DWP apologises after 1,000 expats told their pension payments would stop

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued an apology for an “administrative error”, after it wrongly sent around 1,000 letters to UK pensioners living abroad telling them their state pension payments were going to be stopped.

The letter, which stated that the recipient had not returned their life certificate when they actually had, should not have been sent, the DWP said.

British expats over 75 are required to send life certificates to the DWP every two years, to ensure that they are still eligible to receive the state pension.

However, according to online forum britishexpats.com, a number of overseas pensioners complained after receiving the letter which stated that their state pension payments had been stopped, without receiving the form first.

The letter stated: “Since you didn't reply to our letter dated ... we now have stopped your pension until you send ...", according to one expat posting on the forum.

The mistake follows criticism from a number of overseas pensioners about the length of time it takes for the government to send out the letter.

A DWP spokesperson, said: “We apologise for this administrative error which has since been resolved. No payments were stopped during this process.”

The life certificate, introduced in 2013, asks state pension customers residing permanently outside of the UK to provide witness evidence that they are still alive, as well as recording their address and contact details.

According to the DWP, it is part of its strategy to “reduce fraud and error by ensuring the state pension is paid to the right person at the right time”.

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