 or later.
If you were born in 1944 or earlier
You can receive a widow's pension if you were married to your spouse before 1990 and at the time of death. In addition, you must either:
- have married by the day your spouse turned 60 and have been married for at least five years at the time of death or
- have children together.
The widow's pension is calculated on the basis of the general pension earned by your spouse. The national public pension in the form of a supplementary pension that you have earned reduces the widow's pension.
If you were born in 1945 or later
You can receive a widow's pension if you were married to your spouse before 1990 and remained married until the time of death. In addition, you must either:
- have married by the day your spouse turned 60 and have been married for at least five years at the end of 1989 or
- had or been expecting a joint child at the end of 1989.
To receive a widow's pension, your spouse must have at least three years with pension points in Sweden before 1990.
The widow's pension will be reduced by your national public pension when you reach the age of 65. It will also be reduced if you take out your national public pension early. If your supplementary pension or income pension is higher than your widow's pension, the entire widow's pension disappears.
Report any changes
Keep in mind that you always have to report changes, for example if you receive a pension from a country other than Sweden, stop your studies, remarry or move. If you have an extended adjustment pension, you need to report to us if you move, no longer live with children or if your marital status changes as this may affect your survivor's pension. It is important that you report changes, to make sure that you do not miss out on higher compensation or do not receive too much and need to make a repayment. Contact customer service to notify us of your changes.
In cooperation with the Swedish Tax Agency and the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, we have developed a survivor's guide to make it easier for those who have lost someone. It describes, for example, where you should start when a relative has died, what can wait a few months, and the years after that.
Compensation in the event of work-related death
If a death occurred as a result of an occupational injury, you as a survivor can receive an annuity and the deceased person’s estate can receive funeral assistance. Occupational injury includes occupational disease, accidents at work and accidents on the way to or from work. The same applies if the death occurred during, for example, a stay in custody or prison. The annuity acts as a financial support.
There are three types of annuities: child annuity, adjustment annuity and widow annuity. Each annuity is calculated on the working income of the deceased at the time of death and is meant to compensate for part of the loss of income in the household. The annuities paid from us at the Swedish Pensions Agency may not in total be greater than the deceased person’s earnings. In addition to annuity, the estate may also be entitled to a lump sum for funeral assistance.