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pension problems

Old Oct 6th 2009, 5:05 pm
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Default pension problems

is anyone having problems with the international pension service? I feel that I am on a merry-go-round. I have applied for a UK pension and have received so many different and incorrect answers from the pension service that my head is spinning.
When I initially inquired, I was told I was not eligible at all as I did not work for the required time. I accepted this. Then I found out that I could use my US contributions and/or pay voluntary contributions so determined to apply.
Now I find that the time span for voluntary contributions has expired. I am so mad because if I had been informed correctly I would have paid VC.
I have sent in documents which cannot be found even though the US Post office tracking system says delivered. I also sent a letter of complaint. Once again registered mail and delivered but no one can find it. This is all very discouraging. I am not looking for something for nothing.
These are not large amounts but as I am hoping to return to UK with few assets and do not plan on claiming extra benefits, every little bit will help.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
is anyone having problems with the international pension service? I feel that I am on a merry-go-round. I have applied for a UK pension and have received so many different and incorrect answers from the pension service that my head is spinning.
When I initially inquired, I was told I was not eligible at all as I did not work for the required time. I accepted this. Then I found out that I could use my US contributions and/or pay voluntary contributions so determined to apply.
Now I find that the time span for voluntary contributions has expired. I am so mad because if I had been informed correctly I would have paid VC.
I have sent in documents which cannot be found even though the US Post office tracking system says delivered. I also sent a letter of complaint. Once again registered mail and delivered but no one can find it. This is all very discouraging. I am not looking for something for nothing.
These are not large amounts but as I am hoping to return to UK with few assets and do not plan on claiming extra benefits, every little bit will help.
Have you tried emailing them?

They can't claim to lose emails............. can they?
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
is anyone having problems with the international pension service? I feel that I am on a merry-go-round. I have applied for a UK pension and have received so many different and incorrect answers from the pension service that my head is spinning.
When I initially inquired, I was told I was not eligible at all as I did not work for the required time. I accepted this. Then I found out that I could use my US contributions and/or pay voluntary contributions so determined to apply.
Now I find that the time span for voluntary contributions has expired. I am so mad because if I had been informed correctly I would have paid VC.
I have sent in documents which cannot be found even though the US Post office tracking system says delivered. I also sent a letter of complaint. Once again registered mail and delivered but no one can find it. This is all very discouraging. I am not looking for something for nothing.
These are not large amounts but as I am hoping to return to UK with few assets and do not plan on claiming extra benefits, every little bit will help.

Hi Alba, can I ask you, how long did you work in the UK for before leaving? I have just applied for my UK pension, have not heard anything back yet, keeping my fingers crossed that I wlll get something.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Have you tried emailing them?

They can't claim to lose emails............. can they?
Emails are not acceptable so they tell me. (I have emailed in past) I wanted to scan the signed complaint letter and Email. They told me no. Has to be mailed. I need to have my documents returned when they have reviewed them.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by Boodles View Post
Hi Alba, can I ask you, how long did you work in the UK for before leaving? I have just applied for my UK pension, have not heard anything back yet, keeping my fingers crossed that I wlll get something.
Less than the 10 years they say are required.
Check to see if you can pay Voluntary Contributions or use your Canadian benefits. there is a Canadian UK pension site which has a lot of information.
sorry don't have address but if you google it, it should come up. Rules for payments depend on pension eligibility time lines. I am still waiting for answers and an amount if any.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Thanks Alba1, The Canadian PP is not reciprocal with the UK. I have already sent all my forms to Newcastle and should hear something in the next few weeks. I do know, from reading their website, that it is too late to make up any back payments to qualifly for a bigger pension. So, I will just have to wait; keep us posted as to what your experience is.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by Boodles View Post
Thanks Alba1, The Canadian PP is not reciprocal with the UK. I have already sent all my forms to Newcastle and should hear something in the next few weeks. I do know, from reading their website, that it is too late to make up any back payments to qualifly for a bigger pension. So, I will just have to wait; keep us posted as to what your experience is.
I am now being told the same thing. It all depends on when you reach pension age. However, I was NOT informed and/or told the wrong things. and missed this cut off by a few months. I will be surprised if anyone admits they were wrong or made a mistake. I think they will band together to cover up. I was warned that they would "mess me about " and this is probably why my correspondence and documents are missing. I had to send some of the same documents to US soc sec and I had them returned within a week.
It makes me very nervous about returning home.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

