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4,000 elderly people get letter from government asking if they are still alive

By Mason White 2:34 PM August 26, 2013
Are you alive sign illustration 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
The government wants elderly people to prove they are still alive and are not fraudulently getting government money.

A letter was sent to about 4,000 retirees in the United Kingdom asking if they are still alive.

The government’s pensions department sent out 4,000 “Certificate of Existence” letters as part of an audit. The letters were sent to retired people, who had worked for the States of Jersey.

The letter required people to sign the document in order to prove that they are still alive.
Many elderly people were offended by the letter. “A visit or a phone call to the elderly people might have been a better solution,” Kim Evans, 43, of the United Kingdom said.

The department explained that it wanted to ensure that the money is not paid into the accounts of people, who had died.
One 85-year-old man, who received the Certificate of Existence letter, was very upset. “It is bureaucracy gone mad, I have to sign a form to prove I exist,” he said.

After receiving criticism on the letters, Ron Amy, a pension fund manager, said: “while the audit was the best way to get up to date information, we should have been more sensitive.”

Amy defended the decision, saying that people don’t always report the death of a loved one.
“In some circumstances there is a joint account, where one party dies and the other one keeps collecting the pension without us knowing that the other person is dead,” Amy said.