Sorry worth £17

IPSWICH D-Day veteran Stanley Chambers has another battle on his hands today after pension officials paid him an "insulting" £17.71 in compensation.Mr Chamber's case was highlighted by the Evening Star in March when the Pension Service had failed to reimburse him with more than £700 paid towards his wife's care.

IPSWICH D-Day veteran Stanley Chambers has another battle on his hands today after pension officials paid him an "insulting" £17.71 in compensation.

Mr Chamber's case was highlighted by the Evening Star in March when the Pension Service had failed to reimburse him with more than £700 paid towards his wife's care.

The 87-year-old also owed Broad-Acres nursing home in Knodishall more than £1,000 which he had not paid because benefits he was entitled to had not been paid.

The benefit arrears payment arrived on Mr Chamber's doorstep just days after the case was featured in the Star.

Mr Chambers was also told his case would be considered for compensation and when an envelope arrived in the post on Friday he was filled with excitement.

But the emotion soon changed to disappointment when Mr Chambers opened the envelope to find a cheque for £17.71.

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Today, he is vowing to fight the Pension Service for adequate compensation claiming the dispute caused him such stress and worry that he has had to go to hospital with health problems.

He said: "This is an insult. Whatever are they thinking about? We cannot believe it. It probably cost more than that to write the thing out. Stress and strain has been caused and I think they should at least pay reasonable compensation. Look what this has caused me - why should I have to go to hospital?"

The year-long saga began when Mr Chambers wife Nancy was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in May 2003. Mr Chambers could no longer care for his wife and she was taken to the nearest available nursing home in Knodishall.

After more than 60 years of marriage the couple were forced apart with Mr Chambers left to care for their Salehurst Road home alone.

He applied for minimum income guarantee and was entitled to £102.10 a week, £84 of which would pay for the home's costs.

He did receive £47 a week of this as pension but the additional £55 minimum income guarantee did not arrive between May and October leaving him with insufficient sums to pay for his wife's care.

Mr Chambers paid the last two months fees from his own pocket believing the matter would be rectified and from October money was credited to his account.

But Mr Chambers did not receive the £1,037 owed to him until the Star stepped in in March.

Julia Crane, Mr Chamber's daughter, said: "I think he should be compensated. His health is suffering. He had to pay £700 and the stress caused especially at his age means he deserves compensation.

"The £17 special payment is just taking the mick."

Mr Chambers is now in the process of writing to MP John Gummer as the only appeals process available is through the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration who must be approached by a member of parliament.

Mrs Crane added: "He has got to make a complaint through his MP and has got to write to him so he can deal with it. I expect this is to discourage people from appealing."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said she could not comment on individual cases.

She added: "Compensation is calculated with a variety of reasons depending on the individual case, including recognition of loss of use of benefit arrears. "Compensation is calculated in the form of interest in the application of the agreed percentage rate to the delayed arrears. These are attributed to the tax years in which they fall."

Do you think the compensation offered to Mr Chambers is enough? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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