Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mrs. Swiss and the Swiss Citizens Pension Scheme - Part II

Basically Mrs. Swiss was hoping that there would be no Part II to this odyssey through the channels of bureaucracy. There was actually a part II and III but to simplify matters, and to condense the blogs, this part is known as part II.

After spending a complete Sunday afternoon collecting proofs that Mrs. Swiss had a working life in Switzerland, with all references and sending a rather heavy envelope to the authorities, she breathed a sign of relief. Now to wait until January when she would be the proud receiver of a monthly state pension - she thought.

Two days after the said letter was sent, the following Tuesday to be exact, Mrs. Swiss received a rather thick envelope from the pension scheme of Switzerland containing the documents she had sent as proof of her existence. Unfortunately the letter also contained the form duly completed with an accompanying letter saying that it would have to be reworked. Unfortunately Mr. Swiss completed the document in his name. This is not really unusual in a country where women only got the vote in 1971 and that only for national matters. Local matters came later one after the other.

Mrs. Swiss phoned the authorities and reminded them that the letter was addressed to Mr. Swiss and thus Mr. Swiss completed the details.

"Aha" was the answer on the telephone "we automatically send the letter to the husband, but as it is a pension concerning Mrs. Swiss she has to fill out the document herself in her name."

What can you say to the words of the state? Mrs. Swiss wanted to say a lot but was cautioned from Mr. Swiss that is it not wise in Switzerland to utter too many negative remarks. It could be to you disadvantage.

The carousel began again. Mr. Swiss took it upon himself to complete the document once more, but as if Mrs. Swiss was doing the work. Mrs. Swiss was very greatful for the help, and passed the time away with the ironing board whilst the written work was being done. The letter was sent again, this time without the various documents. And there was peace and quiet in the house of the family Swiss.......... until today.

Yes, once again Mrs. Swiss received a document from the Swiss Citizens Pension Scheme, two documents to be exact. This time it was an english matter. The first document was so easy that even Mrs. Swiss could complete it on her own. Particulars of her parents names and where she was born, although she has the feeling that the place Hitchin, Hertfordshire, would say very little to the Swiss authorities.

The second document was more complicated. Details were required from the english employers from the years 1964 up to 1966 when Mrs. Swiss worked in England, complete with references from the various companies she worked for.

"Do you have your references from England" Mr. Swiss asked Mrs. Swiss.

"Huh?" was her first reaction and then "References, I don't remember having any, or probably my parents threw them away when they moved house. They just left everything in the old house when they moved."

"But you must have some sort of documents" was the answer from Mr. Swiss, being Swiss a little bit more than Mrs. Swiss.

"I was 18 years old at the time, that was 46 years ago and no, I don't remember."

"But you know where you were working."

Of course Mrs. Swiss knew where she worked. Who can forget their first job.?

"I was working for the P & O shipping company until the beginning of 1966 and then worked temporary for a company in the center of London until I came to Switzerland."

"Temporary?" asked Mr. Swiss

"Yes, you know every week somewhere else" and Mrs. Swiss thought back to those days when she was free, earning good money, and working all over London city. There were some good companies there. At one place it was a newly built office skyscraper type building next to the Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor sort of lived. Tea served in the morning in china cups with cheese or ham rolls and in the afternoon coffee with chocolate biscuits of the best sort. They were the days.

"You had better phone up the people at the pension office and tell them that there are no such documents."

So Mrs. Swiss phoned and told them the news, quite politely, although she would have rather told them in her own plain words. It seemed that the lady in the office was not so bothered. It was probably a routine matter for her, and it seems as Mrs. Swiss only really worked two years in England, there would be no problems.  Basically the clause was more for people that had worked something like ten years in another country.

The forms were completed, put in an envelope and sent to the Swiss Citizens Pension Scheme Office. Mrs. Swiss hopes that they will not be returned for further information.

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