Jersey pensioners get letter asking if they still exist

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A letter sent to about 4,000 retired people in Jersey asking if they still exist has been described as offensive by some of those who received it.

The Certificate of Existence was sent to people who used to work for the States of Jersey by the pensions department as part of an audit.

The department said it wanted to make sure money was not paid into the accounts of people who had died.

Paul Dwyer said he understood why it was needed, but it was badly handled.

The pensioner said: "For me it was alright but there are elderly people, perhaps 85 or 90 and in receipt of a pension from a spouse who has passed away, who may be a little bit anxious and concerned about the way it was sent to them.

"If they were sent a letter before to say 'we are doing an audit' it may have been easier on them."

Start Quote

I told him 'I'm standing here and do exist'”

End Quote Pierre Pensioner who recieved a letter

Ron Amy, head of the pensions fund, said although the audit was the best way of getting up to date information, they should have been more sensitive.

"Pensions schemes really have to do these exercises because we do not always get told when somebody dies," he said.

"You can get a circumstance where there is a joint account and one party dies and the other party carries on collecting the pension without letting us knows the other person has died.

"It could have been clearer in the first paragraph why we are doing it, to offer assistance, especially for very elderly people."

Pierre, who is 85, told BBC Radio Jersey getting a letter called "certificate of existence" was worrying.

"It is bureaucracy gone mad, you have to fill in a form and get it countersigned just to prove you exist," he said.

"I went down to the office and was prepared to have a ding dong and the chap said 'you haven't signed it'. I told him 'I'm standing here and do exist'."

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