Dead people in Spain receive €300 million a year in pensions

flickr by Jose Luis Canales

SHOCKING statistics released by Spain’s National Audit Office have revealed that every year, around 30,000 Spaniards are still receiving pensions – despite the fact that they are dead.  And perhaps even more unbelievable is the fact that combined, these pensions add up to a total of €300 million every year.

The Audit Office arrived at the figures by cross-checking pension payments in December 2014 with deaths that had been logged into the National Institute of Statistics stretching way back to 1989.                                                                                    

Not surprisingly, the revelations have led to widespread criticism and outrage, not least of all because Spain is still recovering from a crippling economic recession which has plagued the country for nigh on a decade at this point.

The Audit Office argued that the entire system is in desperate need of an overhaul and pointed out that the very foundation of the bureaucratic system in Spain is riddled with cracks, flaws, and unacceptable oversights.

The report indicated that when people had died in Spain, the information was often not passed on to the Social Security Office, meaning that pensions continued unabated for months or even years, even though the recipients had long since bid their final farewells to the world. The Social Security Office and banks (through which pensions are paid) also came under fire for not instituting effective enough controls and checks before distributing the pensions.


  1. Um, those who have been receiving these pensions are dead, Roy. Even in Spain they don’t prosecute dead people. If you mean other beneficiaries who knowingly keep payments not due then this may be arguable. But beneficiaries don’t see inheritances until all taxes have been paid. As the article says, the problem Is one of not very joined up administration.

  2. Only one word for this – Scandalous! Its no wonder the country is in such a bad shape financially. Those who have been receiving these pensions should be prosecuted!

  3. they will be really living it up. but i hope they have been saving some, because when the tax man comes knocking at the door big problem.

  4. When I first came to Spain I remember on several occasions we left luggage over night sitting in the back of a convertible car that was parked in the street without any worry of it not being there the next morning…. 35 years later and I wouldn’t trust a Spanish person in any control of my money, I even find myself continually questioning charges at my bank because I don’t trust them! I am not sure what happened, maybe it was the introduction to having more money through the economy tourism that bulged their eyes and gave them a greed for it. Even the Spanish don’t trust the Spanish! Many small businesses will have the owner on the till or in charge where cash is involved. I know of businesses here where the owners put family members into the financial side thinking they could trust them and discovered they had cleaned off over 1M € in two of those. I am now of the feeling, if a Spanish person sees anything that is not being held onto by someone then it is free for grabbing 🙂 It is one of the saddest things I know of with living in Spain!

    Now not all Spanish are the same but many if not most appear to be and that apparent amount damages the reputation and standing of the rest as the mistrust it installs means you look at the ones you don’t know as being as bad, this to me is the lowest character a person or country folk could reflect, it is my biggest disappointment with Spain… but I do love the weather and way of life, just a shame that is damaged by mistrust!

  5. How does this happen? Every year my husband who has a spanish pension has to go to the bank where it is paid into to prove he is still alive.


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