Another day, another story of an elderly expat, a man who paid his dues for England yet now finds that the state is withholding from him a pension that is rightfully his.
Eighty-four year old Derrick Prance is a veteran of the Second World War, after completing his military service he worked, and contributed to National Insurance, until the age of 70. Upon retirement he and his wife departed from the UK and chose to travel to Australia, where they have family. Along with National Insurance contributions Mr Prance also contributed pay to the Graduated Retirement Benefit Scheme and also to a SERP (State Earnings Related Pension).
Unfortunately for Derrick he was unaware that the UK Government employs a policy whereby people who have opted to retire in Australia, and many other countries, will find that the pensions they spent their whole life contributing to will not be subject to the standard yearly rise.
However, when Derrick left the country he was under the impression that the Labour Government of the time would honour their word and revoke the pension-freeze policy. They didn’t. The fall out of this broken promise is that Derrick has received the 1997 pension rate for 13 years, seeing no increase whatsoever. Another blow was the fact that his SERP would also be frozen, despite his argument that it was equivalent to a private scheme.
Derrick claims that had he known that the SERP would also be frozen, he would have made arrangements to opt out of the SERP and have the pension transferred into a non-government fund.
The pension calamity has blighted the whole of Derrick’s retirement as he has had to constantly fly back to England in the hope he can find a satisfying conclusion to his problem. He has spent countless amounts of time probing the matter, and despite receiving written confirmation from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that he was not adequately informed about the nature of the SERP, he has yet to find any resolution.