In 1982, when Mrs L has said she first contacted office Z about her entitlement to RP, her contributions’ record contains no information about her pre-1948 employment. It is not clear if office IS looked up the contributions’ record before telling Mrs L, as she has said they did, that she had no entitlement. If office Z had looked up the record, they should have noticed that Mrs L might have been entitled to GRB, even if they had felt sure (rightly or wrongly) that she had had no entitlement to basic RP.

If they had not looked up the record, they should not have offered Mrs L an uninformed opinion about her possible RP entitlement. Either way, they should not have given Mrs L the impression that there was no point in her applying for RP. The question of her entitlement could only have been determined by formal adjudication. I had no reason to doubt Mrs L’s account of what happened in 1982. I concluded, on the balance of probabilities, that office Z misled her and I criticise them accordingly.

The record of Mrs L’s enquiries about At oher RP in 1996 is incomplete. However, it seems that she encountered further difficulties for she felt obliged to enlist the support of the then Member. In writing to the then Member on 23 July 1996. office Z correctly advised that Mrs L should put in a formal claim, although it is not clear whether they sent her a claim form at the time. BA moved quickly to put her case on a proper footing.

Mrs L sent copies of the acknowledgements she had received dated 13 February and 31 October 1996, and BA promptly accepted that she had made a claim to RP in 1996. They took the date of claim as 31 October 1996, the date of the second acknowledgement, and awarded her GRB backdated to 12 months before that. The first acknowledgement, unlike the second, was not stamped accepted as a claim for RP but it is not clear from BAs file whether that was the reason why the adjudication officer did not use the date of the first acknowledgement.