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Society changes, and the need to adopt survivors’ pensions to those changes has been discussed in recent years in Finland. The surviving spouse’s pension is based on a requirement of marriage, which excludes an increasing part of the population from the system. This also raises the question of how the costs are to be allocated, as currently all workers contribute to the financing of survivors’ pensions. The primary goal of survivors’ pensions is to secure the livelihood of under-age children, and this will remain the most important goal in the future. The question is, to what extent should the surviving spouse’s livelihood be secured? This article addresses the issues under debate and the need to improve the survivors’ pension system. The discussion is based on a report by a working group led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The group’s task was to review the system and present alternative models to adapt it to today’s society. Preparations for reform began in autumn 2019 according to an agreement with the social partners. This article explores the ongoing changes in society that influence the functionality of the survivors’ pension system. It presents the current status and the direction of the development of the Finnish survivors’ pension system.


  • survivors’ pensions
  • surviving spouse’s pension
  • orphan’s pension
  • Finnishpension system
Suvi Ritola
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