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Partner's pension and beneficiaries

Are you aware that special conditions apply for partners when it comes to occupational benefit schemes? It is important to look at the possibilities and necessary steps early on. In the event of the insured party's death, the surviving partner will be in for a rude awakening if the required arrangements have not been made (e.g. submitting a registration form).

19 May 2020, text: Mirjam Arnold, photo: Deposit

A man embraces his partner.
The pension fund regulations also provide for benefits for partners without a marriage licence. To qualify they have to satisfy certain requirements and conditions.

A lot of people live in a partnership – some with, some without a marriage licence. If a spouse or registered partner dies, the surviving party will receive a so-called spouse's pension from the 2nd pillar capital of the deceased. The pension fund regulations will stipulate whether death benefits are also provided for partners without a marriage licence. The regulations will also set out the necessary requirements and conditions. Many pension funds specify, for example, that prior registration is required for a partner's pension. Capital benefits may also be provided for. In this case, appropriate notification designating the partner as a beneficiary might have to be submitted.

The following information relates to the provisions in force at Helvetia. They may differ from those of other pension funds.

Definition of a partner

For a partner to be entitled to receive benefits from an occupational benefit scheme, certain legal requirements need to be met:

  • Partners may not be related to one another in direct line, nor may they be siblings or half-siblings.
  • Partners must have lived in a civil partnership and had a joint household for a continuous period of at least the last five years preceding the time of death. This can be confirmed by the municipality of residence. Important: A registration form must also be submitted to the pension fund if the partnership has not yet been of five years' duration. The decisive factor is whether the five-year period has been met at the time of death.
  • The surviving partner may neither be married nor in another civil partnership at the time of death.
  • The surviving partner may neither be drawing spouse's or partner's pensions from previous marriages or civil partnerships nor have drawn a capital benefit in place of such pensions.

When is a partner's pension paid out?

At Helvetia all solutions provide for the possibility of a partner's pension. In addition to the requirements mentioned above, the following applies:

  • The insured person is required to have registered the partnership using the «Registration for a partner's pension» form.
  • The registration form must be submitted prior to the death and prior to (early) retirement.
  • If the partnership is dissolved, this must also be reported («Dissolution of partnership» form).

More detailed information is available «Partner» information sheet.

No registration for the pension – no money?

The partner's pension is normally as high as a spouse's pension. This information can be found on your insurance certificate. If the partner's pension has not been registered, this does not automatically mean that the surviving partner will go empty-handed. The pension will not be paid out though. However, in this case, partners too may be entitled to old-age savings not used for the pension (so-called restitution of contributions) or at most to separately insured lump-sum death benefits. In such a case, entitlements depend on what is referred to as the order of beneficiaries. It contains provisions on who can receive benefits and how high they are.

Partner and children as beneficiaries

In respect of a lump-sum death benefit or a restitution of contributions, partners may also be included among the beneficiaries, provided that they satisfy the corresponding requirements in accordance with the definition of the term «partner». Depending on the life circumstances and family constellation, in addition to a partner, children may also assert claims. At any rate, it is worth giving some thought to the order of beneficiaries. Here too the question arises whether and to what degree the partner is to be made a beneficiary. In the event of a departure from the requirements in the regulations, appropriate notification must be made using the «Order of beneficiaries» form. This allows the sequence of beneficiaries and the distribution of shares of the lump-sum death benefit to be changed. If no notification is made, the order of beneficiaries stipulated in the regulations will apply.

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