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Expat pensioners to require life certificates from next year

Source: Expatriate Healthcare - Thu 19th Dec 2013
Expat pensioners to require life certificates from next year

An announcement from the Treasury that expatriates will have to prove they are alive every 2 years in order to claim their pensions has been met with opposition from Brits living abroad.

The government has suggested that by preventing friends and family members from being able to claim the payments after a retiree has died will save the taxpayer 45 million over 2 years.

As many expats live in countries that do not share information with the UK, it is up to relatives to notify authorities, which is not always happening.

The new measure has been proposed in order to counteract this situation, with a signed and countersigned statement sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) every 2 years.

Sheila Telford,based in Canada, is particularly against the idea, stating that it will be costly and time consuming.

She is the chairman of the International Consortium of British Pensioners and lives in a country where expats already have their pension frozen at the time of emigration.

She told the news provider: "The short timespan allocated to getting the certificate back to the DWP is a problem as is the cost involved, particularly for frozen pensioners on a severely diminished income."

Life certificates are already requested by the DWP, but on a random basis as opposed to systematic and only from countries where the information is not automatically sent to the UK.

Popular expat destinations, such as Spain, Australia, New Zealand and the US already have arrangements in place, a spokesman from the DWP said.

Those living in other countries can expect to be sent forms when they reach the age of 75, which they should fill out and return.

Ms Telford has complained that one expat in Canada that she knows of spent the equivalent of 63 getting her life certificate signed and back to the DWP within the required timeframe last year.

Since her pension does not rise with inflation, this equated to more than a week's worth of income from it.

Comment on this Story

 
It's acceptable, but can the Life Certificate form be sent by email as the Philippine Postal service is unreliable when it comes to delivery time to avoid delay in submission, as I have experienced. Then the completed original form will need to be posted by mail.
Francis Little - Tue, 3rd May 2016
I am an expat pensioner living in the Philippines for the last 7 yrs I am 73 yrs old. what information is required on a life certificates I have to say I don't or am I in communication with any British American people etc Can a Filipino doctor or lawyer sign the necessary form for me
Ray Bishop - Sun, 7th Jun 2015
If it beats the Fraudsters and helps the contributions get to those who need it and deserve it, I'm in favour of the move.
Robster - Fri, 20th Dec 2013