Payments to surviving relatives in Iceland

Greiðslur til eftirlifandi aðstandenda á Íslandi
Here you can get information about the rights of surviving relatives to benefits upon a person’s death.

Death benefits

Death benefits are paid for six months to persons who become widows/widowers under the age of 67 years. The person in question must have been married to the deceased or in registered partnership for one year or more at the time of death. Death benefits are not income-linked. 

  • Payment of death benefits continues after the recipient has reached the age of 67, if the right to the benefits arose before age 67.
  • A person in a registered partnership which has not lasted for at least one year may be entitled to death benefits if he/she has had a child with the deceased.
  • The same right is created if the woman is pregnant when her partner dies.
  • Seamen who begin drawing a pension between 60 and 70 years of age are not entitled to death benefits. 

Extension of death benefits

If the surviving spouse has a dependent child under the age of 18, he/she will receive an extended death benefit for 12 months, in addition to the six-month death benefit, without a special application. 

If the surviving spouse's financial and social situation is very difficult, he/she can apply for an extension of the death benefit. Extended death benefits are approved for 12 months at a time.

The payment of death benefits may be extended for a maximum of 48 months in total from the end of the payment of the six-month death benefit.

Six-month death benefits are cancelled:

  • if the recipient moves from Iceland;
  • upon marriage;
  • when the widow/widower receives a retirement pension for seamen (60-67 years) or eight-year accident compensation.

Extended death benefits are cancelled:

  • if the recipient moves from Iceland;
  • when the widow/widower reaches age 67 and can apply for a retirement pension;
  • when the widow/widower receives a retirement pension for seamen (60-67 years) or eight-year accident compensation;
  • when a widow/widower no longer supports a child under the age of 18 years;
  • when a widow/widower marries or registers as cohabiting. In the case of cohabitation, the benefits are cancelled a year later.

Other rights

  • A widow or widower can use a spouse's tax card for eight months after his/her death.
  • Application can be made for a reduction in income and net worth tax. 
  • The surviving spouse can apply to the Directorate of Internal Revenue for a reduction in his/her taxable income.
  • The surviving spouse may also be entitled to assistance from trade unions, support from municipal social services or from insurance companies.

Child's pension

A child's pension is paid for children under the age of 18 years, if a parent is deceased or receives old-age, disability or rehabilitation pension. 

Single parents can also apply for a child's pension instead of maintenance if the child’s father cannot be determined. 

To receive a child’s pension one of its parents or the child itself must have lived in Iceland for at least the three years preceding application. 

You must apply to the Social Insurance Administration for a child’s pension.

Who should I contact if I have questions? 

For more information see the website of the Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun). You can also get information from a service advisor by telephone at +354 560 4400.

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