Retired expats to prove they are still alive
News has emerged that retired British expats living abroad and receiving a state pension will be required to provide proof that they are alive to continue getting the payment. The new rules will not be applicable in all countries, but will be a requirement for expats in territories that do not share residency information with the British Government, which includes France. Countries that currently share data about deaths include Australia, Spain, USA and New Zealand.
Retired expats affected by the change will need to complete, and have countersigned locally, a self-certification form providing evidence that they are still alive, and therefore still entitled to their pension. The move is part of the treasury’s crackdown on fraud which has noticed a spike in beneficiaries of deceased expats claiming the monies for themselves. The treasury also said that it would save taxpayers around £45 million over two years from 2014.
A Treasury official said: “We pay a bit of money to dead pensioners because we do not know they are dead or the information takes a good while to filter through. In most cases, the families keep the money because we have no jurisdiction to claim it back.” Currently the Department for Work and Pensions, the department responsible for the administration of the new rules, already ask for life certificates, but only on a random basis.
The government has a dedicated webpage with more information, to visit it click here.