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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. 60 hah.

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.

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.

Meet The Author...
Carolyn Soutar
Who Am I?

A born and bred Londoner happily settled in the beautiful Scarborough. I love music. Since I was 6 , when I started to learn the piano, this love has stayed with me.

At 3.a.m. when you just have to write, then music is the key. Along with the inevitable writer's cats, 2, who allow me to use my computer, the desk, the flat. You know.

My background is in theatre. I started in opera at the ENO, as a lowly Assistant Stage Manager. What a dream. Serenaded at 10.30 each morning by world class singers 8 years later I diverted to straight theatre, and worked with Peter O'Toole, Alan Bates, Janet Suzman, and a long list of amazing people. In 1981, I was given the chance to Stage Manage the Rudolf Nureyev seasons. It was a roller coaster of 5 years of ballet with Rudi. Dave Allen was a completely unexpected opportunity. This followed two tours with Peter O'Toole. I am and was star struck. I don't believe that any of us old theatre folk lose the ability to feel very nervous in front of a dressing room door containing one of our heroes.

I am very proud to have an event for the National Trust on my resume. It was for their centenary at West Wycombe, and it was, "The Battle of Trafalgar". I wrote and directed this, and felt very privileged that I was the first person to be commissioned to create an event for them. This was 1995. More events followed, then in 2004 either I had had enough of events or they of me, and writing called. I have been lucky enough to attend the Edinburgh International Literature Festival and a book signing in Cannes, France, and many others.

I have written two biographies. My motivation Mr de Mille? I knew them, worked with them, and though not by any means an academic Biographer, I knew I had a lot of insight to offer. Maybe the next one will be backstage tales, and there are a few of them. Hollywood starlets who cannot cope with 150 year old London dressing rooms, to wannabees who can't go on because their nail polish wasn't dry. I wonder how many volumes?

But my work in progress has to come next. It is my biography on Peter O'Toole, 'Hell Raiser', maybe. So many ideas, so many dreams.,/p>

So love of reading has to come next, or equally. How can you write without reading?

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