To avoid paying benefits that are not due, the Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) needs to verify that claimants are genuine and actually alive. A certificate of life and marital status is therefore issued to affected claimants on an annual basis. The relevant form is sent to claimants one year after benefits are first paid out. To ensure that pensions continue to be paid without interruption, the form must be completed, certified by the appropriate authority and returned to the SCO in Geneva within 90 days.
Life and civil status certificate
In addition to submitting a certificate of life and marital status, claimants must disclose to the office responsible for paying out benefits any change in their personal circumstances which could cause benefits to be discontinued, increased or reduced and any change of address or bank account details.
If you are registered with a Swiss representation, please also inform the representation of any change of address or civil status.
Life, Marital Status and Residence Certificate for Swiss Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Pension Recipients residing in the continental USA, Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
Each year, in the month of the first payment of the rent, the Swiss Compensation Office SCO has to obtain a Life, Marital Status and Residence Certificate for its pensioners. The certificate should be returned within 90 days, duly authenticated.
For pension recipients who reside in the corresponding representation‘s consular district or also called consular jurisdiction, the following Swiss representations can authenticate a Life Certificate by means of a stamp and signature:
- Embassy of Switzerland in Washington, D.C.;
- Swiss Consulate General in Atlanta;
- Swiss Consulate General in New York;
- Swiss Consulate General in San Francisco.
Although the authorities listed below can authenticate that an individual is alive, they cannot authenticate the residence or marital status of that individual. However, the Swiss Compensation Office also accepts Life Certificates from those authorities, but, according to the status of the documents in the file of the person concerned, expressly reserves the right to obtain an additional written statement on the individual’s residence and/or marital status or to request that an official certification of the individual’s residence and/or marital status be submitted:
- Notary Public;
- Local or state police, Sheriff’s or Marshall’s offices.
Since the requirements can vary from authority to authority, before an appointment it is worthwhile to clarify the circumstances under which the Life Certificate will be stamped and signed.
Further information about the Swiss Old-Age and Survivors Insurance/Disability Insurance system can be found on the Internet.
Any questions you might have should be addressed directly to the Swiss Compensation Office SCO. You can find the address, telephone number and fax number on the “Life, Marital Status and Residence Certificate” letter sent to you or on the Internet.
Pensioners having lost their certificate can download a virgin form of the name “Life Certificate” which serves the purpose of the “Life, Marital Status and Residence Certificate”.