Not Dead Yet
The UK Life Certificate Is Really A Not-Dead-Yet Certificate
Well, I’m sixty-seven and I’ve been collecting my relatively generous UK pension for two years – and guess what? I’ve had to certify I’m alive twice. That’s about once every year by my reckoning. Last year I managed to get my life certificate for free but this year a Thai legal firm charged me 1000 baht. I might try my bank manager next time. Maybe she’ll charge me 200. The UK won’t accept my word for being still alive. My certificate has to be signed by a reliable person like a solicitor, bank manager, or a doctor. Got it? The UK believes that solicitors, bank managers and doctors are reliable, honest. Those British bureaucrats just haven’t been following the news over the decades! I, for one, doubt solicitors, bank managers and doctors are particularly honest or reliable. I’m not trying to be scurrilous here, just making the point that professional qualifications have little or nothing to do with moral behaviour. It’s a convenient assumption that they do have something to do with moral behaviour because such assumptions help boost belief in “superior” people, making “the experts” powerful. Such an assumption also belittles pensioners who are not allowed to self-certify themselves alive.
This UK pension I get, it’s from my own contributions over the years…it’s OK but like the Thai one (600 – 900 baht), it’s impossible to live on – almost. Now, I know there’s a big difference between 550 pounds and 600 baht but the point I’m trying to make is that pensions need supplementing. However, given the choice, I’d choose a UK rather than a Thai handout despite all this stuff about not being dead!
When the UK government asks for my certificate, they say it’s because I’m a non-resident living far away. If I were to die in the UK, they could stop my money immediately. Of course, no bureaucrat puts it that way, but that’s the way it is.
So, seemingly, for the next few years, till The Grim Reaper gets me, the Brits and their certificates are going to get me (and my goat). Do you think Britain is too generous? No, I’m not thinking about its pensions. I’m thinking about its certificates. Is it going to be once every year for “life” or will they take pity on expats and ask us to certify our lust for living once every five? I doubt it. That (annual?) Life Certificate (of excruciating euphemism!) is here to stay as long as I am!