Sadly, everyone has to go at some point
Death is part of life. This is something that we sometimes struggle to accept. But it is still worth thinking about sometimes. It is good to know, for example, that the money you saved in your pension fund is not simply lost. There are different ways in which payouts can be made.
A lot of different factors – a lot of different solutions
What happens when I die? For a lot of people, this question is a philosophical one. Here at BVK, however, we take a much more grounded approach to the subject of death. For us, it's about making sure that accumulated savings are managed and paid out correctly.
It all comes down to when the insured person dies (whether they are still in employment or have retired) and what their life circumstances were (single, married, divorced, etc.). When an employee dies, a lump-sum death benefit is paid out if BVK is not required to pay out a spouse's pension. This death benefit consists of all of the accumulated savings and is paid out to people that you have demonstrably supported to a significant degree, or the person that you have cohabited with in the five years prior to your death, or the person responsible for supporting one or more mutual children. In the absence of such persons, the benefit will be paid out to your children, or your parents if you have none, or your siblings if you have none. No lump-sum death benefit is paid out upon the death of a pensioner. You can tailor the order of priority to your wishes by changing the order of beneficiaries.
It is, however, more often the case that a pension or settlements are paid out to survivors. Find out more in the sections on spouse's, partner's and children's pensions. As a BVK customer, you can use myBVK to quickly and easily view your current data.
More about death
When an insured person dies, their surviving spouse may be entitled to a spouse's pension in certain circumstances. Read here for more information.
In the event of death, the surviving partner in a common law marriage is entitled to a partner's pension. Read here for more information.
The children of an insured person who dies are entitled to survivors' benefits. Read here for more information.
Frequently asked questions regarding survivors' benefits
The surviving spouse is entitled to a spouse’s pension if he or she:
a) is 45 or older at the time of the spouse’s death, in which case the length of the marriage is irrelevant, or
b) has to or had to provide for at least one of the couple’s own children (even if he or she no longer has this obligation to provide for the child or children at the time of death), or
c) had to provide for stepchildren or foster children at the time of death, or
d) was drawing at least half a pension from the Federal Disability Insurance at the time of death.
If the spouse does not meet any of these conditions, a one-off settlement in the amount of five annual pensions will be paid, but no less than the savings capital.
A registered partner is treated the same as a spouse.
A marriage-like domestic partnership (cohabiting relationship) is treated the same as a marriage if all of the following conditions are met:
a) Neither party is married or in a registered partnership and they are not close relatives. Close relatives are parents, children and siblings.
b) Evidence must be provided that the domestic partnership in the same household existed without interruption for at least five years at the time of the insured person’s death. Such evidence can be provided in the form of a dated and jointly signed rental agreement or confirmation from the Residents’ Registration Office.
c) The mutual personal and financial support obligation was agreed in writing and the support agreement was submitted to BVK no later than three months after the death.
Yes, under certain circumstances. A divorced spouse is treated the same as a surviving non-divorced spouse if he or she:
a) is 45 or older at the time of the spouse’s death and
b) the marriage lasted for at least ten years and
c) the maintenance pension or lump-sum payment granted in the divorce decree has been exhausted.
The divorced spouse must register his or her claims with BVK. BVK will not attempt to determine if someone is entitled to claims.
Situation 1: Death of an active insured person before age 65
The spouse’s pension is 40% of the last insured salary. It will be paid until the date when the deceased would have turned 65 years old. After that, a new pension will be calculated. It will then be equal to two-thirds of the retirement pension that would have been available if the savings capital had been maintained until the deceased turned 65. The savings capital will accrue on the basis of the «Standard» savings contribution option.
Situation 2: Death of an active insured person after age 65
The spouse’s pension is equal to two-thirds of the retirement pension to which the deceased was entitled as of the date of his or her death.
Situation 3: Death of a disability pension recipient
The spouse’s pension is two-thirds of the disability pension. It will be paid until the date when the deceased would have turned 65 years old. After that, a new pension will be calculated. It will then be equal to two-thirds of the retirement pension that would have been available if the savings capital had been maintained until the deceased turned 65. The savings capital will accrue on the basis of the «Standard» savings contribution option.
Situation 4: Death of a retirement pension recipient
The spouse’s pension is two-thirds of the current retirement pension.
The maximum pension for surviving divorced spouses is equal to the maintenance pension granted in the divorce decree, whereby the survivor’s benefits from other social insurance programmes (in particular, AHV/IV and accident insurance) are deducted from the pension.
The entitlement to a spouse’s pension ends when the entitled person:
a) remarries or
b) enters into a registered partnership or
c) establishes a marriage-like domestic partnership.
Pension recipients must inform BVK immediately of such changes without being asked to do so.
If an insured person (an active insured person or a pension recipient) dies, his or her children will be entitled to an orphan’s pension. Stepchildren and foster children are only entitled to a pension if the insured person was significantly responsible for their maintenance.
The amount of the orphan’s pension is different for half or full orphans:
- Half orphans receive 30% of the spouse’s pension.
- Full orphans receive 60% of the spouse’s pension. If full orphans receive benefits from the other parent’s pension plan, only the half orphan’s pension will be paid.
The orphan’s pension will be paid until the end of the month in which the orphan turns 20. For orphans who are still receiving training or education or who draw a full pension from the Federal Disability Insurance, the entitlement will last until the training or education is complete, but no later than their 25th birthday.
Pension recipients must submit a certificate of training to BVK without being asked to do so.