Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

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Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


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Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1

    Default Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    Not sure if I have a case here but I know you are a great bunch with heeps of intelligence between you so I thought I would give it a go.

    I had a small private pension from an previous employer some 30 years ago and due to circumstances decided to access it last year when I turned 55. Now I know what they say about keeping funds in the pot until your 60, which is when they would normally pay out, but the option was always there and I needed it, so applied.

    However, there was also a clause which said the following;

    We will deduct 27% from your benefits if you decide to take your pension early at age 55 (to preserve the pot for those that stay in the pension until they're 60)

    This can be reduced to 11% if you are experiencing financial hardship and have supporting evidence (not verbatum, but that's what it meant)

    Anyway, as my husband had died and I was out of work, having been his carer for 11 years (on & off) I duly applied for the 11% deduction due to hardship and sent in supporting evidence of his death, my financial commitments and bank statements to prove funds available.

    I received a lettericon just to say that my pension would be paid at the deduction rate of 27% and provided me with the breakdown accordingly.

    I was desperate and my sister was terminally ill at the time so was unable to contest it at the time. My sister has since died and I just wondered what type of situation I would have been expected to be in, in order to have qualififed for the higher pension payout?

    I'm inclined to call them later today but would be very interested in what your thoughts are please peeps?


  2. #2

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    It does make you wonder doesn't it ?

    Would it not be better to have their response in writing, Shelley ?


  3. #3

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    Hello Shelley.

    I've moved you from the media forum to the main pensions one and left you a link to follow.

    I agree with CB, you would be better getting this in writing. Once you have that, we can look for any points to argue with.

    What type of pension scheme is it please? Is it with an insurance company?

    HB


  4. #4

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    I have attempted to speak with the contact name who dealt with my application but to no avail.

    I have now sent an email to them (ex company pension scheme) requesting why my application was declined and furthermore, what constitutes 'exceptional circumstances' in order for their committee to award the higher rate.

    As this decision was made August last year, I have explained circumstances following the death of my sister which has only added to my 'exceptional circumstances', and naturally a delay.

    I will of course post back asap.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    Well, finally received a reply having chased this matter up again in April and here is their reply:

    I am writing further to your email dated 16th March 2016 and your telephone callicon on 8th April 2016. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

    I understand from both your telephone call and email that you wish to appeal against the 1994 Pensioners Section Pension's Committee's (the committee) decision to decline your application for the early payment of preserved benefits using the preferential reduction factors.
    The Committee considered your qpplication on xxxxxx2016, in line with the legal advice received. The Committee noted your finacial circumstnaces and that you were ty=he main carer for your daughter, however, it did not consider that sufficient evidence had been provided to support your claim of financial hardship, and it was noted that no information had been provided regarding your savings or other assets.

    The Committee resolvewd that a compelling case had not been made that oyur circumstances were exceptional and therefore declined your application for the early payment of preserved benefits using preferential reduction factors.

    As such, before any appeal can be considered, you would need to provide additional evidence in support of your application which has not previously been considered.

    If you cannot provide additional evidence, then any decision previously made would remain unchanged.

    I hope the information provided has clarified the situation, however, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

    Yours sincerely..........


    Now forgive me but considering they asked for all relevent supporting documentation together with income and expenditure (without providing an example listing) I provided my own version of income & expenditure detailing ALL relevent information and attached copies of most recent bills/expenses. As I have no savings /investments or any other assests I had none to declare.

    Having spoken to the writer of the above letter today it has left me feeling more frustrated because they cannot offer me any guidelines on their polocies or procedures to how the committee make a decision on 'exceptional circumstances' and I am bereft as to how to respond! The writer, sounded young in years and inexperienced suggested I explain my reasons for wanting to appeal based on the original evidence I submitted but then also suggested I submit my current circumstances for consideration.........Is that not not moving the goal post somehow? If that makes sense?

