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Benefits: Overseas Recipients

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 5 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

To which 20 countries outside the United Kingdom they send the largest numbers of (a) social security payments and (b) pensions; and in each case how many recipients are over 90 years of age. [HL3695]

The following data are of actual payments made. The information requested is not available in the format requested for the last full year because of a system fault in July. The information is for the last full business year for which data are available, 2006-07. Such information as is available is in the table.

State pension (SP)

Incapacity benefit (IB), severe disablement allowance (SDA), bereavement benefit (BB) and widow’s benefit (WB)

Number of customers aged 90 and above

Proportion of customers in each country aged 90 and above

Australia

£391 million

£2 million

8,500

4%

Spain

£267 million

£17.5 million

800

1%

USA

£243 million

£3 million

3,080

2%

Ireland

£241 million

£17.5 million

2,340

2%

Canada

£237 million

£1.5 million

4,660

3%

France

£121 million

£9 million

560

2%

New Zealand

£78 million

£0.5 million

1,940

4%

Jamaica

£78 million

£1.5 million

820

4%

South Africa

£72 million

£1 million

1,060

3%

Italy

£57 million

£2 million

480

1%

Cyprus

£44 million

£2.5 million

160

1%

Germany

£43 million

£3.5 million

480

2%

Portugal

£21 million

£1.5 million

100

1%

Barbados

£17 million

£0.1 million

100

2%

Jersey

£16 million

£0.5 million

300

4%

Malta

£13 million

£l million

80

2%

Netherlands

£12 million

£1 million

120

2%

Guernsey

£12 million

£0.25 million

200

4%

Greece

£11 million

£l million

40

1%

Israel

£10 million

£0.1 million

220

6%

Data Source: Scan of overseas customers taken from benefit systems or International Pension Centre.

Notes:

1. This information is from a scan of overseas customers taken on 31 December 2006.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements there are to determine whether recipients outside the United Kingdom of social security benefits and pensions are alive. [HL3696]

The current measures used by the International Pension Centre (IPC) to detect unreported death on a customer base of 1.1 million are a programme of data matching, where available, and life certification where data matching is unavailable or impractical.

IPC is currently data matching with death indexes from the USA and New Zealand. These offer data on all the deaths in those countries but are the only two identified at this time. IPC is also starting to exchange data with equivalent authorities such as Centrelink in Australia and Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) in the Netherlands. It is expected that IPC will exchange data with the Department for Social and Family Affairs in Ireland in the foreseeable future. Data matching with the authorities in a number of other countries where there are high numbers of UK beneficiaries is also being progressed.

Data matching with the equivalent authorities in other countries is not always possible or practical because of, for example, the absence of a suitably robust registration system. Therefore, life certificates are used to verify the life of customers who are not covered by data matching. Life certificates require customers to present themselves to the foreign authority, UK diplomatic or consular service, solicitor or barrister, magistrate or justice of the peace, or police to have their certificate signed. The customer must also present photographic evidence—for example, a passport.

Although life certificates have been in use in the IPC for some years, the programme has recently been expanded to include annual certification of all customers not covered by data matching aged 85 and above and annual certification of other customers in high-risk cohorts, which are currently being identified.