Legal Matters

Having run into problems regarding my gender recognition certificate with pensions and HMRC, I thought it best to share my experiences.Legal Matters

I changed my name by deed poll a number of years ago and sent a copy to the pension’s people and the HMRC. Following my surgery, and approaching 60 years of age, I phoned the pension department to enquire if I still had to wait until age 65 for my pension, or whether I might get it a bit earlier now I had had my surgery. I was asked for my national insurance number, and she said are you Ms Helen Williams? Good I thought, the system has my correct name and gender. Yes Ms Williams, the age for your pension has risen from age 60 to 6 1/2 so you can have your pension at age 62 ½. I had already handed in my notice at work to finish on the 18th May 2015.

Following my retirement, I noticed from my bank statement, that my pension was not being paid. A friend who had recently retired told me that it is no longer automatically paid as it used to be, but you have to claim it. Nobody told me that! I phoned the pensions people and was told I could have it backdated to March 6th and told me to hold while she checked. She came back and said they had not received my GRC and that my pension would be paid from the time they had it, and it would not be backdated.

I had the GRC forms mostly filled out, but due to my forthcoming retirement and having to work an extra month due to delays in finding my replacement, the GRC was not at the top of my list of priorities. I had to work 12hour days and 12 hour nights, right to the day I retired. No reduced working weeks to ease me into retirement as my shifts could not be easily covered. I asked whose job was it to tell me they needed my GRC prior to my pension date. Not ours they said. But you knew I had changed my name, and I told you that I had had my surgery. Not our job they said. How I am supposed to find out I asked. It is all on the internet they said. How on earth do you look for something on the internet if you don’t know it exists in the first place! So, 5 months pension lost.

It was the same with the HMRC. I was told that if you continue working beyond your pensionable age, then you don’t have to pay National Insurance. Same story, as they did not have details of my GRC I would lose 3 months back payments. They also said it was not their job to tell me. Well, whose job is it then?

So, if you are transitioning and getting near to retirement, start asking questions, and get your GRC in! I have no hope of recovering my £3700 after 45 years of continuous employment, all of them PAYE and not a single days unemployment.

“Helen Williams” – helen@transgendermatters.co.uk