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Terminally-ill cancer patient won’t get access to pension lump sum

PUBLISHED: 19:30 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 07:54 28 January 2020

Marry Cuffe with her partner Karl Crisp.  Karl is suffering from terminal cancer and is being refused his pension money   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Marry Cuffe with her partner Karl Crisp. Karl is suffering from terminal cancer and is being refused his pension money Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A terminally-ill former foundryman has pleaded for access his pension fund so he can provide for his partner after death.

Karl Crisp is suffering from terminal cancer and has been refused his pension money   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNKarl Crisp is suffering from terminal cancer and has been refused his pension money Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Karl Crisp, 52, worked for almost a decade at Crane's in Ipswich pouring molten metal into moulds and believes he paid thousands of pounds into his pension fund.

His doctor told him this month he had inoperable neck cancer and with just months to live, encouraged him to release his funds.

But when Mr Crisp asked the Crane Pension Scheme, administered by Buck Pensions, for a lump sum pay-out to help his partner of 13 years Mary Cuffe, his request was refused.

"It's my money, so how can they withhold it," he said.

Marry Cuffe with her partner Karl Crisp.  Karl is suffering from terminal cancer and is being refused his pension money   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMarry Cuffe with her partner Karl Crisp. Karl is suffering from terminal cancer and is being refused his pension money Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"It's worrying me sick that when I die there will be nothing for Mary.

"She's cared for me all this time and I want to know she'll be looked after."

Crane and Buck Pension have declined to comment on Mr Crisp's pension fund.

However letters they sent Mr Crisp in recent weeks explained that while he would be entitled to almost £4,000 a year if he reached the age of 65, there was no 'pension pot' for him to receive as an early lump sum, because of the type of pension scheme he had paid in to.

They also said his pension had been reduced so that he could draw funds when he retired due to ill health in 2009.

Mr Crisp, who lives in Shotley, said this related to the £23 a month he had received for his illness.

Mr Crisp has suffered respiratory problems including asthma and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which led to him taking early retirement through ill health.

The Trustees of the Crane Pension Scheme wrote offering condolences to Mr Crisp and inviting him to apply for the Crane Fund, which was set up to provide financial support to employees who are unable to work due to ill health.

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But Mr Crisp said: "I don't want charity - I just want access to my money."

He said he would never make it to 65 to receive his full pension entitlement.

Ms Cuffe, 54, added: "Karl is already in bits with the cancer and he's not coping very well at all with this news about his pension.

"All he's asking for is the money he paid in."

Charity tries to 'demystify' confusion over pensions

A leading cancer charity said it took daily calls from people concerned about their pensions - many worried about their finances.

Louise Dinsdale, a financial guidance team member on the Macmillan Support Line said the rules on accessing pensions could be confusing and often varied between providers.

"Our expert Financial Guides on the Macmillan Support Line can help demystify the process by talking to people about their options," she said. "If anyone living with cancer has questions about their pensions or managing their finances more generally we would encourage them to get in touch with us. Whether they've recently found out about a cancer diagnosis or are calling on behalf of a relative, we will take the time to listen and provide the information they need to enable them to make informed decisions about their finances."

The Support Line can be called free on 0808 808 0000.


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