Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An appeal for help addressed to the Master of Balliol

Dear Master,

Since 2009 the Pension Service has charged me with the debt of £11,856.70. All my appeals to the Pension Service to revise their decision have been made in vain. It would be great if a Balliol lawyer could look into the matter.

Let me give you some basic facts. On March 20, 2015 I wrote to the Pension Service: “Today I have received your letter of 14/03/2015 in which you inform me of my pension. In the paragraph entitled ‘How your benefit is made up’ you write: ‘Basic State Pension £37.10. Pre 97 additional State Pension 2.85. Minus Adjustment of £13.00. The amount each week is £26.95.’ Would you explain to me on what basis you are making the Minus Adjustment of £13.00?”

In a letter of 31 March 2015 Glyn Caron replied: ‘I have been requested to reply to your letter of 20th March 2015. As you are aware you have an overpayment of Pension Credit to pay.’

In my letter of 4th April I wrote to her:
'What you wrote in your letter is wrong. I am not aware that I have ‘an overpayment of Pension Credit to pay’. I have been aware, of course, that in 2009 I have been charged with the debt of £11,856.70, and that ever since the pay I have been receiving was weekly lessened by a certain amount. In 2009 it was 9.50 a week, now it is £13.00 a week. All my attempts to learn on what basis I have been found in debt have thus far remained unanswered.
Those who asked you to reply to my letter ought to have given you access to the basic facts underlying the whole matter. Instead, you have been left in the dark. If you are not allowed an access to the facts, would you inform me to whom I should appeal, who would have the power to ask for and obtain an access to those facts?'

In a letter of 09 April she replied:
'I have been requested to reply to your email of 4th April 2015. Your initial enquiry was regarding the £13.00 minus adjustment to your State Pension which I feel I answered.'

So let me quote from my letter to the Pension Service of 7/10/2009, in which I responded to the only attempt the Pension Service has ever made to substantiate their claim that I have an overpayment of Pension Credit:
‘In a letter of 08/09/2009 you informed me that my Pension Credit was overpaid £158.34 for the period 06/07/2009-26/07/2009. I received the letter on Monday September 14. In the letter you stated: “The overpayment occurred because on 09/07/2009 your circumstances changed and the office that paid your benefit was not told at the correct time about a change to the level of earnings in your household.” This allegation is false. On 23 July 2009 I sent The Pension Service a letter, in which I informed you of my wife’s earnings for three days of supply teaching for the period 2 to 14 July, and I enclosed the three pay slips. I did so as soon as my wife received the pay. I did not contact you on the day I received your letter of 8/9, for I expected a visit from the Pension Service Customer Liaison Officer, announced for the next day, with whom I wanted to discuss the issue.

On September 15 I was visited by the Pension Service Customer Liaison Officer to whom I showed the relevant documents concerning the supposed overpayment. At that point she gave me your letter of 11 August 2009 in which you inform me that in the period from 01/08/2005 to 12/10/2008 I was overpaid £11,688.36, and from 13/10/2008 to 19/10/2008 I was overpaid £75.28, that is in total £11,763.64. I phoned your department in the officer’s presence, appealing against your decision.’

Today I received from the Pension Service a similar letter to the one I had received on March 14, 2015. I have reasons to believe that any further appeal on my part to the Pension Service would be futile. I made an attempt to obtain help from the Citizens Advice Bureau (see the entry of November 22, 2014), to no avail. May I hope that you will look into the matter?

I have discussed the matter on my blog in three entries: ‘An urgent request addressed to the Pension Service’ of June 10, ‘It is all wrong’ of June 15, and ‘It has nothing to do with Oxford University’ of June 19, 2015.

Many thanks in advance.
Julius Tomin

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