From the April 2019 Newsletter:

Life certificates

Pensioners are being warned to be on their guard because a British person in France received a letter saying his UK state pension, paid to him in France, was being stopped because he had not filled out a 'life certificate', when in fact he had.

He immediately contacted a UK help-line on receiving the worrying letter and was told that it had been sent by mistake and that “lots” of pensioners living outside the UK had been affected.

In 2017, thousands of pensioners across Europe received similar letters relating to life certificates (a system by which the UK asks pensioners living abroad to confirm they are still alive, so pensions are not being paid out in error). The Pensions Service said at the time that this was due to a computer bug.

The life certificate, known to the Pension Service as form CF(N)698, was introduced in late 2013. It is also known as a 'Declaration of Existence'. It is sent to pensioners over the age of 75 every two years while younger pensioners receive it sporadically.

A person not related to the pensioner, who is a professional or a person of good standing in the community, is required to sign the form. In France, especially in rural communes, the easiest way of doing so is to take it to the mairie and ask the mayor, an assistant or the secretary to sign and stamp the form with the commune seal.

Doctors, lawyers and priests can also sign as witnesses but may charge a fee. However, recently some pension companies are not asking for a second signature.

New BAV Communication Initiative

Would you like to be able to ask other members if they know a good gardener? Do you have some furniture you want to give away? Do you have some concert tickets and you can no longer go so you want to sell them?

These and many more questions are things you may like to ask other BAV members, and now we have the technology to do this! We have created a mailing list that, once you have joined, enables you to send messages to all other members who have joined the list.

Any member who can help with your question can then reply directly to you and other members will not see the reply. In addition, your email address is not available for other members to view unless you send a message.

This service is an enhancement to the wellbeing aims of the BAV and does NOT affect the work of the welfare team. So, for example, if you needed to know if anyone had used the bus service to Nice or Marseille airport then you might put a message to all members, but if you wanted to know how the taxi system to and from hospital appointments works then you would contact the welfare team.

Similarly, the welfare team might well help you with a Carte de Sejour application whilst the list might be the place to ask members where they have parked when visiting the prefecture.

We hope you will find this initiative worthwhile and if you would like to join the circulation list, so that you can receive emails and post them, then simply send an email request to

You will then receive instructions on how to join the list and a summary of guidelines for posting – for example, all emails are monitored, and no commercial postings are allowed, so you will not be inundated with marketing emails.