THE RIGHT TO SURVIVORS' PENSION

Family members of a deceased insured person are entitled to a survivors’ pension if the person from whom the right is executed (the deceased person) fulfilled one of the following conditions:

  • Completed at least 5 years of insurance periods or at least 10 years of qualifying periods, or
  • Met the requirements relating to the length of qualifying periods for acquiring the right to a disability pension due to complete loss of working capacity, or
  • Was a beneficiary of an old-age, early retirement or disability pension, or
  • Was a beneficiary of the right to occupational rehabilitation.

If the death of an insuree or insured person occurred as a result of an accident at work or occupational disease, his or her family members have the right to a survivors’ pension regardless of the length of qualifying periods completed.

 

The right to a survivors’ pension may not be acquired by a family member of an insured person or pension beneficiary who intentionally caused the death of the insured person or pension beneficiary, and was convicted of this criminal offence by a legally effective judgement to incarceration, and cannot be acquired by a family member of a deceased insuree, insured person or pension beneficiary who intentionally incapacitated himself or herself for work to acquire the right to a survivors’ pension.

A widow/widower/common-law spouse/life partner/informal life partner has the right to a survivors’ pension:

  • If they reached 50 years of age by the time of death of their spouse
  • If they are younger than 50 years of age, and they suffered a total loss of work capacity before the death of their spouse or within one year after the death of their spouse or
  • If after the death of the spouse, a child is left or several children are left entitled to the survivors’ pension, and the widow/widower or common-law spouse have parental responsibility for those children. If a total loss of work capacity is suffered during the period of exercising this right, they reserve the right to the survivors’ pension during the period of such disability.

A widow / widower / common law spouse / life partner / informal life partner who did not reach 50 years of age before the death of his or her spouse, but was older than 45, shall acquire the right to a survivors’ pension when he or she reaches 50 years of age.

A widow / widower / common law spouse / life partner / informal life partner who reached 50 years of age while exercising the right to a survivors’ pension acquired shall retain the right to a survivors’ pension on a permanent basis, and if he or she was divested of this right between the ages of 45 and 50, he or she may re-acquire it when he or she reaches 50 years of age.

A widow is also entitled to a survivors’ pension when a child was born to the insured person after his death. In such case, a widow exercises the right to a survivors’ pension from the date of the insured person’s death.

An extramarital partner is entitled to a survivors’ pension if such extramarital partnership existed and lasted at least three years.

The right to a survivors’ pension is also granted to a divorced spouse, provided that he or she is entitled to support by a court decision.

Family members of both formal an informal life partner can exercise their right to survivors’ pension in accordance with the Pension Insurance Act under the same terms and condition provided that such relationship existed on 5 August 2014 or later and provided that it lasted for at least three years.

The consensual union status will be determined in a non-contentious procedure.

A child acquires the right to a survivors’ pension:

  • If at the time of death of his or her parent, he or she is under the age of 15, or younger than 18 in periods of unemployment
  • If a complete loss of working capacity occurs, until the age at which the child is entitled to a survivors’ pension, then the child is entitled to a survivors’ pension for as long as such loss exists
  • If a total loss of work capacity was suffered after the age that provides children with the right to a survivors’ pension, and before the death of the insured person or beneficiary if they were supported by the deceased before their death
  • If he or she is in regular schooling at the time of the insured person’s death or if he or she enters regular schooling after the insured person’s death.

Children are entitled to this right until the end of regular schooling, but not after they reach 26 years of age. If a child’s regular schooling was interrupted due to illness, the child has the right to a survivors’ pension and may exercise this right for the duration of illness – up to the age of 26 and beyond, but for a period not longer than the time he or she lost due to illness, provided that the child’s regular schooling continued before he or she reached 26 years of age.

A child with a status of a disabled person with the remaining working capacity has the right to a survivors’ pension after the death of his or her parent and shall not lose this right after he or she finds employment, however pension payment shall be suspended during the term of insurance coverage.

A child who experienced a complete loss of working capacity at the time when exercising the right to survivors’ pension, shall be entitled to such right for as long as the complete loss of working capacity lasts, and shall not lose this right after he or she finds employment, however pension payment shall be suspended during the term of insurance coverage.

 

A parent – father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, life partner of the parent and adoptive parent of a deceased insured person or beneficiary whom the insured person or beneficiary supported until his or her death is entitled to a survivors’ pension:

  • If, before the insured person’s or beneficiary’s death, he or she reached the age of 60, or
  • If he or she is younger than 60 but experienced a complete loss of working capacity at the time the insured person or the beneficiary died, for as long as such disability lasts.

 

The following parties will lose their right to a survivors’ pension provided that they get married, or start a consensual union or life partnership/informal life partnership:

  • Widow/widower/common-law spouse/life partner/informal life partner, younger than 50 years of age, unless they exercise this right based on their total loss of work capacity
  • Children of the insured person, a child that the insured person cared for, brothers, sisters and other parentless children, except the children who are entitled to this right based on the total loss of work capacity, children who are subject to full-time schooling and disabled children with a remaining work capacity determined in accordance with the regulations on occupational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons

 

Your right to survivors’ pension when you move within the European Union

The rules that apply to the old-age pension also refer to the survivors’ pension according to the regulations of the European Union.

Survivors’ pension will be paid regardless of the place of residence of the surviving spouse / common-law spouse / life partner / informal life partner in any Member State.

More info

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

A family member is entitled to a family pension from the day when the conditions for retirement or the date of the death of the insured have been met. In the event of the death of the beneficiary of the pension or the beneficiary of the right to professional rehabilitation, the right to a family pension shall be acquired at the earliest on the first day of the month following the month in which the pension beneficiary died.

If the claim is filed after the expiry of the six-month deadline from the date of the fulfilment of the condition or death of the insured person, the right to a family pension shall be acquired from the first day of the month following the submission of the application and for 6 months in retrograde.

The procedure is initiated by submitting an application to the regional service / local office / branch office of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute according to the permanent or temporary place of residence of the person submitting the application. If the applicant’s place of residence is located abroad, the regional service or office of the last insurance is competent.

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