Death in France

This guide has been prepared in collaboration with France based English speaking volunteer group Bereavement Support Network (BSN). BSN helps English speaking residents throughout France to manage their bereavement or terminal illness. You can contact BSN by mail at or via their website at Bereavement Support Network.

  1. Introduction
  2. Registering a Death
  3. Funeral
  4. Repatriation
  5. Bank Accounts
  6. Inheritance/Succession
  7. Spouses's Pension
  8. Bereavement Grant
  9. UK Pensions/Benefits
  10. Income Tax
  11. Vehicle Sale/Transfer

7. Spouse's Pension in France

The surviving spouse of a former business owner or employee in France normally has an entitlement to a spouse’s pension, albeit a modest one.

The pension is called a pension de reversion, and comprises two pensions - a basic pension and a complementary pension.

There are also separate pension rights to a surviving spouse under 55 years of age and social security rights that apply to family members of a salaried person who died as a result of an accident at work or occupational illness.

Each of these benefits is considered below.

  1. Basic Pension
  2. Complementary Pension
  3. Application Process
  4. Allocation de Veuvage
  5. Accident at Work/Occupational Illness

7.1. Basic Pension

The basic pension is called the pension de reversion du régime de base.

Entitlement to this pension is subject to four conditions:

i. Marital Status - First, it is payable only to the surviving married spouse of a business owner (or salaried employee), which means those in a civil partnership or who were living in free union have no entitlement.

ii. Deceased Entitlement - Second, an entitlement only exists where their deceased spouse would have been entitled to a French pension.

iii. Minimum Age - Third, the surviving spouse must be at least 55 years of age, although below this age they may be entitled to other forms of financial support. See below at Section 7.4.

iv. Personal Income - Finally, the full pension is also only payable subject to the surviving spouse not having a gross income greater than €21,985 (2022), a figure that is revised each year. If you are working only 70% of your professional income will be taken into account. Certain other income is excluded from the calculation, eg, complementary pension, investment and rental income previously part of the joint income of the couple, assurance vie sums.

The amount of the basic pension is 54% of the pension sum to which their deceased would have been entitled, subject to a minimum and a maximum sum. The percentage increases to 60% for those over 65 with monthly income less than circa €650.

The minimum pension payable is €3,530pa, and the maximum €11,106 pa (2022).

These figures are only guaranteed provided the deceased had paid at least 15 years' pension contributions; less than 15 years the pension is reduced on a proportional basis.

7.2. Complementary Pension

The complementary pension is called pension de reversion du régime complémentaire.

By definition, it is granted in addition to the basic pension, subject to conditions.

The conditions that apply will depend on the insurance regime to which the deceased spouse was affiliated, although the following rules apply in the vast majority of cases.

Entitlement to a pension is from the age of 55 years, on condition of being married (or divorced) to the deceased.

The amount payable is 60% of the complementary pension to which the deceased would have been entitled.

The income ceiling for the complementary pension is considerably higher than the basic pension, currently €82,872 (2022), beyond which the pension is reduced. Once again, as with the basic pension investment and rental income and assurance vie capital belonging to the couple is excluded from this calculation.

It should not be assumed from these figures that the amount of the pension will be high; unless the deceased made substantial pension contributions over a long period, the level of the complementary pension is relatively modest.

7.3. Application Process

The pension is not granted automatically.

In order to receive it some haste is needed in making an application for if the demand is not made within a year following death it is only paid from the date of the application.

In order to make application for the both pensions you should go to Pension de Reversion.

7.4. Allocation de Veuvage

If the surviving spouse is under 55 years of age and they are not entitled to a pension de reversion, they may still be entitled to a widow's pension from the French State.

The pension is called 'allocation de veuvage'.

It is payable if their spouse was receiving a French pension and is subject to a test of resources.

Your income in the previous three months prior to your application must not have exceeded €770 per month.

You must apply within two years of the death of your spouse.

The amount of the allocation de veuvage is €632 per month (2022).

The benefit is payable up to 55 years of age.

You should make application to the retirement fund to which your spouse was affiliated, or can apply at Demande Allocation de Veuvage.

7.5 Accident at Work/Occupational Illness

In the event of the death of an employee following an accident at work or an occupational disease, the beneficiaries close to the deceased may receive a pension.

This pension is not automatically granted, you must apply for it.

The pension is subject to different conditions depending on the beneficiary or beneficiaries concerned.

The pension may be allocated to the:

Married spouse, common-law partner or cohabiting partner
Children of the deceased
Ascendants of the deceased

The union (marriage, civil union, cohabitation) must have been entered into at least two years before the death.

Children at entitled up to the age of 20 years.

The amount of the annuity is based on the salary of the deceased. It may be increased for a widow over 55 years of age or who is disabled.

For a surviving partner it cannot be greater than 60% of the former salary of the deceased (40% if partner under 55 years of age), but is reduced where other benefits are received.

In order to make application, you need to contact the local health authority (CPAM).

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