Contributory Widow/er’s Pension

Under the Social Security Agreement between Malta and Australia

Overview

The Widow/er’s Pension may be awarded to a person following the death of the spouse/partner, subject to the relative social security contribution conditions under the Social Security Act (Cap. 318.).

What you’ll get

The Widow/er’s Pension is paid every 4 weeks in advance.

The Department of Social Security will inform the applicant in writing about the outcome of the claim. Once awarded, the pension is deposited into a bank account as specified by the applicant in the application form.

By virtue of the reciprocal agreement, pensioners are awarded a pension on a pro-rata basis according to the number of contributions paid in Malta out of their total working life in Malta and Australia.

A Contributory Widow/er’s Pension is awarded with effect from the day following death of spouse/partner.

Please click here for a Schedule of Benefits Rates.

Eligibility

General eligibility criteria:

  • A widow/er who has not yet reached retirement age, may be eligible for a Contributory Widow/er’s Pension if upon the death of the spouse/partner, a minimum of 156 Social Security Contributions (equivalent to 3 years – 52 contributions per year) must have been paid by the spouse/partner
  • A Contributory Widow/er’s is payable in full without any deductions if a widow/er is carrying out a full-time gainful occupation. However, if a widow/er re-marries, a flat rate of Widow/er’s Pension will be paid

Documentation required

General documentation:

  • Birth and marriage certificates, only if not registered at the Public Registry of Malta
  • Spouse/partner’s death certificate (if the demise was not registered with the Public Registry of Malta)

How to apply

A person resident in Australia may apply for the Widow/er’s Pension by filling in the applicable application. An application form may be downloaded from the Department of Social Security website.

Alternatively, this can be obtained from Centrelink office in Australia or the Malta High Commission Offices in Australia.

Nonetheless, it is Centrelink who must ultimately forward the claim forms to Malta.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ‘widow/er’ mean for Social Security purposes?

‘Widow/er’ is the living spouse or living former spouse of a married or divorced couple, provided that the ‘actual widow/er’ is the living spouse of a married couple who, immediately before the demise, was married to the deceased spouse and had a legal right of alimony. In case of divorced couples the pension shall be paid on a pro-rata basis according to the duration of the marriage. The same applies in the case of same sex couples and legally registered cohabitants.

When a person becomes a widow/er does s/he start receiving widow/er’s pension automatically?

A widow/er has to lodge an application in order to claim his/her pension entitlement. Such application must be lodged at the Centrelink offices.

What happens after a person applies for a Widow/er Pension?

Once the Department receives an application for a Widow’s Pension, the eligibility criteria are verified.  Then the average of the spouse/partner’s paid and/or credited contributions is calculated.  Calculations of the spouse/partner’s pensionable income are also effected. Finally, this leads to the applicable rate of the pension payable to that particular widow/er.  Once this process is finalized, payments will be issued regularly on a 4-weekly basis.

What are the relevant contributions conditions to be entitled for a widow/er or Survivor’s pension?

Every type of Pension is subject to a contribution test. The test for the Widows Pension Scheme which existed since 1956 is subject to a minimum of 156 contributions which should have been paid by the late spouse/partner during his/her working life, and during which period an average of 20 contributions per year should have been paid or credited. The contribution average may affect the pension rate.  In the case of a Survivor’s Pension Entitlement, the first contribution test specifies that the late spouse/partner should have worked for at least 10 years.  The second test specifies that during a 30-year period of insurance (or more depending on the year of birth*), a minimum average of 15 contributions per year should have been paid.  The 30-year period (or more) is divided into two: the last 10 years prior to death of spouse/partner; and any other 20 year period. The 30-year period may be shortened in circumstances where a spouse/partner dies at a relatively young age. The applicable pension rate in such a circumstance is also subject to the contribution average.

*For more information see also the Retirement Pension Information

If a widow/er remarries, will s/he continue to receive the widow’s pension?

Upon re-marriage, Widow’s Pension will stop. However, s/he will be entitled to receive a Remarriage Gratuity, which is payable indefinitely. The weekly rate of the Marriage Gratuity shall be equivalent to the applicable National Minimum pension rate.

Is there a right to appeal a Widow/er’s Pension decision?

Yes, if a person does not agree with the Department’s decision, s/he has the right to lodge an appeal with the Office of the Umpire. An online application is available.

Life Certification

The Department of Social Security requests a life certification on a regular basis from its beneficiaries residing outside of Malta.  A Life Certificate form is sent to every person in receipt of a pension or benefit.  This form requires a declaration from the beneficiary, from a nominated next of kin and from a witness with a professional background. The information provided in the life certificate ensures that the information held by Department is accurate and updated.

Malta High Commission Offices in Australia

Malta High Commission – Canberra
38, Culgoa Circuit
O’Mailey A.C.T. (2606)
Australia
Tel – 001 262901724
Fax – 061 262902453
Email – maltahighcommission.canberra@gov.mt

Consulate of Malta – Melbourne
Suite 613, 6th Floor
343, Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel – 0061 (3) 9670 8427; (3) 9600 3953
Fax – 0061 (3) 9670 9451
Email – maltaconsulate.melbourne@gov.mt (General)

Consulate of Malta – Sydney
Suite 10.04, Level 10
31 Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel – +61 (02) 9262 9500
Fax – +61 (02) 9264 4722
Email – maltaconsulate.sydney@gov.mt

CENTRELINK International Services
GPO Box 273
Hobart
Tasmania 7001
Australia
Tel – 0061 3 6222 3455
Fax – 0061 3 6222 2799
Email – international.services@centrelink.gov.au
Website – https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/centrelink