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Pension Credit review
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# 1
pambie
Old 05-03-2012, 6:05 PM
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Default Pension Credit review

In August last year the pension service said that they wanted to review my Pension Credit and would I send them copies of all my bank statements.
I did this and received a letter saying I would hear the result within 3 weeks. Since them I have heard nothing. That's over six months. I have called and written to them a few times but just get a 'still under review' answer.
Is this normal?
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# 2
Richie-from-the-Boro
Old 05-03-2012, 8:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pambie View Post
In August last year the pension service said that they wanted to review my Pension Credit and would I send them copies of all my bank statements.
I did this and received a letter saying I would hear the result within 3 weeks. Since them I have heard nothing. That's over six months. I have called and written to them a few times but just get a 'still under review' answer.
Is this normal?
- there are different types of review :

- .1. an amount of claims are selected at random and lightly investigated
- .2. the AIP selects a particular claim for expected changes
- .3. the Green Division selects a particular claim for clawback

If after the initial PC is awarded a client receives a [COD] Private Pension and does not notify the pensions service, they will eventually be informed by the HMRC when tax is deducted and a P60 issued.

So .1. would be .. .. you were a random check .2. would be where the original claim for Pension Credit was awarded for a period of less than five years and then looked at again in say two years, and .3. would be where they have found something you should have but did not notify them about, such as for example a Private Pension that would lead to a [COD] contracted out deduction.

Why six months - I've no idea, they obviously don't have, and can't find sufficient information on whatever the heck they thought they had in the first place, so try not to concern yourself with it, just forget about it until they make further contact with you.
Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
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# 3
mrsyardbroom
Old 06-03-2012, 7:05 PM
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They took seven months to deal with our pension credits when we had to send in bank statements etc. and they just kept saying they were behind. We were due for an increase in the amounts they paid to us. Now we've found that we will no longer be eligible to claim and guess what. They managed to deal with the paperwork in just seven days!
Incidentally, now that we're 65 we will be living below the minimum amount the state says you need to live on. Great isn't it? You save and save for your retirement and then they kick you in the teeth and say you have too much in savings and so you have to pay full council tax.
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# 4
uponahill
Old 06-03-2012, 7:18 PM
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Don't get me started on THAT shower in Glasgow!

They never reply to a letter and they never return a phone call.

There are that many quirks in the system that they themselves don't know what they are doing.

You are better off keeping away from them.

And you just try to back them in a corner and expect an honest reply - the thing they do best to to Suspend payments and not tell you why and what you can do about it and best off all they have a really good habit of closing claims down for any little reason!

As for CTB, they are just the same, well advised to steer clear and just pay your way!

You just wouldn't believe the volume of paperwork I have of matters that have been cocked up with both of them - 5 ring files, each 3" thick covering the past 3 years!!!
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# 5
McKneff
Old 06-03-2012, 7:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsyardbroom View Post
They took seven months to deal with our pension credits when we had to send in bank statements etc. and they just kept saying they were behind. We were due for an increase in the amounts they paid to us. Now we've found that we will no longer be eligible to claim and guess what. They managed to deal with the paperwork in just seven days!
Incidentally, now that we're 65 we will be living below the minimum amount the state says you need to live on. Great isn't it? You save and save for your retirement and then they kick you in the teeth and say you have too much in savings and so you have to pay full council tax.
I dont understand the last bit of your post. The minimum amount the state says you can live on is around 209 per week, Both your state pensions must far outweigh this. You may also have SP2 and private pensions if you have been wise enough to save, you may have been wise enough to pay into pensions.
Dont get me wrong, My OH and I have retired, cant claim anything, not even pension credit but we can easily manage on our state pension(including Sp2 which we have earned).And we pay full council tax too. I'm responsible for me and quite happy to be so.

edited to change the weekly amount, apologies.
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Last edited by McKneff; 06-03-2012 at 8:10 PM.
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# 6
uponahill
Old 06-03-2012, 7:56 PM
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Currently a couple are guaranteed 209.70 a week. Add to that if both get the lowest rate of Attendance Allowance and each claim to care for each other, that goes up to 382.30 a week plus the Attendance Allowance payments of 49.30 for each of them. Add to that they will pay no council tax - saving say 26 a week and full housing benefit of say 100.00 a week OR instead the mortgage interest of up to 70.00 a week.

