Claiming my state pension.With the date of the completion of my sixty-fifth year approaching I investigated, with the aid of the internet (I'm a silver surfer), the procedure for claiming my state pension. By now I should have received an authorisation letter inviting me to complete my claim, online if I wished to, but I haven't. The advice on the Government website is that if the letter doesn't arrive then a telephone call to the pensions office is needed.
I telephoned the helpline with the aim of getting a copy of the missing letter. After a long wait, holding on the line for a real person to answer, I was connected to an extremely helpful lady. I gave her my name and explained my predicament.
“That's not a problem, Mr. Sampford, If you have ten minutes free at the moment I can help you complete your claim,” said the nice lady.
“I'm happy to apply online, later this month, if you can give me a code number or something to authorise me to start my claim when I'm ready.”
“Whilst you're on the phone why not do it now Mr. Sampford? It won't take us long.”
“Well, I don't have all my documents in front of me that I might need.”
“That's not a problem, I can wait if you need any. Let's wait and see if any are needed.”
“Can you confirm your full name.”
I answered the six or seven questions that were put to me.
“That's fine Mr Sampford we've completed your application. If you would like to hang on, I will calculate what your pension will be.”
I only wanted the authorisation to complete my claim online at a later date; but, after an eleven-and-one-half-minute phone call, I'd claimed my pension, knew how much it will be, and when the first payment will be. I'm certainly not complaining about the excellent service I received, from the very, very, nice lady. But, I wasn't ready to have my progression into the reality of being a state pensioner brought home to me so soon. I wanted a little more time to prepare myself.
Concessionary Travel – Bus Pass.
Although Natalie and I had been eligible to have a 'free bus pass' for sometime we had not bothered to apply for one before today. I had downloaded the application forms from the County Council's website a few months ago but left them hiding in the filing cabinet.
Yesterday evening, spurred on by my pension encounter during the day, the decision was made, to go the whole hog on the road to senior citizenship, to claim for our old person's bus pass. The application forms were completed; in black ink and with all writing within the designated boxes; copies of the required supporting documents made, and a passport type photograph of each of us found.
Based on our not too distant experience of bureaucracy within local government; admittedly in Spain during the past six years, but that is possibly another story; we decided to get to the council offices as soon after 09:30 hrs. (opening time) as possible. We decided to take a chance and not carry emergency food and drink supplies in case of a long wait – we would have done in Spain.
We arrived at City Hall at 09:42 hrs. – according to the purchased parking ticket – and entered the building with a degree of trepidation: which office did we need to find; how long would the queue be; had we brought all the correct documents; when would we see daylight again.
We need not have worried. We were dealt with by friendly and efficient members of staff. Only twenty-five minutes had gone by when we walked out of the building with our new bus passes tucked safely away amongst our many other plastic cards.
What was worrying though was the way I looked admiringly at my new symbol confirming I'm a Senior Citizen now.
Is a Senior Railcard the next stop?
© Elliot Sampford 2013