The Pension That Just Kept on Paying Out | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 13.12.2005
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The Pension That Just Kept on Paying Out

A Berlin woman was ordered to pay the German government nearly half a million euros by a court in the capital after it was revealed she had been claiming her dead father-in-law's pension for the past 20 years.


Something to remember me by: Papa's pension kept coming 20 years after his death

Most people know the benefits of saving for their old age. A secure pension plan can keep you going in the twilight years of your life when the last 40 or so years of work are just a bad and distant memory. But few people consider that the benefits from a good pension can stretch beyond the grave.

One person, however, did consider this. But it wasn't the German woman's pension that kept on giving when the toes curled up -- it was the pension of her dead father-in-law which she continued to claim for two decades past his departure.

Deutsche Rentner in Spanien

Enjoy your pension, ladies, you've earned it

Even though her father-in-law passed away in 1977, the Berlin resident continued to squirrel his pension payments away until 1997 after changing the bank account details from the dead man's to her own. The authorities remained in the dark all that time, even sending the dead man congratulatory letters on his 100th, 101st and 102nd birthdays.

However, the scam was recently discovered after the father-in-law's death was made known to the pension authorities through another state department. Last week, the woman was ordered by a court in the German capital to repay the full amount of €429,000 ($506,000) to the government.

"The daughter-in-law must pay back the entire sum in full," the court statement issued Friday read.

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