So in that example the couple are said to need 452.30 if they have a mortgage under Pension Credit, with another 99.00 a week in disability payments + CTB of 26.00 a week

Not bad for a pensioner couple!!
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# 7
McKneff
Old 06-03-2012, 8:09 PM
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bl oo dy hell, its no wonder the country is is such a mess,
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# 8
Richie-from-the-Boro
Old 06-03-2012, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsyardbroom View Post
They took seven months to deal with our pension credits when we had to send in bank statements etc. and they just kept saying they were behind. We were due for an increase in the amounts they paid to us. Now we've found that we will no longer be eligible to claim and guess what. They managed to deal with the paperwork in just seven days!
Incidentally, now that we're 65 we will be living below the minimum amount the state says you need to live on. Great isn't it? You save and save for your retirement and then they kick you in the teeth and say you have too much in savings and so you have to pay full council tax.
Unless the reduction is as a result of an overpayment recovery arrangement made with you :

- its a ball
- it rolls this way and that
- pension credit is also an enabling [Guarantee Credit] benefit
- reapply for everything council tax / housing benefit / mortgage interest etc
Disclaimer : Everything I write on this forum is my opinion. I try to be an even-handed poster and accept that you at times may not agree with these opinions or how I choose to express them, this is not my problem. The Disabled : If years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years - Alf Morris - ℜ
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# 9
mrsyardbroom
Old 07-03-2012, 7:20 AM
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Quote:
I dont understand the last bit of your post. The minimum amount the state says you can live on is around 209 per week, Both your state pensions must far outweigh this.
In April our pensions will exceed the amount we need to live on by about 30p per week. The mistake we made was to have just over 16000 in savings. Apparently we have a much larger income from the interest earned on our savings (I wish) and because we have exceeded the 16000 limit we will have to pay full council tax. I don't know exactly how much this will be but I'm expecting something in the region of 100 per month. We'll get a small amount of pension savings credit but because of our savings they start to claw back the amount you would have got if you hadn't saved more than 10000. It hardly seems worth saving for your retirement.
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# 10
Anubis
Old 07-03-2012, 7:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uponahill View Post
Currently a couple are guaranteed 209.70 a week. Add to that if both get the lowest rate of Attendance Allowance and each claim to care for each other, that goes up to 382.30 a week plus the Attendance Allowance payments of 49.30 for each of them. Add to that they will pay no council tax - saving say 26 a week and full housing benefit of say 100.00 a week OR instead the mortgage interest of up to 70.00 a week.

So in that example the couple are said to need 452.30 if they have a mortgage under Pension Credit, with another 99.00 a week in disability payments + CTB of 26.00 a week

Not bad for a pensioner couple!!
Lot of ifs in there. My in laws get nothing, they both paid into pension schemes and are just above. They don't get mortgage payments or HB either, they get zero. There are two sides to every coin!
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# 11
uponahill
Old 07-03-2012, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsyardbroom View Post
In April our pensions will exceed the amount we need to live on by about 30p per week. The mistake we made was to have just over 16000 in savings. Apparently we have a much larger income from the interest earned on our savings (I wish) and because we have exceeded the 16000 limit we will have to pay full council tax. I don't know exactly how much this will be but I'm expecting something in the region of 100 per month. We'll get a small amount of pension savings credit but because of our savings they start to claw back the amount you would have got if you hadn't saved more than 10000. It hardly seems worth saving for your retirement.
This is a common problem. Council Tax benefit is not as forgiving as regards capital and add on premiums such as housing costs as is Pension Credit.

As you have found out that because of that 30p you receive over the PC limit, it will effectively cost you 1000's in Council Tax!!

This is causing a problem with many others from April. The State Pension has gone up by more than the PC limit, and as such many pensioners that are within GPC now, will lose that protection after April. In other words their State Pension increase will, like you, tip them over the limit!!

I don't think that this was the intention, but it is what is happening.

Wouldn't it be so nice to give away that 35p a week and be entitled to GPC of just 5p? For that, you will save, as I have said, 1,000's in CT and loss of add on premiums.
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# 12
uponahill
Old 07-03-2012, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
Lot of ifs in there. My in laws get nothing, they both paid into pension schemes and are just above. They don't get mortgage payments or HB either, they get zero. There are two sides to every coin!
Of course there are.

But I have not yet met any pensioner that doesn't have some level of disability that could give them the lowest rate of AA.

Then we are back at the argument as to what is a disability.

Let the government decide on that one, they seem to have more knowledge than the pensioner does.
I know of one case where within the past 5 years he has had two dizzy spells only because he stood up too quick. Yet SS had him complete an AA claim and he was awarded the lower rate!!

