What is a widows pension? Finsafe founder, Mrin Agarwal, explains how the National Pension Scheme (NPS) works and how to avail widows pension income after the death of a spouse.
If you’re recently bereaved, meaning that your husband has passed away, you’ll be experiencing a lot of grief and emotional upheaval.
But for many women in India, especially housewives and stay-at-home moms without income, it is also important to have a source of income after your husband’s death.
If your spouse invested in a life insurance policy before death, you may be in the position to invest the lump sum you receive in a monthly income scheme and live off it.
Although we do not have a widow benefits law in India, you may be able to avail of Indian government benefits for widows under the widows’ pension scheme, especially if your spouse was a government employee.
How To Get Widows Pension Income After Death Of Spouse
Traditionally, Indian women are not in the habit of managing family finances. Most of them leave it to a male family member.
Many women do not even know if they’re entitled to a widow’s pension after husband’s death or how to avail of their widow pension income.
In this article, we provide answers to all the questions you may have about the widow pension scheme and explain how to claim your widow pension income after your spouse has passed away.
Does the Indian government provide help for widows with no income?
Yes, the Government of India provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme.
The Indira Gandhi National Widows Pension Scheme was set up for widows below the poverty line – those with no income or less than Rs 10,000 per month as family income.
What is a widows pension?
A widows pension is a benefit or payment from the Government to a person whose spouse has died.
If my husband dies do I get his pension?
Yes, if your husband was a Government employee, you are eligible to get his pension.
What are the benefits of a pension?
A pension makes up for the loss of income in retirement and ensures a peaceful life without financial worries.
What is the widow pension scheme in Maharashtra?
According to the Vidhwa Pension Scheme Maharashtra (also called the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme), all category of widows in the age group of 40 to 65 years and belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families are eligible for a widows pension under this Scheme.
All the widow pension scheme beneficiaries in Maharashtra are entitled to receive Rs 200 per month under this scheme and also receive Rs 400 per month under the state-sponsored Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Anudan Yojana, for a total of Rs 600 per month.
What are the widows pension benefits after death of spouse?
As a widow what benefits am I entitled to? How much is a widows’ pension income? The widow receives 30% of the last drawn pay of spouse as a family pension if the spouse was a Government employee.
So, if your spouse was a Government employee, you’re eligible to get 30% of his last drawn pay. Else, as per the Vidhwa Pension Yojana of Government of India, widows pension income is between Rs 300 to Rs 500 per month. Again, this is different for different states.
How to know your widow pension status or widow pension eligibility
If your widow pension is for a Govt employee’s family pension, you can check your widow pension status or widow pension eligibility by calling the contact numbers provided on their site.
If the widow pension is through Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, the eligibility requirements are that the widow should be between 18 to 60 years, the monthly family income should be less than Rs 10,000 and the widow should not have remarried.
Can I collect widow’s benefits and still work?
Yes, you can collect widow’s benefits and still work provided you meet the eligibility criteria of the Pension Scheme and the family income of the widow is not more than Rs 10,000 per month.
Is there income tax on pension?
Yes, the widow pension or annuity income will be added to your income and taxed as per the income tax slab applicable to you.
What are the types of pension plans or pension funds available?
The different types of pension plans available in India are:
- Pension plans offered by insurance companies
- Immediate Annuity Schemes offered by insurance companies
- National Pension Scheme
The National Pension Scheme is the best pension scheme for widows in India.
What Is The National Pension Scheme (NPS)?
The National Pension System (NPS) is a voluntary defined contribution pension system or government-sponsored pension scheme in India (like PPF and EPF).
The scheme allows subscribers to contribute regularly in a pension account during their working life and the entire corpus escapes tax at maturity and entire pension withdrawal amount is tax-free.
While the scheme was initially designed for government employees only, it was opened up for all citizens of India between the age of 18 and 65 in 2009 and is administered and regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
What are the National Pension Scheme benefits?
On retirement, NPS subscribers can withdraw a part of the corpus in a lump sum and use the remaining corpus to buy an annuity to secure a regular income after retirement.
What are the National Pension Scheme returns?
