KOSTELKA: HARDSHIP DUE TO PRINCIPLE OF APPLICATION FOR SURVIVORS’ BENEFITS
Ms. N. N. appealed also on behalf of her siblings to the Ombudsman Board because their applications for a posteriori granting of the semi-orphan’s pension were denied, although it had become clear that after the death of their mother they would have been entitled to survivors’ benefits.
The mother of Ms. N. N. passed away in 1984 and left five unprovided for children aged between three and ten years. The father states that an application for survivors’ benefits for him and the minors was then rejected by the PVA (the public pension insurance agency) and that he was told the deceased had acquired insufficient insurance periods. He adds that he experienced great difficulties and for many years had to struggle for the survival of his family in miserable conditions.
15 years after the decease of their mother, the siblings could still not understand that they had to grow up without a semi-orphan’s pension although their mother had completed an apprenticeship and worked until starting a family. Therefore, in summer 2009 Ms. N. N. by the advice of a learned acquaintance once again called on the PVA and filed an application for survivors’ benefits for herself and her family. Thus, the father was granted a widower’s pension from summer 2009, but the applications for semi-orphan’s pensions were rejected on the grounds that the persons concerned were no children any more and no previous applications could be found.
Survivors’ benefits are due from the passing away of the policyholder, if the application is filed within six months after the demise of the insuree or – in case of the orphan’s pension – within six months after the orphan’s coming of age. Otherwise, the survivors’ benefit is only due from the date of the later application.
This provision, time and again, leads to incomprehensible disadvantages in terms of benefits for survivors, notwithstanding that the prerequisites had already been met at an earlier time. The Ombudsman Board, therefore, demands that survivors’ benefits be granted retroactively from the fulfilment of the preconditions for entitlement and still in the event of a later application.