Trina’s story

Helping a patient with a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman.

The Pro Bono team at Stewarts helped secure an apology and compensation from the Pensions Ombudsman after poor treatment from her pension provider.


Trina had severe chronic pelvic pain which has resulted in nerve damage.

Trina’s condition was so severe that it left her with no option but to leave her job, a position she had been in for almost two years. She was advised by her employer’s occupational health doctor and by her employer’s pension scheme, to apply for an ill-health pension. They did this even though they knew it was unlikely that her application would be successful because she had not been a member of the pension scheme for two years, a prerequisite to making a claim. Trina was assured that it would be worth making the application and spent considerable effort over six months preparing her claim. This caused a great deal of distress at a time when she and her family were coming to terms with her life-changing condition.

After submitting her application, Trina received confirmation that her application would be successful as she would be unable to return to any form of employment. However, four weeks later, she was told that a mistake had been made and that she was entitled to nothing.

Understandably, Trina was upset and frustrated. She asked the Stewarts Pro Bono team for help. We assisted Trina with a written complaint, in the hope that the pension provider would at least acknowledge their mistake and the upset that this had caused.

Having exhausted the complaints procedure, Trina referred the matter to the PO for an independent assessment. Unfortunately, the PO was unable to overturn the decision to reject her claim. This was because they could not change the fact that she did not have the requisite two years’ service, and the PO does not have the power to amend or override the laws in place. However, the PO acknowledged that Trina had suffered non-financial injustice as a result of maladministration and awarded her £200 compensation for the distress and inconvenience she had suffered.

Whilst the PO were unable to give Trina her ill-health pension, the compensation was, at the very least an acknowledgement, by an independent body, that a mistake had been made.

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