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Elderly parents

Irish state pension - should I complain

2 replies

Kittycash · 15/04/2023 08:19

In September 2022 my 90 year old df received a form from the state pension department in Ireland to complete.
As he was 90 I think they just wanted to chk he was still alive.
Fair enough.
I filled in the form with him and told him to get it witnessed. Df promised he would but forgot. I reminded him a few times. In November df got a letter to say his pension had been stopped until the form was returned. I contacted the pension people but nothing would be done until form returned. My db took df to the local priest and got form witnessed. It got posted beginning of December.
By chance 2 weeks ago I found out my df had still not received his pension, now 5 months.
After searching df’s post the form had been returned in January as not stamped.
It was stamped by the witness but with an embossing rather than an ink stamp.
Someone at the Irish pension authority had not bothered to check properly.
Cue me dragging my df to the gp surgery, df had had a fall and also had a chest infection, we paid £25 and got a very inky stamp!
At last the pension people have said his pension will be reinstated and arrears paid.
However I am completely disgusted with the bureaucratic approach from the Irish pension authority.
Without relatives df would eventually have run out of savings and no one would have realised.
Surely the pension authority could have independently verified with the priest that he had witnessed the form.
It seems very ageist to me to stop a man’s pension because he’s lived a long time.
His bank details are all in his name, his address is the same.

Also to add the first time I didn’t drag dad off to get the form witnessed because he was attending church regularly and he seemed more on the ball.
Bizarrley he’s just had a memory test and hasn’t got Alzheimer’s but has normal lack of memory for his age. I honestly don’t know what the difference is because the result seems to be the same. He rang me 12 times in an hour last week.

So should I complain and who to?
There must be something in place to check on elderly people. That’s who the pension is for.
It’s literally part of their job to deal with the elderly.

OP posts:
Knotaknitter · 15/04/2023 08:48

I can see you're angry over this, I'd suggest you take a moment to think how much of the upset is because this has shown that your father has not been as on the ball as he used to be and as you thought he was.

It's common for pension providers to want to check that the recipient is still alive. It's not about stopping their pension because they've lived a long time, it's to prevent fraud. Mum didn't live to be ninety but I remember three of those forms that needed witnessing. For the last one she couldn't write anything resembling her signature and we were in full covid so I struggled getting a witness to the wiggly line that looked nothing like the one on file (the witness couldn't be me, couldn't be care home staff, she couldn't have more than one visitor).

The earlier ones were witnessed by a neighbour, here it didn't need to be someone in authority, just someone unrelated who knew them and could say that they were still alive. It didn't need an official stamp, just a signature. There's no way I would have left mum to get it witnessed because she wouldn't have liked asking and it wouldn't have been done.

The thing you might complain about is their inability to recognise an embossed stamp, unless they said on the paperwork that it would be scanned and had to be in ink. That's the one part of it that's on them. They returned the form promptly in January in a month that had Christmas in the middle, they aren't responsible for the delay after that. They are not responsible for your father not dealing with his post or for the initial delay in him getting it witnessed. Care of the elderly isn't their job, the correct payment of pension is.

I've been on the receiving end of twelve calls an hour. If he's very suddenly got much worse it could be something as simple as a urine infection, in the elderly it can present with no pain but lead to a sudden mental decline.

Kittycash · 15/04/2023 08:56

Yes I am angry.
Definitely partly with df who refuses help and doesn't believe that his finances are a mess.
However I do think that the pension authority should have something in place for the elderly.
The first non sending of the form was on df but the second time even with a quick response was a complete lack of can do and more just following rules regardless.
I emailed the pension authority asking them to dig out the form and check properly.
They just ignored me.

OP posts:
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