Oz expat retirees on state pensions will need to prove they’re alive

Published:  13 Dec at 6 PM
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Australian expat pensioners will be forced to prove they’re alive to stop the claiming by relatives of government pensions after their deaths.

Oz pensioners living overseas will now have to provide certificates proving they’re still alive every two years, according to the Australian Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher. The move is an attempt to stop the recently discovered illegal payments being made to relatives of dead expats who’ve failed to inform the authority of the deaths, and is expected to claw back hundreds of millions of Australian dollars.

Fletcher told the media there seem to be around 6,000 Oz expats who’d been receiving their pensions but had since died, but their pensions are still being paid. The alarm was raised when number-crunching identified a discrepancy involving the annual death rate of Oz pensioners over the age of 80 and living overseas. The rate seemed to total around half of that pertaining to elderly Australians living in the country. It’s considered the likely explanation is that a good number of expatriate deaths have not been reported, allowing their pensions to still be paid.

Fletcher believes some cases will have been deliberate fraud, with others possibly caused by the belief of dead expats’ families that they’re entitled to the payments. Whatever the reasons, from July 1 next year, all Australian citizens in retirement overseas will be forced to make bi-annul reports as to the fact they’re still alive. Those not doing so will have 13 weeks to respond, after which their pensions and social security payments will be suspended and later cancelled. Almost 100,000 Australian retirees are living elsewhere in the world, with the majority entitled to the state pension and many also receiving disability benefits or carer allowances as well as various other entitlements.
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