Widow granted pension after 19-day marriage
A German woman has been granted a widow’s pension despite being married for less than three weeks, a Berlin court said on Thursday. Normally a marriage must last a year for either party to claim a widow's, or widower's, pension.
The woman's husband was already too ill to make it to the church when the couple married in hospital in 2007 - under three weeks before he died from lung cancer. 19 days after their marriage, his wife’s claim for a generous widow’s pension was denied by the insurance company.
But the Berlin Social Court upheld her lawsuit against the company and ruled the widow should receive the pension as she had been waiting for years for a previous divorce to come through before marrying her terminally ill husband, reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.
The ruling is an exception to German law, which says widows or widowers from marriages that last less than a year are not entitled to a widow's pension, with exceptions usually only made for accidental deaths or deaths by an unforeseen illness.
Last December a 56-year-old woman from West Germany who had also been married to her husband for three weeks before he died from terminal cancer, was denied the pension because she could not disprove that the marriage had been made for the sake of maintenance.
In this case, the Darmstadt Social Court decided that the man's illness was terminal at the time of the marriage and that the couple knew this.