    Why should they consider my circumstances as NOW, when I am already in receipt of payment from last year? Surely, they wouldn't consider moving the goal post in my circumstances have changed in 5 years time, why should they consider them now? I am trying to appeal their decision from time of original application when clearly I had a monthly deficit in exces of 900 per month - words fail me..............Can anyone share an opinion/ advice or guidance as I believe I have to fight a 'Committee's' decision who are not governed by any other financial organisation i.e fosicon




  6. #6

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    obviouslty a defined benefit scheme and thus they are applying an actuarial reduction in the benefits for taking it early but have another hardship scheme that is at the discretion of the trustees. They are asking you to reapply offering evidence of hardship. The scheme has a clause that says exceptional hardship but no definition as to waht this is- that is normal- but it cannot be used as a blanket refusal to consider a claim becuse they will have to justify their decision and thus have some sort of quantifiable threshold.
    You can apply gain and ask the question about how they decide upon a threshold and if you dont get an answer you will have to follow the scheme disputes procedure. Once this is exhausted you can ask the Pensions Ombudsmanicon to intervene and if necessary, make a determination. This takes a year to two years to run its course under normal circumstances so I would suggest you dont accept the reduced pension and hope to get the bigger one but claim the hardship pension and delay accepting anything until the ombudsman has said their bit.
    There have been determinations in favour of pensioners on this matter but generaly they just force the pension trustees look again at their decisions based on a lack of having a description of exceptional by showing that they havent ever made an exception.
    It may well be qworth asking how many "exceptional" claims they have agreed to as this may well be the killer.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    Hello Shelley.

    Have you asked someone like TPAS, the pensions advisory service for their advice on this? Link below.

    http://www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/

    HB


  8. #8

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    Quote Originally Posted by ericsbrother View Post
    obviouslty a defined benefit scheme and thus they are applying an actuarial reduction in the benefits for taking it early but have another hardship scheme that is at the discretion of the trustees. They are asking you to reapply offering evidence of hardship. The scheme has a clause that says exceptional hardship but no definition as to waht this is- that is normal- but it cannot be used as a blanket refusal to consider a claim becuse they will have to justify their decision and thus have some sort of quantifiable threshold. That's exactly my point!
    You can apply gain and ask the question about how they decide upon a threshold and if you dont get an answer you will have to follow the scheme disputes procedure. I can't reapply because it is already in payment at the reduced amount but I have asked to appeal their decision and my post #5 above was their response. Once this is exhausted you can ask the Pensions Ombudsmanicon to intervene and if necessary, make a determination. This takes a year to two years to run its course under normal circumstances so I would suggest you dont accept the reduced pension I had to accept the reduced amount last year in July because my husband had died and to wait a further 1-2 years whilst the ombudsman makes a decision, I could possible be hoimeless by then and hope to get the bigger one but claim the hardship pension and delay accepting anything until the ombudsman has said their bit.
    There have been determinations in favour of pensioners on this matter but generaly they just force the pension trustees look again at their decisions based on a lack of having a description of exceptional by showing that they havent ever made an exception. This is what I was trying to establish from my appeal, what do they determine as 'exceptional/hardship factors but they have just fluffed around their response as above
    It may well be qworth asking how many "exceptional" claims they have agreed to as this may well be the killer.
    I notice that Honeybee13 has posted a website for me to look into - you wouldn't believe how many things I have googled and not found this one but I will certainly be calling then tomorrow, thanks hb13.



  9. #9

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    I hope they can help, Shelley, please let us know how you get on.

    HB


  10. #10

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    I called them hb but the person I spoke to didn't tell me anything I didn't already know or plan to do.

    I intend to call them again next week and hopefully get to speak to someone different.

    What's frustrating me is everyone is suggesting I provide details of my current circumstances - an appeal is about the circumstances at the time of the application! They can't have it both ways. I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't


  11. #11

    Default Re: Private pension not helpful in circumstances

    the problem with all of this is that it is about interpretation of rules and not about people. If you are right and die in the meanwhile that wont change the methodology or speed things get dealt with.



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