If you have been keeping up with events, you’ll know I have been having some major hassles with my state pension. I now have this sorted, at least in part because of the masterly intervention of Citizens Advice. Those guys are good. They know their stuff, and have heard every bit of official obfuscation ever.
I’d been lied to by the DWP. ‘You’re not entitled to a state pension until September 2019.’
‘That isn’t true. I’ve used the pension age calculator on your own website, and I was eligible from 4th April 2018. And pensions are calculated in years, not months. It can’t run from a year and a half.’
Funnily the line went dead. Bad connection, or did she cut me off? Take a guess. Stonewalling? Jerk them about till they give up in sheer frustration after a 30 minute wait on hold? Take your pick. We certainly waited in excess of 30 minutes, but as the CA advisor said, it’s her job to wait.
When my CA advisor and I got back in touch, the guy on the other end of the line could not have been more courteous and helpful. He confirmed I needed to have claimed my pension. I didn’t know that. He let me claim on the phone.
‘OK, we know you, you have a claim in for you now. You’re owed a bit. A year is, errrmmm, £9879. Then £184 a week.’
‘That’s useful, given I am broke. When can I get the back payments?’
‘It will be in your bank after five working days.’
‘That’s no use to me. I’m broke now. I have no money. None. Do you get that? I have nothing. Because you have made mistakes.’
‘Hmm. OK. Give me a minute.’
He came back. ‘I can’t release all the back payments. But I can release you, say, a thousand pounds, then the rest will follow next week.’
‘That sounds good. I can eat and keep a roof over my head. You have been very helpful. I thank you,’
‘I have no idea what you are going through.’
‘You did well.’
Here’s a thing. Last weekend, a friend had clocked what troubles I was going through. He turned up, shoved a ton in my hand.
‘Jesus, X, I don’t know when, or even if, I can pay you back.’
He gave me a look.
‘Did I ask you for it back? Did I tell you it was a loan? If our were positions were reversed, you’d do the same for me wouldn’t you?’
‘Yes, I would.’
‘So you can shut the fuck up.’