Retired teacher’s pension stopped as provider refuses to believe she is not dead

An 85-year-old retired teacher, Eileen McGrath, issued a warning after her pension, managed by Teachers’ Pensions on behalf of the UK government, was mistakenly halted, and her widow’s pension payment ceased as well.

“In November I had received two letters from Teachers’ Pensions asking me euphemistically if I was dead,” she said. “I immediately called to make it clear that I was very much alive. Nevertheless, a week later two more letters arrived asking the same thing, so I wrote back to reiterate that I had still not died.”

“Fortunately, I have enough money in my savings account to weather these incidents but I am sure that’s not the case for everyone,” she went on. “Besides which, it’s unpleasant and distressing to be told periodically that they think you are dead.”

Despite her complaints, the pension was reinstated without an apology. McGrath explained that the General Register Office, which records details of deceased individuals, may have led to the erroneous suspension.

She told the Guardian newspaper: “After I complained, my pension was reinstated but there was no apology. The General Register Office lists the full name and the year of birth of deceased people.

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme, boasting an employer contribution of 23%, operates as a ‘defined benefit’ pension based on salary rather than individual contributions. Notably, it is among the eight government-backed schemes, ensuring independence from external pension investments.

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