What are the National Pension Scheme rules?
Any Indian national between 18 to 65 years of age can apply for NPS, provided you comply with KYC norms of Identity proof, Address proof, photograph and minimum contribution amount.
What is the process for claiming a widows pension after death?
Here’s how to make the application for widow pension after the death of husband:
- Obtain and fill the widow pension form along with 3 passport-size photographs.
- Provide your bank details in the form as your widow pension benefits will be transferred to your bank account.
- The widow pension form then needs to be signed by the widow and submitted to the Department of Women and Child Development, along with age proof, residential proof, death certificate of husband, and Xerox copy of bank passbook.
Where to find the widow pension forms?
The widow pension form is available on the website of the department of women and child development. It can either be obtained from the district office or downloaded online.
How to access your widow pension account?
Depending on where you’re receiving your widow pension from, you can check your widow pension status.
- If you’re receiving a pension from the Government of India, you can check it on the Government’s portal.
- If you’re receiving pension through NPS, you can check by logging in to your NPS account on the NPS site.
Financial Assistance For Widows
What other financial aid, financial support or financial assistance for widows can you avail of in India? Here are some questions that are often asked in this regard:
Does the government offer housing for widows, home loans for widows, or other loans for widows?
Besides the widows’ pension under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme, you can apply for a loan under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY-U) of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, which provides affordable housing for women.
Under Prime Minister Awaas Yojana, you can get home loans at lower rates for affordable homes, however, there is no financial aid specifically provided for widows.
What other government assistance or government help for widows can I avail of?
The Ministry of Defence provides financial assistance for vocational training of widows of ex-servicemen, treatment of serious diseases of non-pensioner ex-servicemen or widows, and daughter’s marriage or widows’ remarriage.
How to find jobs for widows in India
If your spouse was the breadwinner and you’re not financially independent, you can apply for jobs for widows or employment for widows after your husband’s death.
The SHEROES platform for women offers genuine work-from-home jobs for housewives and stay-at-home moms in India. You can also consider applying on remote jobs websites for online jobs without investment.
Financial Planning For Widows
Need financial advice for widows? Here are some financial tips for widows to manage your income and savings.
- What to do when a spouse dies
In case of the death of a spouse, do not hand over the control of your finances or entrust your money management to a relative, as this can leave you vulnerable to economic abuse.
Learn how to rebuild your finances and spend some time understanding your current investments as well as the details of getting paperwork done in order to transfer your late spouse’s investments to your name.
Don’t discuss your money matters with relatives either. Spend some time understanding the different types of investments and how they work. Talk to a financial consultant for advice on investing your widows’ pension income.
You could also connect with some charities for widows in India, as many women’s organisations and NGOs can help you access financial and legal help should you require it. If you need advice or counselling, connect with a counsellor on the SHEROES helpline for women.
- Surviving on benefits
Make a budget based on your expenses and try to live within your budget. Find ways of augmenting your widow’s pension income by taking up a part-time work-from-home job.
If you have a surplus of income, park the excess into an investment so it can grow. If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you can think about starting an online business without investment in India.
About the author:
SHEROES Mentor, Mrin Agarwal, is the Founder of Finsafe, a financial education organisation focused on equipping Indians with strategies to handle their money based on goals, growth, and safety. She also co-founded Womantra, a financial awareness program for women & working professionals to empower them to be truly financially independent.
Mrin is a financial educator and licensed money mentor with an experience of more than 20 years in the wealth management industry. She has extensive experience in investment advisory and banking services and has won the CNBC Grand Jury Prize for work done towards financial education & inclusion in the UTI CNBC Financial Advisor Awards 2015 & 2017.
Mrin regularly contributes articles to print (including monthly columns in Mint, Moneycontrol, Deccan Herald) and is quoted by Economic Times, Business Standard, Outlook Money and India Today. She is an expert speaker on personal finance shows on Zee Business, CNBC, ET Now, Bloomberg Quint, Mirror Now and has been a judge on the Zee Business show “Hunt for India’s smart investor 2015” and “Sensex Ka Sultan”. Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.