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Sweden to pensioners: 'prove you're alive'

Sweden to pensioners: 'prove you're alive'

Published: 25 Oct 2011 09:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Oct 2011 09:51 GMT+02:00

Swedish pensioners living abroad will soon be receiving a letter from the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) asking them to fill in a form and report in to the nearest embassy. The reason – to prove they're alive.

Behind the new scheme is the agency's wish to prevent a situation akin to the one that was revealed in cash-strapped European neighbour Greece, where authorities found that they were continually paying out pensions to people who had died long ago.

”We just want to be sure the person is alive so that we are not paying out money to someone deceased,” said Per-Ola Hallberg of the authority to news agency TT.

The pensioners will therefore be receiving forms annually that they need to fill in and present in person at the nearest embassy, in order to prove they are still alive.

According to the pensions authority, 123,000 Swedes have chosen to leave the country after retiring. Most are resident in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Germany.

Swedish citizens in these countries won't be receiving the forms as the authorities in these countries provide Sweden with the information needed.

Instead, the forms will be sent out to the 50,000 or so Swedish pensioners resident in other parts of the world. And if they fail to answer within the stipulated 105 days, payments will cease.

If the agency finds that someone has died, the already paid out monies will be demanded back.

However, according to Hallberg, it is seldom a question of more than a few months' payments.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:44 October 25, 2011 by London_Jim
Swedish pensioners seem to have the grey pallor of rigor mortis even when alive.

It's only the tapping of their Nordic walking sticks that confirms they're alive.
11:47 October 25, 2011 by Opinionfool
There is a story (it may be an urban legend) that a Swedish pensioner was getting their money paid directly into their bank account, their rent, utility bills, etc were paid from that same account. Everything was in balance, life went on; except it didn't after a year they discovered that the pensioner had been dead in her Stockholm flat for at least a year.
12:27 October 25, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
There is a logic to the measure mentioned in the report.

I receive a company pension from the UK and am asked, from time to time, to prove that I am 'alive' - well, last time I looked. Lol!
12:59 October 25, 2011 by Åskar
@Opinionfool

No UL. Such things have happened.
14:13 October 25, 2011 by skogsbo
I think things like this check should be annual, I bet there are a few scammers out there.
20:27 October 25, 2011 by Bromma
This is not new for Sweden. My parents-in-law live in the US and have been asked for years to prove that they are alive. They are required to get the local police to certify their alivenicity and send it over to Sweden each year.
08:47 October 26, 2011 by Kahmoudi
Makes sense.
22:09 October 26, 2011 by dizzymoe33
The same thing is happening here in the State our Social Security program has discovered millions being paid out each year to people who have been dead for some time. It makes sense rather catch it now than have to worry about paying back monies to the Government for the error.
03:44 October 27, 2011 by BigDogRex
Reporting in person to an embassy will be a burden. If you live in California, you would have to travel to Washington D.C. to report. In the past, a notarized certificate has sufficed - I wonder if that is changing. Even reporting to a consulate can be burdensome, depending on where you reside.
00:17 November 1, 2011 by tennent
This isn't really news, it happened months ago, and once a year for a long time.

Australian authorities became suspicious about Italian-born pensioners who had moved back to Sicily and Southern Italy, many of whom were supposed to be about 120 years old, and unsurprisingly found they had been dead for years.

Also, Japanese longevity statistics may be less than accurate - a survey in an island with a particularly old population found that about half of the pensioners were dead, but their relatives had continued to cash in their pensions.
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