ELDERLY Australian pensioners living overseas will have to prove they're alive every two years or risk having payments cut off.
People aged over 80 claiming the pension abroad will have to provide a proof-of-life certificate after legislation passed parliament on Tuesday.
If no certificate is produced within 13 weeks of the due date payments will be suspended.
After 26 weeks the pension will be stopped.
The federal government is expecting to net $219 million over four years through about 6000 cases of pensions being paid to dead people.
"This will confirm that Australian pensions are only being paid to pensioners who still are alive," Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told parliament.
She said the government was not suggesting widespread fraud was being committed, rather that family members didn't know they had to tell the government about pensioners dying.
Pension recipients would have the opportunity to have the payment reinstated with the full amount paid back if a certificate is provided later.
The change is expected to affect 25,000 pensioners living overseas when it takes effect on October 1.
Australian Associated Press