This article was written by a dear friend two years ago who is sadly no longer with us.
Pensions and PIP. I should make it clear I am not an expert. This is about my experience, me versus the DWP and more importantly, what they go to great lengths not to tell you in order to hang on to your money.
Pensions, this is about claiming your State Pension.
By now you will have sighed, wept, cursed and screamed when you have discovered how many years you will have to wait until you can finally claim it. Is it still 60?? hah- NO!
Claim it. This is a very important phrase. Read on.
Let’s say you have discovered you will get your pension in March 2022.
1. You will not get it automatically. Not any more.
2. You will receive a bizarrely worded letter asking you if you would like to claim it 'early'. This based on our example will be in December 2019. I phoned and asked them what it meant. 'No it’s not clear is it '. Sigh.
3. You must go online and claim it. If you do not they will not pay you automatically on your March date.
4. Go to the DWP site, check when your pension is due and mark three months prior to that to go online and claim. If you don’t do this your pension may take three months to process from your start date.
5. Did you know you can opt to receive, weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments? They do not tell you this. They will pay you monthly. To change this phone the DWP and chose 'change of circumstances ' option. They will change your payment schedule immediately. Something else they don’t tell you.
We have read the harrowing stories of dying people losing their payments. This seems such a cruel new system.
I did not receive my assessment appointment letter, so the first thing I know about my claim, having completed the huge form, is a letter telling me I have been refused as I didn’t turn up.
I phoned them. This is so important please remember all of this, because yes, they don’t tell you.
1. I asked for them to reconsider. This was done over the phone.
2. I received a letter saying no change, their decision remains.
3. I phoned them and I was passed to my Claim Manager who was charming.
4. She told me that I should appeal and start a parallel claim. This sounded bizarre but it really is crucial.
5. By starting a new parallel claim, your benefits are reinstated. Who knew ?
6. My Claim Manager posted to me a copy of my original claim so I could copy it,
7. The letter telling me to go to tribunal if I want, had the wrong phone number and sent me to a government website for the courts that under the PIP heading said you couldn’t challenge this, nor was there a guide to making a protest. There were 700 pages of suggestions. Just not good enough.
8. Luckily the Citizens Advice Bureau had it all ready to go with the correct link for challenging. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/appeals/apply-to-tribunal/
9. The only thing you have be very careful about is time limits. Usually a month from the date of your letter.
So for the moment I have my DLA back whilst my new Claim goes through and I wait for my hearing. Who knows what will happen. I hope this helps someone who needs it.
EDITOR: Carolyn Soutar wrote this article in 2017. Maybe you have had a similar experience? If so, please email me and I will add yours to the article. You may wish to remain annonymous and of course I respect that.