Business

Confusion over UK pension

TELL Claudienne

Claudienne Edwards

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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Dear Claudienne,

My husband and I lived and worked in Britain and returned to live in Jamaica in 1984. My husband and I have been receiving State pension from the UK since 1984.

My husband's UK pension reference no. is ZX... and my pension reference no is ZW...

Our pensions are usually sent from the UK to the Scotiabank, New Kingston branch, where my husband and I have a joint account. However, for some time now only one pension has been credited to our Scotiabank account monthly via Citibank Europe Interbank State Pension and Widows Benefits.

I have made several calls over the years to the International Pension Centre in the UK to inform them that only one pension payment is being now received. Each time I have been told that the two payments were sent.

When I tell Scotiabank that the UK pensions office has told me that they have been sending two pensions to our joint account, the bank has told me that they have only beenreceivings one pension.

We urgently need the money for medical and other expenses and would appreciate your help in finding out from Scotiabank why only one pension is being lodged to our account.

EK

Dear EK

Tell Claudienne requested Scotiabank to provide you with statements for your joint account and note that you received statements for the years 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and for November and December 2012.

The UK Pensions office does not send your pensions directly to Scotiabank in Jamaica. The pensions are sent through an intermediary bank which sends the cheques to the bank(s) in Jamaica for lodgement to your Scotiabank account.

You gave Tell Claudienne copies of the bank statements you received from Scotiabank. Analysis of the statements by Tell Claudienne showed that for nine months of 2017, only one pension was credited to your joint account by Scotiabank. Three pension payments were credited to your joint account in October and December 2016. For five months in 2015 — ie January, February, March, April, May — only one pension was credited to your joint account. However, in November 2015, three pension payments were credited to your Scotiabank account.

For six months in 2014, — ie July, August, September, October, November, December — only one pension was credited to your joint account. In 2013, three pension payments were credited to your account in July and December.

With the assistance of Tell Claudienne you were able to send the Scotiabank statements to the International Pension Centre, Tyneview Park, Whitley Road, Benton, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE98 1BA. The Pensions Office was requested to do an investigation to establish where the monies that you have not received went.

In January 2018 Tell Claudienne spoke to a member of the Compliance/Citibank Team, Department for Works and Pensions Newcastle Pensions Centre in the UK and they said that they had been in receipt of the letter and bank statements since January 5, 2018. We requested that they do an investigation into your case, and on different occasions pension spokespersons told us that they would immediately take the letter and statements to the banking team at the pensions centre office.

In a telephone conversation with Jill at the UK International Pension Centre on January 29, Tell Claudienne was informed that since February 2017, at your request your pension was being sent to an account that you had at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) branch in Half- Way-Tree. JNBS has confirmed that they began receiving your pension payments from the UK in March 2017.

Tell Claudienne also contacted the Consular Affairs Department Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and requested that the Jamaica High Commission in the UK assist you in this matter. A copy of the letter that was sent to the UK pensions office listing the years and months when Scotiabank received only one pension payment was also sent to the Ministry.

On March 8, 2018, an e-mail sent to the minister counsellor at the Jamaica High Commission in the UK by the UK pensions office was sent to Tell Claudienne by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The letter stated the following:

“I have tried to contact you by phone today, but have been unable to receive a reply.

I have spoken with Mrs EK and asked her permission to discuss her State Pension with you and she has agreed.

I have checked all her payments that have been issued to her account with the Bank of Nova Scotia from November 2012 against the bank statement that she sent in and can confirm that all payments that have been issued are showing as being credited as per her bank statement. Therefore she has received all payments made to the Bank of Nova Scotia.

I explained to her that from 25/06/2007-18/05/2014 payments were made to the Bank of Nova Scotia;

From 19/05/2014-14/06/2015 payments were made to the Jamaica National Building Society;

From 15/06/2015-19/02/2017 payments were made to the Bank of Nova Scotia;

From 20/02/2017 to date payments have been sent to the Jamaica National Building Society.

As she has not provided any statements for the Jamaica National Building Society, I cannot say if she has received payment or not.

She is going to telephone me again on Tuesday with a representative ( Tell Claudienne) that she has to help her so I can explain the situation to her.”

In regard to your husband's pension, the ministry sent Tell Claudienne the following e-mail the Jamaican High Commission received from the UK pensions office on March 9, 2018:

“I can confirm that I have now completed my investigations into Mr K's pension payments and can advise that all payments from 19 November 2012 to 12 November 2017 are showing on the bank statement that they sent in to our department. Therefore they both have received all payments that were issued to the Bank of Nova Scotia.

I spoke with their representative ( Tell Claudienne) on Wednesday and explained that Mrs EK had her payments sent to another bank, Jamaica National Building Society, and that she needs to check with them for the payments sent there.”

With your permission, JNBS has e-mailed Tell Claudienne a copy of the declaration you signed requesting the UK pensions office to send your pension payments to your JNBS account.

Tell Claudienne has given you copies of the documents and you have acknowledged that the signature is yours.

At your request, Tell Claudienne has asked Scotiabank if you can get a monthly statement for your joint savings account and the bank has said that you can get a statement.

The Scotiabank e-mail to Tell Claudienne states:

I am pleased to advise that the statement can be mailed to the customer once she submits a written request to the branch.

The letter should include the account number and address to which the statement should be sent.”

We wish you all the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility, a company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail:edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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