The claim form arrived from the Pension Service at midday, and by 4.00pm it had been completed and sent back by Special Delivery. So tomorrow some lucky manager will be staring at it, thinking - no doubt - that he (or she) didn't deserve this on a hot Friday. I say manager, because of course I am a Restricted Access case, and junior staff can't process my claim. In any case, there are complications beyond just the GRC - nothing special, but I'll be surprised if the claim can be processed with a snap of the fingers. That's why I'm setting the ball rolling running three and a half months before I reach State Pension Age. There may be lengthy issues to resolve. And ideally I want the first payment hitting my bank in time for Christmas.
Actually, just to get the State Pension definitely promised, with an assured First Payment Date will be enough for me. Then I can, at last, be relaxed about my financial affairs. It will make a big difference.
It seemed like a long form to fill in, but in fact it wasn't difficult at all. I was the complication - a change of name by Deed Poll; the GRC that followed, which altered my State Pension Age; marriage and divorce in the past. The marriage and divorce questions were relevant because the impact of the ex-spouse's national insurance contributions had to be assessed. In my case, this was looked at in 2005, shortly after I retired. But that was nine years ago, and I thought it prudent to enclose copies of letters, and certificates, so that it could all be looked at again if need be. W's contribution record, presumably still extant, had no effect on my State Pension effect then, and presumably would have none now, but who knows.
They wanted to know my bank account details of course, so that a four-weekly payment regime could be set up. It felt a bit strange giving them. This was the first 'cash benefit' I'd ever applied for in my entire life! Once aged sixty, I'd claimed exemption from prescription charges, and free eye tests, but those didn't involve crisp tenners that you could fan out in your hand, gloating. I'd never claimed unemployment benefit, nor any kind of low-income supplement. Now I would join the ranks of benefit-claimers. Wow, actual extra dosh - even if it was only a bank credit at the point of receipt!
And other things would become available, like a bus pass - although there isn't a cat in hell's chance that I would ever prefer a bus, no matter how swish and modern, to the comfort, safety and convenience of Fiona. But even so, the odd occasion would crop up - using a bus to cover the outward or return leg of a long country walk, for instance. I could travel for nothing, if I wanted to. Who knows, I might get a liking for it.
All of this is of course months away, and depends on the successful processing of my claim. So now that the form has been despatched, I think it's best to forget all about the pleasures to come, and concentrate instead on other things!
A good afternoon's work, though. The lever has been pulled, the button pressed. The machinery has sprung to life. Let it chug and whirr and clank, and eventually drop the metaphorical shiny finished article off the end of the metaphorical conveyor belt. Perhaps, as I said, in time for Christmas!