To me that is taking it a bit too far, but hey the government makes the rules and they say he is disabled!!
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# 13
mrsyardbroom
Old 07-03-2012, 2:28 PM
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The problem is that with Pension credits they disregard the first 10000 of your savings but after that they say you are getting 1 a week for every 500 you've saved. This adds to your income so that even if your pensions only just go over the PC limit the "larger income" from your savings will put you well above the limit. I'm earning as much as I can online so that we can keep our heads above water.

One thing for people with pets. We have two dogs and I keep some savings to pay for vet's bills rather than pay for insurance every month. You can see where this is going! With the benefit of hindsight I'd have been better paying the money into insurance for the dogs and not into our savings account. We would probably have been below the 16000 limit.
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# 14
dodger1
Old 07-03-2012, 2:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uponahill View Post
This is causing a problem with many others from April. The State Pension has gone up by more than the PC limit, and as such many pensioners that are within GPC now, will lose that protection after April. In other words their State Pension increase will, like you, tip them over the limit!
Can only speak as a single person but the state pension is rising by 5.30 in April and the pension guarantee credit is rising by 5.35.
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# 15
uponahill
Old 07-03-2012, 3:07 PM
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Can only speak as a single person but the state pension is rising by 5.30 in April and the pension guarantee credit is rising by 5.35.
Yes for a single person.

But for a couple the State Pension is rising by 5.30 x 2 = 10.60,
yet the couple rate for Pension Credit is only going up by 8.20!

So if the couple are already close to the current GPC limit of 209.70 (say 2 x SRP = 204.30pw + other income 5.00pw), with the April increase their income will be 2 x SRP = 214.90pw + other income 5.00pw giving a total of 219.90pw which is 2.00 OVER the GPC limit.

As such they will lose all of the add on benefits of receiving GPC and will quite likely end up having to pay their council tax of say 26.00pw!!

Not a bad result for the government - give them a rise of 10.60 and end up with a CT bill of say 26.00!!!
The poor old pensioner is being seen to be doing their bit too - nearly 16 a week worse off this year than they were last year.

And if you say it doesn't happen like that, I can tell you it does!

If I could 'lose' 18 of weekly income, I would get GPC and pay no CT - a saving of 29.00 a week. On top of that because I get a contributory benefit I pay tax on it. My tax bill for last year was just under 500 (9.62 a week).

I would willingly get rid of the 18 excess income I have coming in as in doing so, I would receive 38.62 - I would be 20.62 better off by being on GPC!!
And the government will not allow me to give up the contributory benefit to get that end result - they will treat it as a deprived income!

I think that this is the thin edge of the wedge. They are phasing out Pension Credit in light of the new fixed State Pensions coming in in a few years time. The value of Pension Credit will be eroded away and more will become liable to pay council tax!!

Last edited by uponahill; 07-03-2012 at 3:20 PM.
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# 16
mrsyardbroom
Old 08-03-2012, 12:40 PM
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I have hit upon a possible solution to our problem. I will pay the whole of the council tax and water rates in one go. This will reduce our savings to below the 16000 threshold. I've just done an online calculation that says with the reduced savings we will be eligible for Council Tax Benefit. We should also be entitled to 1.20 a week more in pension savings credit as our savings will have been reduced.
Can anyone in the know tell me if there's anything that would stop me doing this? I know you aren't supposed to spend your savings in order to claim benefits but this is paying for essential bills.
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# 17
fluffymovie
Old 08-03-2012, 1:09 PM
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Mrsyardbroom

If you pay in one go when the bill is asking for 10 monthly payments, this could be seen as deprivation. It isn't that you aren't supposed to spend money to claim benefit, it's legislation.

If you have had this capital for some years and only now, decide to pay your bills in advance, this would flag as a concern to any benefit officer with experience.

Unfortunately, the law is the law and the rules do exist. However worthy you may feel the cause, it would be doing something that is against the regulations. If you did spend the money and they found it was deprivation, you wouldn't have the capital and wouldn't get the benefit either.
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# 18
mrsyardbroom
Old 08-03-2012, 4:29 PM
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We haven't had to pay the council tax as we had the guarantee pension credit so we haven't been paying by monthly installments. In the past we have paid both by monthly installments and by lump sum depending on our circumstances. I really don't want to pay by monthly installments, I'd prefer to just pay the whole lot in one go. We do have some essential repairs to do to the house this year so that will take care of some of our savings and it will certainly take us below the 16000 savings limit.
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# 19
Anubis
Old 08-03-2012, 5:59 PM
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If you have paid by lump sum previously and can find proof of that, then IMHO they can't really use depravation of capital however, ring them and check it out as it is only my opinion, not fact
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