Survivor's benefits

Survivor’s pension and transitional benefits to survivors are benefits contributing to a subsistence income for a spouse/cohabitant after the death of the other person.

It has been proposed that the rules for survivors’ benefits be amended from 2020. For more information, see the Norwegian government’s website regjeringen.no.

Who qualifies for survivor’s pension or survivor’s transitional benefits?

The length of the marriage and whether children are involved will determine whether you qualify for either survivor’s pension or transitional benefits for surviving spouses/partners/registered cohabitants.

Surviving partners are considered equal to surviving spouses.

The main rule is that the deceased must have had national insurance coverage in the last 3 years prior to his or her death. You may qualify for survivor’s pension if:

  • you were married at the time of the death, and you had been married for 5 years or more.  
  • you were married at the time of the death, and you have/had children together.
  • you were living together at the time of the death, and you have/had children together. 
  • you had been living together for more than 5 years at the time of the death, and you were previously married to each other. 
  • you were divorced from the deceased and has not remarried.  You normally qualify for survivor’s pension if your former spouse dies within 5 years of your divorce and your marriage lasted for 25 years or more, or 15 years or more if you have children together.
  • you previously lived together for 15 years or more and you have/had children together, and it has been less than 5 years since you separated. The number of years you lived together is calculated from the birth of your child. 

If you were married for less than 5 years, and you did not have children together, you may qualify for transitional benefits for surviving spouses/partners if:

  • you find yourself in a transitional state as a result of the person’s death.
  • you  are currently getting an education that will improve your chances of finding a job. You must have      started the education within 2 years of the person’s death.
  • the  deceased’s child by a previous relationship is in your care. This requires that you were caring for the child before the death and that the child has been in your care the entire time. 

Surviving children may qualify for children’s pension.

What are the rates?

Survivor’s pension consists of basic pension (text in Norwegian), supplementary pension and/or special supplements. The same applies to survivor’s transitional benefit. The basic pension is reduced if you get a new cohabitant.

When you have been living with your partner for at least 12 of the last 18 months, your basic pension is reduced to 90 per cent.

The supplementary pension is calculated on the basis of your deceased spouse’s/cohabitant’s earned income and how many years of earned income he or she had. The supplementary pension is equivalent to 55 percent of the supplementary pension the deceased would have been entitled to had he or she qualified for disability pension or old-age pension at the time of his or her death. 

If the deceased had accumulated rights in a country with which Norway has a social security agreement, you may be entitled to pension payments from this country as well.

Read more about how pensions are calculated (text in Norwegian). Survivor’s pension and survivor’s transitional benefits may be reduced if you earn, or can be expected to earn, an income.

If your earned income exceeds half of the national Insurance basic amount (G) (text in Norwegian) 40 percent of the exceeding amount will be deducted from your benefit payment. Your payment will therefore depend on the incomes of both you and the deceased.

See examples of calculations  

Normally, you are expected to maintain your former income, and you are expected to earn no less than 2 times the national Insurance basic amount.

You may be granted an exemption from the requirement of a minimum earned income if you had not had a job in a long time before the person died, and you were 55 years old or older at the time of the death. If you lived with the deceased at the time of his or her death, the first year thereafter is considered a transitional period, and you will not be expected to earn an income. 

How long can you receive survivor’s pension or survivor’s transitional benefits?

Survivor’s pension stops if you

  • remarry
  • have a child with a new cohabitant
  • start living with someone you have previously been married to
  • start living with someone you have or have had children with

Survivor’s pension cannot be combined with contractual early retirement pension (AFP) in the public sector. In certain cases, survivor’s pension can be combined with contractual early retirement pension (AFP) in the private sector after 01/01/2011.

 

 

Survivor’s pension stops when you turn 67 years or if you start drawing your National Insurance retirement pension before the age of 67. As a retirement pensioner, you can have a survivor’s supplement added to your pension.

Survivor’s pension also stops if you are entitled to and are granted disability benefit. It is your choice whether you want to carry on receiving survivor’s pension or receive disability benefit with a survivor’s supplement. Note: you have to make this decision before you are granted disability benefit. If you wish to continue receiving survivor’s pension, you will have to withdraw your application for disability benefit before it is granted. Once NAV has granted disability pension, this decision is binding, and you can no longer choose to retain your survivor’s pension.

The benefit period for survivor’s transitional benefit is dependent on the length of the marriage and whether children are involved.

  • If you were married for more than 12 months, you normally may qualify for payment of transitional benefits for a period of up to 12 months.   
  • If you were married for less than 12 months, you normally may qualify for payment of transitional benefits for a period of up to 6 months.
  • If you were married for less than 5 years, and the deceased’s child by a previous relationship is in your care, you may qualify for transitional benefits until the child turns 18 years old. This requires that you were caring for the child before the death and that the child has been in your care the entire time. If your marriage and the time the child has been in your care combined exceeds 5 years, you may qualify for survivor’s pension. 

Other benefits

If you are gainfully employed, have children, are a genuine job seeker or attend school, you may also be entitled to other benefits:

Many employees are covered by an occupational pension scheme (text in Norwegian). Some of these schemes offer survivor’s pension, but the eligibility criteria may differ from those established by the National Insurance Act. For more information, please contact the deceased’s last employer if he or she had a job at the time he or she died.

Below are some public schemes that may be relevant:

Individuals moving to Norway

Normally, Membership of the National Insurance Scheme  is a condition of eligibility for survivor’s pension or survivor’s transitional benefit.

How to apply

Apply for survivor’s pension by submitting the form found under the heading of “Form and Application”.

The form includes information and a guide. It is important that you read through everything before filling out the form. The form also includes information about the attachments/documentation you have to include with your application. If you need advice or help filling out the form, please contact NAV at tel. 55 55 33 34.

Submit your application to NAV Family Benefits and Pensions, Postboks 6600 Etterstad, 0607 Oslo.

Report changes

If your income or employment situation changes, you get married or a new cohabitant, or you are planning to move abroad, this may significantly affect your payments from NAV. That is why you must report any changes to NAV immediately.

Payments

See Payment dates, holiday pay and tax withholding

You can also check your payments using the Utbetalingsoversikt service. 


Most of the main information about your entitlements and duties is available here in English. There are also links to other more detailed information; however, some of this information is only available in Norwegian.