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Financial Planning, Pensions, QROPS, Retirement Planning

Prove you’re alive or lose state pension

25 Mar , 2015  

Words of warning for British Expats; if you don’t want to lose your state pension, then you need to act.

It is more than 100 years since David Lloyd George first oversaw the introduction of the state pension. At the time, he probably did not anticipate so many British pensioners choosing to live abroad.

Equally, when hundreds of thousands of pensioners decide to move abroad, they do not anticipate the fact that they will have to “prove they are alive” in order to receive the state pension. However, thanks to a government anti-fraud measure, pensioners are discovering that they can, and will, be cut off if they don’t take action.

As of 2013, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have made expat pensioners fill in official forms to prevent their friends and family fraudulently claiming their state pensions after they have died. The forms are sent out every two years, and if they are not completed correctly and returned within nine months, the DWP will assume that the pensioner in question is dead – and will then stop their payments. [Find out more about the Life Certificate here].

The requirement applies to expats in many countries, including France. Forms are sent more regularly to those countries that are considered more “high risk”. Not only does the pensioner have to sign the document, but a neighbour must also witness it. Emails, and other forms of communication, are not accepted as proof of life as they are not considered “secure” proof by the DWP.

When the Government introduced the measure it said the regime would save taxpayers £45m between 2014 and 2017. A DWP spokesman said: “This is taxpayers’ money we’re talking about – and we don’t want it to be spent on fraudsters. As long as pensioners complete the forms and send them back to us within a reasonable time frame they should have no problems.”

Further Reading:

Department for Work and Pensions - GOV.UK

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. As the UK's biggest public service department ...

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