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Cohabiting and partner's pension.
ImageColumn, Pensioen

Cohabiting and partner's pension.

ImageReadtime 3 minutes

You are going to cohabit. You associate this with DIY, moving house, choosing furniture, but your pension is not the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, it's something that deserves consideration. Not all pension schemes have a partner's pension for cohabitants. The conditions for being considered as a partner often differ too. In this article, you can read what you must be aware of and what you can do. Check out an example of how many euros it can make a difference if no partner's pension is arranged. 

Your pension scheme

If you participate in your employer's pension scheme, a partner's pension is often arranged. This is a benefit intended for your partner after your death. Check the information provided by your pension provider to see whether a partner's pension is included in your pension scheme. And have your partner do the same with his or her pension scheme. Your employer arranges the partner's pension for your partner and your partner's employer arranges the partner's pension for you.

Register your partner for partner's pension 

In most pension schemes, a marriage or registered partnership is a reason to automatically designate the partner for the partner's pension. After your marriage or registered partnership, the municipality automatically informs your pension provider that you have a partner and the partner's pension is automatically insured.

If you cohabit, the cover for a partner's pension is not usually automatically insured. If you cohabit and you want your partner to receive a partner's pension after your death, you have to take action in most cases. You must register your partner yourself at your employer or pension provider.

Additional conditions

If you cohabit and would you like your partner to be eligible for a partner's pension, supplementary conditions may be arranged in your pension scheme for the joint household, such as:

  • the duration of your relationship; this can vary from six months to five years;
  • being registered at the same address at the municipality;
  • a notarial cohabitation contract.

These conditions are stated in the pension scheme rules. Your pension provider can provide you with more information about this.

Only if your partner has been registered and you meet the supplementary conditions will your partner be eligible for the partner's pension. It is therefore worth investigating.

The downside – you separate after cohabiting. What are the consequences?

You cohabit and then separate. That also has consequences for your pension. If your partner is registered with your pension provider, you will have to deregister your partner.

  • Your ex-partner with whom you cohabited will not be entitled to part of your old-age pension.
  • Your ex-partner may be entitled to all or part of the partner's pension, i.e. the partner's pension that has been accrued up to the date on which your relationship ends and that has not already been allocated to another partner. This is called special partner's pension. The special partner's pension is a benefit for your ex-partner if you die first.
  • The pension scheme rules indicate whether your partner is entitled to a special partner's pension if your cohabitation is terminated. In many cases, a declaration will have to be signed by both of you to determine the beginning and end of the cohabitation.

If you subsequently cohabit with someone else, you will have to arrange the partner's pension cover for your new partner in the same way. In the event of your death, any partner's pension that does not go to your ex-partner may then go to your new partner.

Corné van Zeijl

Karin Olders

Karin Olders (1983) studied Dutch law in Maastricht and is a senior lawyer at Zwitserleven. She specialises in pension law.


This article is published on 28 April 2020

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