But surely you are getting a payment from your US contributions? (private super I assume)?
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 9:52 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
I am now being told the same thing. It all depends on when you reach pension age. However, I was NOT informed and/or told the wrong things. and missed this cut off by a few months. I will be surprised if anyone admits they were wrong or made a mistake. I think they will band together to cover up. I was warned that they would "mess me about " and this is probably why my correspondence and documents are missing. I had to send some of the same documents to US soc sec and I had them returned within a week.
It makes me very nervous about returning home.
Don't let this one thing discourage you from going home, as far as I can calculate the pension would be very small anyway, perhaps USD$80 a month. I know it would help put food on the table, but is not a large enough amount to make that much difference, I don't think. Just remember all the other reasons you want to go home; when you get there I am sure you could find a way of making up such a short fall in your finances. Elizabeth
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by Boodles View Post
Don't let this one thing discourage you from going home, as far as I can calculate the pension would be very small anyway, perhaps USD$80 a month. I know it would help put food on the table, but is not a large enough amount to make that much difference, I don't think. Just remember all the other reasons you want to go home; when you get there I am sure you could find a way of making up such a short fall in your finances. Elizabeth
The closer I get to full retirement $80-$100 month looks like more and more. Yes, I will receive a US pension but who can live on pensions alone without substantial
private funds and/or savings. After the downturns of the last 3 years looks like I will not have any or much of these. As a single I have only myself to rely on.
Work in UK may be out of question even though I would be willing.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
I was NOT informed and/or told the wrong things. and missed this cut off by a few months. I will be surprised if anyone admits they were wrong or made a mistake.
I'm not "having a go" but there's a difference in being misinformed and not informed. Some things are for the person to find out themselves; the DWP isn't able to go chasing everyone to advise potential solutions in numerous different situations.

However if by not informed you mean you asked a question and a response failed to address it or you were misinformed and you can show either of those alternatives - copies of letters etc then you may be able to claim compensation if you're out of pocket..

That department has long had a system for making good where people have lost out.

Proving it might be a problem although you say you have proof something was delivered. That could help.

You might be surprised by admissions of errors. They do happen...errors and admissions I mean.

If they investigate and find the same staff member has been involved in similar complaints that might also be enough to sway them.

You never know until you try.
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Old Oct 6th 2009, 11:29 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
I'm not "having a go" but there's a difference in being misinformed and not informed. Some things are for the person to find out themselves; the DWP isn't able to go chasing everyone to advise potential solutions in numerous different situations.

However if by not informed you mean you asked a question and a response failed to address it or you were misinformed and you can show either of those alternatives - copies of letters etc then you may be able to claim compensation if you're out of pocket..

That department has long had a system for making good where people have lost out.

Proving it might be a problem although you say you have proof something was delivered. That could help.

You might be surprised by admissions of errors. They do happen...errors and admissions I mean.

If they investigate and find the same staff member has been involved in similar complaints that might also be enough to sway them.

You never know until you try.
I understand and that seems to be the argument for the pension office. However if a question/inquiry as to eligibility for pension is posed, then I feel it is the obligation of the answering civil servant to volunteer any information to enable the inquirer to qualify. (eg. use of US quarters and payment of VC,) not just baldly state 10 years...you woldn't have enough. At least they should guide in the right direction. I trusted what they told me and didn't bother applying until what I was told by the US authorities caused me to check into it again. It never occurred to me that they could be wrong or just not feel like telling me. As for the obligation of the pensioner to find out for themselves....How does someone living in another country have the ability to find these things out or know to ask about them if they have no connections with the homeland anymore. If they manage to find a phone number to call for information, how could they possibly KNOW what to ask. I get pretty riled up at this. How many people in their 60's and older are not familiar with
computers and would still be ignorant of the facts.? If there is a department that deals with International pension claims, then they should be aware of the basics and be willing to share this basic information with the public who have every right to know their rights. Isn't that their job? OK off my soapbox...nothing personal intended. I have read your posts on other threads and have found them pretty informative and helpful so please don't be offended at me sounding off. I am just so frustrated. You wouldn't believe it. I have tried to complain. They told me where to send it. then When I called to see if they got it said it was the wrong place but that as I had already sent it they would forward it....still not found.
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Old Oct 7th 2009, 12:13 am
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Default Re: pension problems

No offence taken and I would believe how frustrated you feel.

