Finland confirms changes to survivor’s pension from January

The Finnish government has confirmed changes to the survivor’s pension, which will be introduced on 1 January 2022.

The survivor’s pension reform, which was confirmed on 19 November, will limit the payment of a widow’s pension to a fixed term, but will improve the status of common-law spouses and will pay an orphan’s pension for longer.

After the reform takes place orphan pensions will be paid until the child reaches 20, up from the current age of 18. A cohabiting partner will also be able to claim a widow’s pension if they have a child with the deceased and have lived together for five years immediately before the death of the beneficiary.

A spouse can claim a widow’s pension if they married the beneficiary before the age of 65 and have or have had a child together. If the spouse does not have a common child, the widow is entitled to a survivor's pension if she is at least 50 years old at the time of the spouse's death or has been on disability pension for at least three years, was married before the widow turned 50 and continued for at least five years. A former spouse is also eligible if the beneficiary was obliged to pay maintenance.

Under the reform, a widow’s pension for a person born in 1975 or later will be limited to 10 years or until the youngest child reaches 18.

One pension company has already received a number of calls from widows concerned about the reforms. Elo pension counselling manager, Satu Saulivaara, said: “We have received worried inquiries from widows who are afraid that their own widow's pension will end. Fear is understandable, but not necessary as the change in the law will not change the current widow's pensions.”

Saulivaara emphasises that the duration of a widow's pension is limited only in cases where the beneficiary dies after the law enters into force. The change in the law will therefore not cause any changes to existing widows' pensions already in payment. In addition, widows born in 1974 and before will continue to be excluded.

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