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Procedure descriptions

Pensions due to death Approval of orphan's pension

The orphan's pension is divided into a half-orphan's pension and a full-orphan's pension. You will receive a half-orphan's pension if one of your parents is still alive and a full-orphan's pension if both parents have died.

The half-orphan's pension amounts to 10 percent, the full orphan's pension to 20 percent of the insured person's pension to which the deceased parent would have been entitled or which he or she already received.

You will receive a supplement to both the full and the half-orphan's pension, which is based on the pension periods completed by the deceased parent or parents. If an orphan is entitled to several half-orphans' pensions, only the highest one will be paid.

If the parent or parents died before reaching a certain age, the orphan's pension is reduced. For deaths before 2012, this age limit was 63. From 2012 onwards, the age limit will be gradually raised from 63 to 65 years by 31 December 2023.

Orphans' pensions are regularly paid until the orphans' 18th birthday. Under certain conditions, you can receive the orphan's pension until you reach the age of 27.

Note: If you adopt an orphan who is already receiving an orphan's pension, he or she will continue to receive it. It will continue to be paid unchanged even if the orphan marries.



Surviving children receive an orphan's pension from the pension insurance institution if the deceased parent or parents have fulfilled the general waiting period of 5 years. This includes:

  • Contribution periods (compulsory and voluntary contributions),
  • Substitute periods,
  • Child-raising periods,
  • Periods from pension equalisation and pension splitting between spouses,
  • Periods of marginal employment with payment of contributions by the employer, and
  • Supplements to earnings points for earnings from marginal employment exempted from compulsory insurance.

The following are entitled to an orphan's pension

  • natural or adopted children of the deceased,
  • Stepchildren and foster children who were taken into the household of the deceased, and
  • Grandchildren and siblings who were included in the household of the deceased or were mainly maintained by him/her,

if they are

  • are not yet 18 years of age, or
  • are not yet 27 years old and:
    • are in school or vocational training of more than 20 hours per week,
    • are doing voluntary service, or
    • are unable to care for themselves because of a physical, mental or psychological disability.
  • An orphan's pension can also be paid for transitional periods of no more than four calendar months, for example between two training courses.
  • An extended orphan's pension entitlement may arise beyond the age of 27, for example due to prior completion of voluntary military service during the probationary period.


You can submit your application online, in person or in writing.

Online application:

  • On the website of the German Pension Insurance (DRV) under "Online services" you will find detailed information on the procedure.
  • If you follow the link "Submit application", you will be guided through the further steps and can select the desired application.
  • Alternatively, you can use the online services with registration. For example, you can see right away which insurance periods have already been recorded. You also save time and do not have to re-enter data you already know.
  • Fill out the application completely and upload the required documents.
  • Submit your application online.
  • You will receive a confirmation of submission.
  • The competent pension insurance institution will check your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

Personal application:

  • Compile the necessary documents for your application and make an appointment with the DRV.
  • When making an appointment online, your personal data and, if possible, your insurance number are required.
  • You can select a desired counselling centre and your preferred appointment date. Depending on the availability of free appointments, you will receive a proposal for a binding counselling appointment.
  • During your personal consultation, your application will be recorded electronically and forwarded online to the competent pension insurance institution.
  • The competent pension insurance institution will review your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

Written application:

  • Go to the website of the DRV.
  • Download the application form you need.
  • You can also pick up the form in person at the information and advice centres.
  • Fill out the application form, sign it and attach the required documents.
  • Send all documents
    • by post to your pension insurance institution or
    • hand them in at one of the local advice centres.
  • The competent pension insurance institution will examine your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

A person you trust can also submit your pension application on your behalf. For this purpose, please submit a power of attorney to the pension insurance. As long as the power of attorney is valid, the pension insurance will only contact the person you have authorised.

If you give your consent to electronic communication, all correspondence can be done online. Either use the electronic mailbox under online services with registration or De-Mail.


  • Retroactive payment of orphan's pension: up to 12 calendar months before the month of application

Required documents

  • Application for orphan's pension
  • Personal document (such as identity card, passport, birth certificate or family record book),
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent
  • if applying for an orphan's pension for an adult orphan:
    • Proof of school or vocational training or
    • Proof of completion of voluntary service.


There are no costs.

Processing time

Processing usually takes up to 3 months. If all the necessary application documents are available, the pension insurance institution will make a decision promptly.


If there is an accident insurance case (for example, an occupational accident), an orphan's pension can also be paid from the accident insurance. In this case, there are other requirements and bases for calculation.

Release note

Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS)

Bitte beachten Sie die für Ihr Anliegen genannte:
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Tel.: 115
Fax: 06201 / 82 - 268

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