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    • mum of joey
    • By mum of joey 15th Sep 18, 1:28 AM
    • 55Posts
    • 20Thanks
    mum of joey
    DWP trying to get money back for capital I knew nothing of
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 18, 1:28 AM
    DWP trying to get money back for capital I knew nothing of 15th Sep 18 at 1:28 AM
    For background, I have debts of over £20,000 through taking out high-interest credit cards and loans, just to get by, and am in a debt management programme with StepChange. I have been receiving Guaranteed Pension Credit for 4 years plus housing benefit (not full).

    At the same time, a pension has recently 'come out of the woodwork', of which I had absolutely no knowledge over the past 29 years. (taken out when I opted out of SERPS, and I was unaware that it meant that a pension was taken out for me) I have had 14 addresses in those years and a letter has 'caught up with me' this year from the pension provider (thought by the PensionWise person that I saw to be a reminder, as they would not have ever heard from me in all these years and I am now 67 and need to take it by 75). It was in a surname that I haven't had since 2005. In fact, it almost got thrown out as I thought it was just junk mail.

    I informed the DWP by letter and followed it with a phone call when I heard nothing after many weeks. Apart from completely ignoring what I had put in the letter in front of her, the woman I spoke to DEMANDED to know why I hadn't taken out the pension when I was 55. She reduced me to tears and made me feel like a criminal - I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE PENSION, as I told her on the phone and in the letter. I drafted a letter of complaint but was worried about sending it in case they 'took it out' on me. They have now demanded figures from the pension provider in order to work out notional capital through 'deprivation of capital'.

    If they ignore the first £10,000, which I believe they do, that would leave almost £20,000 for them to base their figures on (obviously, it has gradually progressed to that figure so 4 years ago it would have been less). But, still, from what I can work out, it will run into £thousands but I'm not sure I'm working it out correctly or not.

    During those 4 years , I wouldn't have been able to live without the GPC. I could barely manage even WITH it, and I'm not a spendthrift. Of course, now I have this extra money, my benefits should be adjusted, of course they should, but to go back 4 years?

    But, having read the relevant sections of a handbook online for DWP employees on how they make decisions -

    1) Don't they have to prove that I deliberately deprived myself of capital in order to get benefits in order to demand repayment? I most certainly did not, and wouldn't have these terrible debts if I'd known for a second that I had a pension growing in the background for all these years. (There have been times when I have become suicidal because of the debts - why would I put myself through all that if I had a quick and easy income to make my life 100 times easier?) I never received any other communication until now.

    2) At the time, 4 years ago, I needed the GPC, which was to bring my income up to a 'liveable' income, and then debts crept up and up (half of it seems to be interest) I still desperately needed the GPC at that time. I had no alternative as I was in ignorance of the pension. That didn't change until April/May this year . If I suddenly won on a premium bond (I have 6 from the 1950s), would they expect me to repay them for benefits for the past 4 years? Surely not? It's the same thing as far as I can see. And with the pension, I didn't even have a bit of paper to show for it - at least with premium bonds, I would have known about them!

    3) Do the £20,000 worth of debts not figure in their calculations? It will take me 29 years to repay these at the rate I am paying, according to StepChange. I have some tax free cash and an annuity now, though I had to repay some recent debts not included in the debt management scheme for repairs to my very old car, which I use to take my household goods to auctions to get a few pounds and to visit my disabled son who lives 70 miles away (he can't get in my house). I understand that if I used any of that to pay off my debts at a quicker rate that I could be 'done' for capital deprivation because of that! It seems that whichever way I turn, the DWP will take everything I have, which will lead me to become so broke that I will immediately have to apply for Guaranteed Pension Credit again.

    4) I planned to appeal if they did all of the above and go to a Tribunal, which I believe I can do, and want to prove all that I have been saying. But I do want to be sure of my facts first. Every day, I wish I had never discovered this pension as it has taken over my life for the worse, and has meant more counselling for depression. I just can't see an end to it all.

    Could someone who knows the facts about how they work things out help, please? I keep reading different figures that they base it on - is it £1 a WEEK for every £250 or £500 over a certain level? I thought if it was a pension, they ignored the first £10,000 but I keep reading the figure '£6,000' capital limit in other posts.

    Thank you.
Page 2
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 16th Sep 18, 8:00 PM
    • 1,247 Posts
    • 852 Thanks
    When DWP do the calculations they should take into account any entitlement to Savings Credit that arises as a result of the income they calculate you should/could have been receiving.

    I think you really have to wait for DWP to come back to you with their calculations.
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