Brazil: New Restrictions on Survivor Benefits

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By Ed Taylor

June 4—Brazil's congress approved a decree May 27 to tighten access to social security pensions granted surviving relatives of deceased workers, part of a government initiative to reduce spending.

To qualify for a pension under the decree, the spouse of a deceased worker must have been in a stable relationship with the worker for over two years. According to officials, this requirement is aimed at preventing deathbed marriages to gain survivor pensions. Previously, there was no regulation regarding the length of a surviving spouse's relationship with a deceased worker.

The decree also requires proof that the deceased worker had made at least 18 months of social security contributions. Previously, it was only required that the deceased worker be making contributions at the time of death.

As previously, the value of a survivor pension is equal to the disability retirement benefits for which the employee would have qualified, but the decree restricts lifetime pensions, for which all surviving spouses previously qualified, to survivors who are at least 44 years old at the time of the worker's death. All other surviving spouses will receive full pensions for periods ranging from three years to 20 years depending on their age. Surviving children, who previously received full pensions, will now receive 60 percent of a full pension and only until they become adults.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ed Taylor in Rio de Janeiro at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For more information on Brazilian HR law and regulation, see the Brazil primer.