I retired on ill health in July 2009 and had my one and only meeting with an employee of the DWP. I was told because I had received a lump sum and a weekly pension I could not claim anything at all. I asked if I had to purchase NI stamps and was told no because I had 39 years of paid NI contributions so that would be a complete waste as it was reducing to 30 years anyway so no point in doing anything.
For the last two years I have lived off my private pension and my savings. I filled a form in last week on Dir Gov site and it said I was eligible to Contribution Rate ESA. I phoned them up on Monday and after going through 45 minutes of questions I was told I was eligible as I had full contributions paid and as long as I could get a statement of fitness to work from my GP. Saw the GP in the afternoon who filled out the above saying I am not fit to work and made it out for 6 months and then said I would have to collect another from him.
Today I received a letter from the benefits office (as well as one from Atos) saying I could not claim ESA as I had not paid any contributions for year ending Mar 2009 or 2010 despite being told on Monday that I had full contributions so was eligible.
I have just spoken to the benefits office and told them that I paid £3000 NI contributions for year ending Mar 2009 but retired 4 months later on ill health so did not pay any from July 2010. They said that despite the fact I have 39 years of contributions I am not eligible for ESA because you have to have full stamps for both the said years.
It does seem to be a mockery and so unfair when you have paid for 39 years and then told because you have not paid the last year, due to being retired on ill health and unable to work that you can no longer claim. I am also annoyed that as I said, two years ago when I retired I was told there was no point in getting NI stamps as I had got the full amount.
Its bad enough being unable to work anymore due to my disability but it just seems they think everyone is a scrounger and do their best to stop you receiving anything after all those years.