Marriages and civil partnerships are in fact different legal concepts. They are two different types of associations, and therefore, their rights and duties for legal purposes differ. One of the most commonuncertainties that civil partners usually experience revolves around their rights when one of the partners passes away. Would the other partner be eligible for a survivor’s pension?

Survivor’s pensions

A survivor’s pension is paid to the widow/widower when his/her partner dies, provided that the survivor cannot support himself/herself. In the event of death, it also prevents family’s lack of protection. The survivor’s pension consists of 52% of the regulatory basis; however, it may occasionally reach 70% provided that a number of requirements are met, such as family burdens, minor children, disabled dependents, etc.

Civil partnerships

Civil partners are two people who live together as a couple, and they are freely and publicly joined in as a civil partnership with each other for at least 12 consecutive months, with a sentimental relationship, analogous to marriage, and who have voluntarily and legally registered their relationship in the Registry of Civil Unions or registered partnerships, depending on the Administrative Community where they live.

Civil partnerships and eligibility for a survivor’s pension

In case of marriage, the widower/widow is always entitled to a pension, regardless of their time as a married couple and the widower/widow’s income. For civil partnerships, however, there are a number of requirement they must meet:

They must have been registered as a civil partnership in the corresponding Registry for at least 2 years prior to death.

They also need to prove that they have lived together as a couple during 5 years prior to death. The best way to prove it is to provide a census certificate.

Also, the widower/widow’s income must be within the limits established by each Autonomous Community in Spain.

Survivor’s pension for non-registered couples

As explained above, and notwithstanding differences between Autonomous Communities, couples who have not registered their civil partnership in the Registry of Civil Unions shall not be entitled to a survivor’s pension. Registration is a key requirement to claim this pension and the time of registration prior to death in order to claim the said pension is different in each Autonomous Community in Spain.

Survivor’s pension for civil partnerships by Autonomous Communities

There are, thus, inequalities according to the place of residence of the couple:
Madrid, Basque Country, Andalusia, Navarra, Asturias, Aragon, Extremadura, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia, Cantabria, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands have passed their own Law.

Other communities, such as Murcia, La Rioja, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, do not have a special law, but their civil union registrations are regulated by Decree.

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