Orphan's pension; application

Children for whom one or both parents are deceased may apply for an orphan's pension.


The orphan's pension is divided into a half-orphan's pension and a full-orphan's pension. You will receive a half-orphan's pension if one of your parents is still alive and a full-orphan's pension if both parents are deceased.

The half-orphan's pension amounts to 10 percent, the full orphan's pension to 20 percent of the insured person's pension to which the deceased parent would have been entitled or which he or she already received.

You will receive a supplement to both the full and the half-orphan's pension, which is based on the pension periods completed by the deceased parent or parents. If an orphan is entitled to more than one half-orphan's pension, only the highest one will be paid.

If the parent or parents died before reaching a certain age, the orphan's pension is reduced. For deaths before 2012, this age limit was 63. Starting in 2012, the age limit will be gradually raised from 63 to 65 by Dec. 31, 2023.

Orphans' pensions are regularly paid until the orphans' 18th birthday. Under certain conditions, you can receive the orphan's pension until the orphan reaches the age of 27.

Note: If you adopt an orphan who is already receiving an orphan's pension, he or she will continue to receive it. It will continue to be paid unchanged even if the orphan marries.


Surviving children receive an orphan's pension from the pension insurance institution if the deceased parent or parents have fulfilled the general waiting period of 5 years. This includes:

  • Contribution periods (compulsory and voluntary contributions),
  • substitute periods,
  • child-raising periods,
  • periods from pension equalization and pension splitting between spouses,
  • periods of marginal employment with payment of contributions by the employer, and
  • supplements to earnings points for remuneration from marginal employment exempt from compulsory insurance.

The following are entitled to an orphan's pension

  • natural or adopted children of the deceased,
  • stepchildren and foster children who were included in the household of the deceased, and
  • grandchildren and siblings who were included in the household of the deceased or were mainly maintained by him/her,

if they:

  • are not yet 18 years of age, or
  • are not yet 27 years old and:
    • Are in school or vocational training of more than 20 hours per week,
    • are doing voluntary service, or
    • are unable to care for themselves because of a physical, mental or emotional disability.
  • An orphan's pension may also be paid for transitional periods of no more than four calendar months, for example, between two apprenticeships.
  • An extended orphan's pension entitlement may arise beyond the age of 27, for example, due to prior completion of voluntary military service during the probationary period.


You can submit your application online, in person or in writing.

Online application:

  • On the website of the German Pension Insurance (DRV) under "Online Services" you will find detailed information on the process.
  • If you follow the link "Submit application", you will be guided through the further steps and can select the desired application.
  • Alternatively, you can use the online services with registration. For example, you can see right away which insurance periods have already been recorded. You also save time and do not have to re-enter data you already know.
  • Complete the application in full and upload the required documents.
  • Submit your application online.
  • You will receive a confirmation of submission.
  • The responsible pension insurance institution will review your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

In-person application:

  • Compile the necessary documents for your application and make an appointment with the DRV.
  • When making an appointment online, your personal data and, if possible, your insurance number are required.
  • You can select a desired counseling center and your preferred appointment time. Depending on the availability of free appointments, you will receive a proposal for a binding counseling appointment.
  • During your personal consultation, your application will be recorded electronically and forwarded online to the responsible pension insurance institution.
  • The responsible pension insurance institution will review your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

Written application:

  • Go to the DRV's website.
  • Download the application form you need.
  • You can also pick up the form in person at the information and advice centers.
  • Fill out the application form, sign it and attach the required documents.
  • Send all documents
    • send it by mail to your pension insurance institution or
    • hand it in at one of the local advice centers.
  • The responsible pension insurance institution will review your application.
  • You will receive a decision on your application.

A person you trust can also submit your pension application on your behalf. For this purpose, please submit a power of attorney to the pension insurance company. As long as the power of attorney is valid, the pension insurance company will only contact the person you have authorized.

If you give your consent to electronic communication, all correspondence can be done online. Either use the electronic mailbox under online services with registration or De-Mail.

Special notes

If there is an accident insurance case (for example, an occupational accident), an orphan's pension can also be paid from the accident insurance. In this case, there are other requirements and calculation bases.


  • Retroactive payment of orphan's pension: up to 12 calendar months before the month of application

Processing time

Processing usually takes up to 3 months. If all the necessary application documents are available, the pension insurance institution will make a timely decision.

Required documents

  • Required Documents

    • Application for orphan's pension
    • Personal document (such as identity card, passport, birth certificate or family record book),
    • Death certificate of the deceased parent
    • If applying for an orphan's pension for an adult orphan:
      • Proof of school or vocational training or
      • Proof of completion of voluntary service.

Online procedures


  • There are no costs involved.


  • Objection
    • Detailed information can be found in the decision on your pension application.
  • Action before the social court
    • Detailed information can be found in the notice of appeal.

Status: 17.12.2022

Responsible for editing: Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales

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  • Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
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