Last Thursday I received a letter from the UK Tax department informing me of my New Tax code for 2010-2011, but when I opened and read the letter I almost went hysterical as according to what they had written about the New Tax Code my monthly pension was going to be Tax deducted at an exorbitant 20% instead of its present very, very much lower percentage, on hearing my hysteria Sumi my wife came rushing into the room asking what’s wrong?
I explained to her and said if this is right do you realize the consequences! As since the global financial crisis struck over a year ago the exchange of my pension £ ‘Pound’ into Rupiah has dropped considerably by 25% so now my yearly pension is only equivalent to 9 months pension, and now I also have the additional cost of yet more medication for my osteoarthritis which has made my monthly medication costs rise by a further 20%, and now comes this problem with my pension and Tax which if its right?? Will be another 20% cut of my pension, so with this scenario I will have no other options come the beginning of April but to stop all my medications, just so we can survive.
Needles to say I was in a very bewildered state of mind as panic had started to get the better of me and I was going in circles saying ‘what do I do, what do I do’ so I sat at the computer in a very distraught state of mind and tried to type up a letter to the Tax office and my UK pension provider which was proving very difficult for me to put into the correct words, I had almost finished when “Wham, off went all the electricity” and as you might have guessed in my efforts to get the letter typed and posted ASAP back to the UK I had forgotten to keep saving (save as) what I was typing on the document, OK there is Auto recovery but which one do I want! Not only that, it was as though someone had switched off my brain as all train of thought of what I wanted to say was gone.
The power cut lasted until the next ‘midday Friday’ by which time I was even more confused and anxious and started to wonder if my Brother or maybe my Pension provider could help me by talking to the Tax office but then remembered that due to the (Data Protection act) it would not be possible, so I realized that I had no option but to try and phone the Tax office myself.
But as the day progressed I was getting far more agitated and anxious at the thought of having to use the telephone and trying to explain the problem of the tax code and my head started reeling with all the different scenarios of how the conversation could go, Sumi could see I was getting into a bit of a state so gave me one of my calming pills and then I closed all the doors sat down quietly by myself trying to think logically about it and put all the papers in front of me and then wrote down a list ‘one by one’ of all the points that I wanted to discuss with them hoping that when speaking I would not get confused and start stumbling over my own words.
I waited until 4pm my time which is 9am in the UK, but it’s not the best time of day for me as by this time I have started to feel the effects of Sundowning and can get extremely fraught but realized I had no other option than to try and conquer my own fear of using the phone, I don’t know how many times I dialed the number but every time I tried something went wrong as even trying to remember and input the numbers from the paper to the phone seemed to be beyond my brains capability, but I finally got it right and as normally seems to be the case theses days got a recorded reply telling me of all the different departments and what number I should press on my phone so that I could be connected which I did only to then get yet another recording giving me even more options of connection numbers, by this time the phone was about to sprout wings and take flight!
But I pressed the appropriate number and got yet another recording telling me to hold as all the lines where busy, fortunately I did not have to wait to long and a very pleasant speaking lady answered the phone giving her name, I gave her my National Insurance number and she quickly replied how can I help you Mr. Pankhurst but before we go any further for security reasons could you tell me your full name which I did ‘and your date of birth’ at this point I said ‘if I can remember’ which made her laugh and made me feel more relaxed, I explained to her about my Alzheimer’s and communication problem to which she replied ‘don’t get anxious just take your time’ (which I thought was an excellent reply) as I was immediately able to explain to her the problem of my new Tax Code and within an instant she was able to tell me about the problems they’ve had with their new computing system and not to take any notice of the Tax Code as a new much lower revised Tax Code will be sent to me and that they will immediately likewise inform my Pension provider.
Unfortunately I can’t remember or wrote down the lady’s name that I had spoken to otherwise I would have mentioned it here as she really was most helpful and extremely understanding not just about my Tax Code problem but also of my Alzheimer’s condition and communication and seemed to go out of her way in making me feel at ease talking, hence I came off the phone with a sense of having won over Mr. D for a change and with the satisfaction that I’d been able to sort out the problem myself.
I think it all comes down to our loose of self confidence, yet sometimes when we think we are going to loose we can Win!