Back to Home Page
These letters, written by members, may help you compose your own claims to the DWP.
Write to the DWP and claim your uprating. Base your claim on the actual facts in your case. Maybe you were never told about freezing until after you retired or after you emigrated. Maybe you paid voluntary contributions and were not told about freezing.
If you have some SERPS pension, tell them that if you had known about freezing it might have affected your decision on whether or not to contract out.
Here is a specimen letter you may wish to follow in making a claim for uprating.
Print it out, make such changes as applies to your situation, and then write out a fresh copy to send to the UK. Send a copy of your letter to the MP for the constituency where you last resided.
Department of Work and Pensions
Tyneview Park, Whitley Road,
Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne
UK. NE 98 1BA.
By e-mail: POD-Customer-Care-BA@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Roy xxxxxx ZK xxxxxxxxxx
Sheila xxxxxxxx ZS xxxxxxxxxx
I wish to claim uprating ie indexation of my UK pension when it becomes due. My wife commenced to receive her pension last year and also claims indexation.
During the years that we contributed to the scheme as UK residents, no one ever told us that one day our pensions might be frozen.
We both contributed to varying degrees after we left England to work abroad in 1969, in Tanzania until 1974, Australia until 1977, Paraguay until late 1978 and after finally settling in Australia at the end of 1978.
During those years abroad we inquired about contributions, and made contributions from these three countries. We were never told during that time that pensions could be frozen after commencement, depending upon which country we eventually resided in. Surely it was behoven of the DWP to have warned us of this?
I refer to what I believe is the National Audit Office report on SERPS as to what reasonable expectations citizens might have of Government departments, such as the DWP, including being advised of changes affecting entitlements.
The first time we became aware of UK pensions being "frozen" for residents of Australia was around 1990 through an acquaintance who lives in South Australia.
Being an Accountant (& Hon Branch Secretary of the UK based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), it is difficult to believe that if I had been told of the non-indexing aspect, I would not have remembered. It was, I recollect, a shock to discover about freezing in 1990.
We therefore repeat our claims for indexation, and look forward to hearing from you favourably.
By the way - this writer has letters from the DSS (now the DWP) telling him how much to pay as voluntary contributions, but making no mention of freezing; and this at a time when he was residing in a "frozen" country.
Here is another, composed by another member.
As I neared pensionable age, it was my reasonable expectation that my lifetime of contributions had purchased for me a state retirement pension on the same basis as my fellow contributors. I therefore contacted DHSS (as it then was) from Germany where I was living and working. I quote below from the exchange of letters over a period of several years.
In its first significant letter under reference 183/7898, DHSS wrote:
13/9/84 'You have paid sufficient contributions to entitle you to 91% of the standard rate retirement pension . . . ' which incidentally completely refutes the UK government contention that there is no arithmetic relationship between contributions and the amount of benefit paid.
28/10/84 I wrote to DHSS that, despite a
lifetime of drafting and interpreting legal contracts, I was
' . . totally bemused by DHSS leaflets . . . '
The correspondence exchange also concerned my wife's pension entitlement. DHSS had stated the amount of pension she could expect to receive, then under reference 183/31902/OVB/B1J wrote:
14/5/85 ' . . . this information was incorrect unfortunately . . .' They were at great pains to refund some voluntary contributioins my wife had paid on the basis of their incorrect advice, even completing a claim form with the appropriate word for my wife to sign.
DHSS recommended that I should make additional voluntary contributions and wrote:
13/8/86 ' . . .(we) confirm that when all relevant contributions have been paid you will qualify for a UK retirement pension at the standard rate'
11/1/87 I wrote 'In order to complete my pension planning (which is the purpose of this correspondence) I need to make an estimate of the entitlement'.
DHSS gave me those estimates in a series of letters:
2/2/87, 14/4/87. 7/11/88, 18/11/88, 3/1/89. and 28/3/89.
AT NO TIME IN THIS CORRESPONDENCE WITH AN EXISTING EXPATRIATE WAS IT EVER INDICATED THAT THE UNITED KINGDOM OPERATED A DISCRIMINATORY POLICY BY WHICH THE AMOUNT OF PENSION ACTUALLY PAID WOULD DEPEND ON THE COUNTRY CHOSEN FOR RESIDENCE IN RETIREMENT.
1/10/90 I wrote from Australia to say I had learned that my pension would be frozen and expressed concern at the effect of inflation.
23/11/90 DHSS responded not with a reasoned explanation but offering merely a political diatribe.
4/1/91 I submitted the completed forms to apply for a pension, adding that I was claiming even-handed treatment with all those who had made equal contributions.
I received no reply, nor have I received satisfaction from any protest made subsequently.
Recently the National Audit Office issued its report into the fiasco of widow's pension under SERPS. Some of its conclusions are entirely relevant to my situation and to the failure of DHSS to warn me in an exchange of correspondence over seven years that my choice of country of residence would crucially affect the pension I would eventually receive, despite my reasonable expectations. I quote:
"2.11 The issue of what reasonable expectations citizens might have of government departments, including the DWP, is important, particularly in the light of the Modernising Government initiative. Many citizens have accrued pension benefits with preserved rights, through payment of National Insurance Contributions. Many of these people have expectations of a customer-oriented service, mainly because of the long-term nature of the benefits, and the fact that they have paid contributions (representing their own money) into the state pension scheme. Expectations have also been raised by the example of private sector pension schemes, which are required by law to be pro-active in informing customers regularly about their accounts and changes to scheme regulations, providing pension projections, and contacting customers if mistakes are discovered.
2.13 Another aspect of what are reasonable expectations is whether it is acceptable for changes to be made to pension arrangements without contributors to a scheme being advised personally. Members of private sector pension schemes can expect to be notified individually of any significant changes affecting their pension entitlement, and some people have suggested that SERPS services to citizens should be developed in a similar way. This is evidenced by the proposed amendment to the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill that "the Secretary of State shall in regulations make provision for the notification of additional pension contributors of any changes to the additional pension that will materially affect their entitlement."
I therefore restate my claim for evenhanded treatment with all those who have made equal contributions. Please let me have a statement of all amounts actually paid since the first pension payment and the amount which should have been paid allowing for full uprating. This applies to all the components of my pension - basic, additional and graduated. Then kindly make arrangements to refund the total amount incorrectly deducted.
If you are unable to action this, then be good enough to forward this message to the appropriate authority under the complaints procedure.