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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr Bryant t asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Why does the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Board require pensioners to fill in pensioner's life certificate Form 20 annually?

2.   Why does the form require service details when they must be already known?

3.   On what authority does the board threaten to suspend payment if the form is not returned within fourteen days?

4.   Why is it necessary for the form to be returned within this period, and what is the position of a pensioner absent from home?

5.   Will he have this procedure abolished or streamlined?

Mr Harold Holt - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The life certificate is an administrative requirement designed to guard against imposition and wrongful payments.

2.   Service details are to ensure positive identification of the pensioner.

3.   and 4. Pension payments are made by cheque each fortnight and the early return of the completed life certificate is required for the protection of the pensioner and the Fund. The life certificate is a usual requirement of pension schemes and is an effective method of limiting continued payments which may possibly be intercepted by an unauthorized person. If the form is not returned within a period of fourteen days, the situation which it is designed to guard against may in fact exist, and further immediate enquiries are made. In practice the possibility of a pension being suspended because of the absence of a pensioner from home is not likely to arise because full enquiries are made before any action to suspend is taken.

5.   The burden is not a heavy one and in view of the value of the certificate, I see no reason to abolish the procedure.

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