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Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Old Jan 14th 2016, 12:43 am
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Default Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

My mother was born in England in 1928 and lived and worked in the London area until the age of twenty-four. She immigrated to the United States in 1953, where she has lived her life and resides there today. At 87 years of age, my mother is now recently widowed and trying to get by on reduced social security benefits and a small pension.

My brother and I have not been previously involved in my mother’s financial situation but we are now trying to help. We would like to see if she qualifies for some form of old age pension from the UK. My mother’s memory is starting to fail but we have some letters of recommendations from her past employers referencing dates of employment. She does not seem to have any other work record documentation and only remembers one number which consists of four letters and four numbers (ABCD 1234 format). We don’t know whether this is a National Identification Number, Employment Number, Health Insurance Number, Ration Book Number, or what.

Could someone provide points of contact or other helpful information that would get us on the right track?

Thanks,

Grant
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 12:56 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

I have no idea what the number is - there is no "national identification number" in the UK, and the next two things you mention don't exist either. I have no idea whether a ration book had a number.

FWIW a British National Insurance (NI] number (roughly equivalent to a US SSN, but not widely used other than by the government) is in the format AB123456C.

So long as you have your mother's full maiden/birth name and her date of birth, the Department for Work and Pensions should be able track down any records they have for her.

This is the page with contact information for the DWP from abroad. They are pretty helpful if you phone them, although one of the problems you face may be getting them to talk to you when you potententially/ obviously are not the person who is (potentially) eligible to claim.

As of today, they only pay if you have, I think, ten years of contributions to the state pension scheme (a "scheme" is not necessarily derogatory in the UK), so unless they apply some different rules for contributions so long ago I fear she may get nothing. Also, what happened between her starting work and leaving for the US? Was she married to a man also paying in to the UK state pension scheme? It used to be that a woman could get a pension based on her husband's contributions ..... I am guessing she was a war bride? So probably not, but if her husband did contribute then you would need his name and DoB too when you phone the DWP.

Oh, and you will find the DWP a breeze to deal with compared to the US SS Administration - you don't need lawyer to threaten to sue the DWP - if you're entitled to money, they pay it up willingly.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 14th 2016 at 1:08 am.
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 2:56 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Thanks so much for the information and quick response.

If the Department of Work and Pensions can track down her information with just her full name and date of birth, maybe this number thing is not so important. I see there was some National Registration Identity Card with number issued during the war years between 1939 and 1945, however the format is not correct either.

My father immigrated to the United States from England in 1952. He then sent for my mother once he got himself established, one year later. They were married in the United States but needless to say it didn’t last too long and they were divorced by 1958. I know he was in the British Navy for a period of time but I don’t know what his work record was while in the UK. He passed away 25 years ago and as far as I know he never drew a pension from the UK.

Thanks again for the information. Will initiate contact with the Department of Work and Pensions and see where that takes me.
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 3:04 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Originally Posted by flyfishguy View Post
Thanks so much for the information and quick response.

If the Department of Work and Pensions can track down her information with just her full name and date of birth, maybe this number thing is not so important. I see there was some National Registration Identity Card with number issued during the war years between 1939 and 1945, however the format is not correct either.

My father immigrated to the United States from England in 1952. He then sent for my mother once he got himself established, one year later. They were married in the United States but needless to say it didn’t last too long and they were divorced by 1958. I know he was in the British Navy for a period of time but I don’t know what his work record was while in the UK. He passed away 25 years ago and as far as I know he never drew a pension from the UK.

Thanks again for the information. Will initiate contact with the Department of Work and Pensions and see where that takes me.
You're welcome and good luck!
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 4:00 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Grant, my English mother had a very similar situation to yours: also born in 1928, worked in the London area, then immigrated to America in 1953.
My mum had begun working at the age of 14. She has since passed away, but in 2001 she managed to contact a very helpful employee with the DWP in the northeast of England. All this was over the telephone, mind you. She provided her full name, DOB, and several of the places she worked for in London from 1943 to 1953. Apparently, that was good enough for the DWP employee (at the time).
Unfortunately, my mum didn't qualify for a UK pension, as she had only worked 9 years and 9 months prior to immigrating. Sad, but true.
The DWP man explained, that had she worked the full 10 years, she would be eligible for a pension. So she missed it by just 3 months! My mum was gutted, to say the least.
Hope it all works out for your mother.
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 7:29 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Originally Posted by flyfishguy View Post
Thanks so much for the information and quick response.

If the Department of Work and Pensions can track down her information with just her full name and date of birth, maybe this number thing is not so important. I see there was some National Registration Identity Card with number issued during the war years between 1939 and 1945, however the format is not correct either.

My father immigrated to the United States from England in 1952. He then sent for my mother once he got himself established, one year later. They were married in the United States but needless to say it didn’t last too long and they were divorced by 1958. I know he was in the British Navy for a period of time but I don’t know what his work record was while in the UK. He passed away 25 years ago and as far as I know he never drew a pension from the UK.

Thanks again for the information. Will initiate contact with the Department of Work and Pensions and see where that takes me.
The UK had "National Service" (universal conscription) for males for a couple of decades after WWII. So probably your father's service in the Royal Navy was at that time. If I was you I'd phone the DWP as detailed by Pulaski, with both your mother's and father's names/DOBs at hand. Possibly there's an unclaimed service pension available. At least the DWP could tell you where to ask about the RN service record.
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 7:42 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

It is funny just how similar our stories could be if all the facts could be told. My mother also left school at fourteen and began work in an orphanage. Later she ended up working in the fashion industry in downtown London with Vogue and other women’s dress companies. She left England a couple of months shy of her twenty-fifth birthday.

I will try contacting the DWP and see if they can help us in any way. I think we may also be on the wrong end of the stick with this as I think my mother had some breaks in her employment through this period. I think she will also be just shy of qualifying but will have to at least try.

Thanks for your message and good luck to you in the future.
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Old Jan 14th 2016, 8:02 am
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Default Re: Qualifying Mom for a UK pension?

Robin1234,
I will inquire about my father's service record and possible RN service pension when I contact DWP. Thanks for your good suggestion.

Grant
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