‘Proof of life’ certificates required for overseas pensioners

Jul 29, 2019 | Compliance

One of the stranger pieces of legislation to be introduced into Parliament last month is an attempt to ensure that overseas welfare recipients over the age of 80 are in fact alive.

 

There are approximately 96,000 people permanently living overseas who currently receive an Australian social security payment. The majority of these receive the age pension. At present, the system relies on a relative to advise Services Australia that the recipient of the payment has passed away for payments to cease. Government data suggests that, “there is a disparity in the death rate of pensioners aged 80 years and above overseas, compared to pensioners in Australia.” So, either living overseas is good for your health and people are living longer than Australian norms suggest, or deaths are simply not being reported. The Government is betting on the latter. 

Amendments introduced into Parliament would require welfare recipients aged 80 years and over, who have been absent from Australia for at least two years, and receiving certain social security payments, to give a ‘proof of life’ certificate at least once every two years when the Department requests one. Proof of life certificates are a common practice in many European countries. If the proof of life certificate is not forthcoming within 13 weeks of being requested, payments will be stopped 26 weeks after the date of notice. If there is an error and the certificate is provided late, payments will resume and arrears paid.

Proof of life certificates will need to be verified by an authorised third party, such as a judge or magistrate, a medical doctor, or authorised consular staff at an Australian embassy, consulate or high commission. 

The amendments apply to the Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Widow B Pension, or Wife Pension, where the recipients have been continuously absent from Australia throughout the previous 2 years.

Would you like some further help with this?

We’re here to help, don’t let your questions go unanswered. Complete your query below and we’ll respond.

5 + 11 =

Latest Blog Articles

Are you paying your staff correctly? Woolworths $200m plus remediation

Woolworths is the latest company to facing a fallout from the underpayment of staff. In what is believed to be the largest remediation of its kind, Woolworths have stated that they have underpaid 5,700 salaried team members with remediation expected to be in the range of $200m to $300m (before tax).

read more

Calculating Super Guarantee: The new rules

From 1 July 2020, new rules will come into effect to ensure that an employee’s salary sacrifice contributions cannot be used to reduce the amount of superannuation guarantee (SG) paid by the employer.

read more

The material and contents provided in this publication are informative in nature only.
It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone. If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.

 

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation