Former police control room worker from Northampton told he's ineligible for any benefits

A Northampton man who looked after crime victims and handled emergency calls has been told he is not entitled to any benefits now he is out of work.

Mick Cotterell, aged 55, worked for Northamptonshire Police for 13 years - in the Wootton Hall control room then on witness care - before working for an energy company, from where he was recently made redundant.

But he says he was shocked to find that, when trying to register for benefits while he looks for another job, he cannot claim any.

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The Department of Work and Pensions said the fact he had opted to cash in both his company pensions under new Government rules meant he had to dip into those funds immediately and the state would not help him.

Mr Cotterell, from Duston, who is also an unpaid carer for his disabled wife, said: “After paying into National Insurance for 40 years ago you’d think I’d deserve just a little bit for the short length of time I look for a job.

“I understand that there’s a lump sum from my pensions, but I’d planned to use that when I can no longer work. That’s 10 years away.

“It looks like there’s nothing I can do about but I just wanted to make people aware who are thinking of doing the same thing.”

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The DWP said, even though Mr Cotterell intends to use the money from cashing in the plans to fund his retirement, because it is in cash, it is now classed as savings.

A spokesman said: “The rules outlined on are pretty clear on this.

“Obviously if someone has taken a pension payment early, depending on the amount it could impact on their eligibility for income-based benefit.”