Some dead Scottish workers continue to get private pensions

More than $95 million a year being paid out by companies unaware that pensioner has died

Private pension payments worth more than $95 million a year are being paid out in the name of dead people in Scotland, according to a new report.

The money is being claimed on behalf of more than 8,200 deceased people in Scotland, according to the accounting firm of Baker Tilly.

Estimates have put the figure as high as one per cent of total pension payments being paid out to dead workers in the United Kingdom, a number that surprised Malcolm Maclean of the Occupational Pensions Advisory Service.

“To some extent occupational schemes are reliant on relatives informing the pension company when somebody has died,” he told the Scotsman. “There are checks that they do at intervals when they ask for a certificate of existence, but that is an extremely emotive issue. One can imagine how a person in their 80s could get quite upset about that.”

According to the report, slightly more than eight million Britons receive company pensions. The payments are worth about $95.5 billion, equal to about three per cent of Britain’s gross domestic product.

A report in the Scotsman shows the problem is not unique to England. In the United States, the City of Pittsburgh said it had issued pension cheques for decades to a man who died in 1970. The $500 US monthly cheques were cashed by his son, who benefited to the tune of $150,000 over the years.

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