On 17 August 2022 [as I was approaching my 80th birthday] I received a letter from the UK Department of Work and Pensions [DWP]. It said that I must send them a professionally witnessed certified notification that I am still alive back to the DWP in order for me to continue to receive my measly State Pension of £92.49 per week. The letter said that if the DWP did not receive my reply within 16 weeks of the date of the letter then my pension payments would be stopped.
The letter is dated 27 March 2022. Incidentally, that was a Sunday. Am I to believe that the United Kingdom Government's Department of Work and Pensions write official letters on Sundays, or indeed, at weekends? There was no dated postmark on the envelope. Thus, I received the letter 20 weeks and 3 days after the date on the letter. Consequently, there was never any possibility of my being able to get the reply to the DWP within 16 weeks of the date on the letter.
So I have — at least for the time being — lost my pension, which is the only income I have.
The time taken for this letter to arrive is so far removed from the norm between the UK and Brazil that it begs the question in my mind as to when the letter was really posted. It conjures up notions that perhaps the letter was intentionally posted very late in order for the DWP to have an excuse to stop my pension and thereby save this disgracefully small pittance for their precious British voting tax-payers.
Notwithstanding, I telephoned a lawyer and arranged for him to come to witness my signing of the so-called Life Certificate form. He came to my house [am not quite so mobile any more] and witnessed my act of signing on Monday 22 August 2022. That was only 5 days after I received the letter and was the earliest he could manage. At 09:53 the next day [Tuesday 23 August] I submitted the letter to DHL for rapid return to the UK. That was an expense I could have done without. DHL advised me that it had been delivered to the DWP at 10:24 on Tue 30 August 2022. That was a total transit time of 7 days. So the DWP received my reply 22 weeks and 2 days after the letter was purportedly posted.
My Internet service became intermittent and unreliable from 03 August 2022 and the service was terminated definitively on 21 September because the ISP, Oi, decided to discontinue its ADSL service via copper wire, intending to transfer it to optical fibre. I was unable to get Internet access again until 15 October 2022 from a different ISP. Consequently I was unable to access my bank account to see if my State Pension payments had been reinstated. On Sunday 16 October 2022 I was able to verify that the payment of my State Pension of £92.49 a week had been reinstated. As an 80 year old pensioner I found this whole experience rather traumatic. back