Wednesday 10 July 2024: Spoke too soon?

Image by Oscar Castillo from Pixabay

I’m pleased to say that updated accounts *did* in fact arrive at the end of the day on Monday from our new Probate case handler. Unfortunately, we have now completely lost confidence and will have to request supporting documentation for every item so that we may reconcile the figures for ourselves.

The Probate firm complained about my review on TrustPilot and it was taken down while someone there checked the content, but as it didn’t go against any of their guidelines, they reinstated it. The Probate firm also asked for further information so that they may confirm that I am a genuine client. And then they replied to my review.

I fed the garden birds before breakfast, but then the first job at my desk was to write an email to the complaints department asking them for assurance that our case would not be jeopardised further if I sent them our case reference. I also asked that the latest case handler not be penalised for what has gone before and reiterated that the front-line and sales teams were exemplary.

I received an auto-reply from the complaints team robot saying that my email would be passed on to the relevant person, who would reply in due course.

After exchanging a number of text messages with my sister, I went and got dressed…

There are gaps in my national insurance contributions that, if I pay them, my state pension will increase in 2031. It should have been 2029, but they moved the goalposts. I tried to pay for one of those gaps, only to be told I couldn’t pay it online and had to call the Pensions Future line at HMRC, which I duly did. After more than half an hour holding on, I was told I wasn’t registered as self-employed and had to call another number.

Erm…I’ve been self-employed since 1987-ish. I’ve completed a self assessment form every financial year on which I’ve ticked the self-employed box, confirmed the T/A name, and completed the self-employed section. During the pandemic, the government paid me the self-employed furlough allowance based on my tax returns for the previous 2 (I think) years. I’ve even had 2 reminders for this year to complete my SA form.

I called the other number, on which I hung for almost an hour. While I waited, I got dressed, nipped to the loo, made myself a cup of tea, played a few hands of cards, responded to some emails, read a blog post, went through the online process again and was offered the opportunity to pay for one year of NI contributions online after all.

I still hung on, though, because I wanted to ensure that if I paid this sum it would benefit my state pension forecast. When I eventually got through, he confirmed that I wasn’t actually registered as self-employed, even though I have a unique tax reference number that is only given to the self-employed…

He was lovely, but he started to say that I must have been confused somewhere over the years, and I said that no, perhaps it was they who were confused, especially as he wasn’t even born in 1987. And if he wanted, I could go into our shed and dig out my tax records from as far back as 1987 – sooner, in fact. But that might take longer than a few minutes. (I really must get them scanned in so I have them electronically too.)

He apologised and changed his terminology, and we came to the conclusion that when I claimed unemployment benefit for a few weeks a few years ago (about 15 years ago), they were so confused then because they didn’t have a self-employed button, that it was them who probably unregistered me.

(NB: I only claimed UB for a short while because once they realised I was self-employed, there was a different support package I could go on that didn’t require me to go in and sign-on once a fortnight.)

Between us, we re-registered me and he said that it was important to be registered as self-employed because my NI contribution is likely to be a lot less than those I’ve already been quoted. I have to wait a few days and try going through the online procedure again, to see if I’ve been re-registered.

And that, folks, took me until 1:30pm. So I made myself something to eat and started work. A box of printer paper that I’d ordered (we forgot to buy it on Saturday, so I ordered a box) and wasn’t expecting until around 8pm arrived, which meant I could print off the next editing job for my client.

I watched Week 4 of my advanced depth workshop, which involved copious notes this time, and I printed off the editing job. I photographed out scruffy, disabled magpie and asked our local forum on FB if there’s anywhere local that might be able to help it, and was sent 4 suggestions, and I shared the picture of a turtle dove from a few weeks ago to see if anyone else in the village had seen that. (They hadn’t.)

A reply came in from the complaints department regarding our Probate case, and now there’s a formal file opened with them.

It rained all day, which made scruffy magpie look even more bedraggled. But it meant no washing cycle was completed. I think there’s more rain forecast for today, so I’ll have to find an update first thing to see if it’s worth me doing that today. On the whole, though, today needs to be better than the previous 2 days.

3 thoughts on “Wednesday 10 July 2024: Spoke too soon?

  1. Great news about the probate, finally, even though it’s not fully sorted yet though, why do companies do that when you tell the truth about the situation? Hope you get somewhere with the complaint?

    I’m also short with national insurance contributions, and keep putting off phoning the future pensions service, so at least now I know what to expect, loved your comment about him not being born in 1987! Again why do companies always turn the situation around?
    I thought there was something supposed to be happening on HMRC website that you could pay for missing years national insurance contributions?

    1. You can pay for them online, and if you qualify you can. I couldn’t, because they didn’t have me registered as self-employed and I was claiming to be self-employed. But it’s worth speaking to someone there first anyway to make sure that any years you do buy back do actually go towards the final state pension. I have to buy back 8 years after 2016/2017, because I contracted out back in the 80s, and anything I buy back before then won’t go towards it. I can buy back the last 8 years or the next 8 years. But if any don’t contribute, I’ll be keeping the capital I’ve saved.

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