Is she still breathing? Able to sign over her pension check? The Department of Social and Family Affairs would like to know.
It's possible that as many as 8,000 pension recipients living outside of Ireland are receiving their weekly stipend, but they're a bit, shall we say, dead. No one is quite certain.
Money is sent overseas but there has been no verification that it arrives into the hands of the person who is entitled to collect. If funds are tight, the heirs might be tempted to deposit granny's pension in the bank and then use the funds for themselves, while dear granny is enjoying her heavenly reward. After all, if no one in Ireland is looking, what's the harm?
The harm is somewhere in the vicinity of one million euro per week if all 8,000 recipients are six feet under. Even if the percentage of dead pensioners is small, it's still money thrown away.
Social welfare staff has begun the process of verification, sending notices to overseas pension recipients and asking them to please confirm that they are, indeed, alive. After a set period of time, a lack of response will be taken as an indication of death, and the checks will stop.
Been living on the pig's back, have you, with pension funds that your granny can't use anymore because she's deceased? The party will soon be over. Social and Family Affairs have copped on.