Retirement

State Pension Axed If Proof Of Life Call Is Ignored

Civil servants are urging British expats claiming the UK state pension not to ignore ‘proof of life’ forms – because they are likely to lose their pensions if they do not deal with them.

The life certificates are issued to expats in countries which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) consider have a high fraud risk or where the local authorities do not share bereavement information with the UK.

The DWP has sent the forms out since 2013.

They have a nine-month deadline, and if the original form and a reminder are ignored, the DWP will stop paying the state pension as an anti-fraud measure.

The form-filling is aimed at stopping friends and relatives of a dead expat from continuing to claim their state pension.

The expat receiving the state pension must sign the form and get it witnessed by a neighbour or professional in the country where they are living.

Fraud measure

If the form is late or not completed correctly, its likely pension payments will stop.

“We will assume a pensioner is dead even if they telephone or email us, because we cannot prove that the right person is at the other end of the line or sending the message,” said a DWP spokesman.

“The only proof of life we will accept if the certificate.

“This is taxpayer money and we will do whatever we can to make sure it is not paid to fraudsters.”

Who receives the form often depends on where they live – the DWP explained that the Spanish government automatically tells them about expat deaths, but the French government does not.

As a result, expats in France receive the form, but those in Spain do not.

The DWP has comprehensive information about dealing with life certificates online.

Unfair system

The list of people who can sign a life certificate is the same as that for signing a photograph for a British passport application, so excludes relatives.

Full details about who can sign are also online

Many expats are likely to be asked to complete a life certificate in the run-up to the introduction of the flat rate state pension in April 2016.

Around 5 million British expats are estimated to be living abroad, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Many complain that the state pension system is unfair because their payments are not index-linked, but others receive significant monthly payments that are cut off if they do not complete a request for a life certificate.

6 thoughts on “State Pension Axed If Proof Of Life Call Is Ignored”

  1. I called the international pension center twice for a new form .they said they would email it but have not .

    Reply
  2. Of course it’s a scam, even the bloody British embassy in Sweden refused to authorise my signature on the life certificate document. But when I needed an authorised copy of my passport for my British bank the British embassy were more than willing to oblige for a hefty fee.
    Conclusion the British embassy will help a bank but not a British citizen.
    Raymond Hall.

    Reply
  3. I am trying to help a friend who needs to submit a life certificate to get his UK pension reinstated. He is retired in Canada and had been receiving the pension up until three years ago. What we think happened is when he moved he did not get the letter requesting the proof of life certificate be done. I have looked for a long time to find on line this form with no success. Where can he get this form? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  4. It may be that “The DWP has comprehensive information about “dealing with life certificates” online.”, but following your link and searching for “life certificate” doesn’t lead to that information.
    I guess there’s little chance of “dealing with life certificates online”.

    Reply
  5. My wife is a Brazilian living in the uk has been to the Brazilian consulate and obtained ,the life certificate and has asked her brother to bring the life certificate to the INNS in Brazil as he is living there but they will not except the certificate only by one who is the power of attorney. Is this correct or can this document be sent via post from the uk direct to the INNS or by email.

    Reply
  6. As we try to spend three months away from home and the cold wet weather in Normandy in part due to not now qualifying for the Winter Fuel Allowance. The DWP always manage to send out our Life Certs just after we leave mid December.
    This involves considerable difficulties getting the forms forwarded onto us, printed and witnessed in another country and returning by post all within the short time frame allowed. It’s just added stress we could well do without in later life.

    Reply

Leave a Comment