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
How does someone living in another country have the ability to find these things out or know to ask about them if they have no connections with the homeland anymore.
This is the part I meant about how can the DWP be expected to track people down because of what might be important to each individual. It's just not possible to do that with the numbers involved even if they were all in the same place.

But, yes, once you ask questions, the answers should certainly come. And some other stuff too to cover other possibilities common to the situation.
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Old Oct 7th 2009, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
I understand and that seems to be the argument for the pension office. However if a question/inquiry as to eligibility for pension is posed, then I feel it is the obligation of the answering civil servant to volunteer any information to enable the inquirer to qualify. (eg. use of US quarters and payment of VC,) not just baldly state 10 years...you woldn't have enough. At least they should guide in the right direction. I trusted what they told me and didn't bother applying until what I was told by the US authorities caused me to check into it again. It never occurred to me that they could be wrong or just not feel like telling me. As for the obligation of the pensioner to find out for themselves....How does someone living in another country have the ability to find these things out or know to ask about them if they have no connections with the homeland anymore. If they manage to find a phone number to call for information, how could they possibly KNOW what to ask. I get pretty riled up at this. How many people in their 60's and older are not familiar with
computers and would still be ignorant of the facts.? If there is a department that deals with International pension claims, then they should be aware of the basics and be willing to share this basic information with the public who have every right to know their rights. Isn't that their job? OK off my soapbox...nothing personal intended. I have read your posts on other threads and have found them pretty informative and helpful so please don't be offended at me sounding off. I am just so frustrated. You wouldn't believe it. I have tried to complain. They told me where to send it. then When I called to see if they got it said it was the wrong place but that as I had already sent it they would forward it....still not found.
Two days ago I called the pension service and demanded to speak to whomever was in charge of complaints I was told the Claim department would contact me. I also put a trace on my letters which were listed as delivered but not logged as received.
Today, I received a message on my answering machine from the same woman who is handling my claim stating that they now have my letter of complaint and that she would return my documents tomorrow.
No explanation of what, if anything, will be done
How can a complaint be resolved by the same people I am complaining about?
It was her supervisor who was the worst. I know she will not admit errors and /or omissions just by our previous conversations. I guess I am supposed to guess the next step in this procedure.
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Old Oct 7th 2009, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: pension problems

Originally Posted by alba1 View Post
is anyone having problems with the international pension service? I feel that I am on a merry-go-round. I have applied for a UK pension and have received so many different and incorrect answers from the pension service that my head is spinning.
When I initially inquired, I was told I was not eligible at all as I did not work for the required time. I accepted this. Then I found out that I could use my US contributions and/or pay voluntary contributions so determined to apply.
Now I find that the time span for voluntary contributions has expired. I am so mad because if I had been informed correctly I would have paid VC.
I have sent in documents which cannot be found even though the US Post office tracking system says delivered. I also sent a letter of complaint. Once again registered mail and delivered but no one can find it. This is all very discouraging. I am not looking for something for nothing.
These are not large amounts but as I am hoping to return to UK with few assets and do not plan on claiming extra benefits, every little bit will help.
I believe you can buy back in for up to six years. Maybe this will give you the required years of contributions? Maybe this site will help:

http://www.pensionsorter.co.uk/


It would seem that there is a "Minimum Income Guarantee" for those with savings of less than 6000 pounds.

http://www.pensionsorter.co.uk/pensi...ple.html#bbbbb

Last edited by johnh009; Oct 7th 2009 at 9:09 pm.
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