Not sure if this is the correct place to post but; This may be of interest to anyone about to retire or terminate their Service and is considering taking time out. I thought that having recently retired from the Army, and whilst taking a sabbatical before finding another job, I would inform the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP), to ensure that my National Insurance (NI) contributions were kept up to date. There in lay my mistake, believing that my past 23 and a bit years subscriptions to this 'fine' institution would stand me in good stead. Anyway, following a long telephone call, (40 minutes), and completing an equally long form, (30 pages), I was given an appointment at my local Job Centre Plus in order to discuss my claim with a 'Handler'. On the day itself, I was met at the 'front office' by 4 burley, uniformed members of Group 4 security who looked decidedly edgy, as if they were waiting for either me or someone else to 'kick off'. A conversation took place, (there were absolutely no pleasantries). The place was full of people who were clearly pissed, (Or on something else), the majority of them also appeared to have remained unwashed for some time, whereas I on the other hand, turned up in true military fashion, on time and relatively well dressed. I was introduced to my 'Handler', a woman, who was severely disabled. She had difficulty in speaking and only had the use of one arm, seemed disinterested, and unfortunately for both her and me, her affliction meant that the process took 1 and half hours instead of the usual 30 - 40 minutes. I took all this in my stride, after all this was all new to me. I left with an appointment or claimant card, which indicated what date and time I was to attend every 2 weeks, in order for them to pay my stamp. My Job Centre Plus office is very local, so I thought 20 minutes every two weeks is a small price to pay for my NI contributions. How wrong could I be. Then followed 9 weeks of letter after letter, requesting copies of every document you could think of. Not only mine, but documents relating to my wife as well. In the meantime during this exchange of correspondence, I dutifully attended every two weeks, standing in line, (Well sort of), with the drug addicts, alcoholics and general society misfits. After suffering this process, I decided to go and do a course, which I hasten to add I paid for myself and this course, was due to clash with my 'sign on' date. I telephoned staff at the JCP in plenty of time and was told 'No', it's too early, ring up on the date that you are meant to sign on. So I did. During this exchange I was subjected to a series of questions the Gestapo would of been proud of; 'Where's the course', 'who is running it', 'Can you prove that you are on the course' etc. Again following the instructions, I telephoned their office on my sign on date and was spoken to by a rather rude, unsympathetic and sarcastic 'Gentleman' who begrudgingly gave me an appointment for early o'clock the following Monday. I turned up on Monday, with the requisite documentary proof in hand and was told that the evidence, (My Course Certificate), was not good enough and that I would have to go in front of an 'adjudication' panel (Consisting of two people), who would assess my claim to see if my 'absence' was justified, or whether to discontinue my claim. I got rather annoyed at this point and hot under the collar. But remained calmly annoyed. I pointed out that not only had I paid my stamp since the age of 16, that I had also complied with everything they had asked me to do and that to date (Despite their sodding review), how could they withdraw my NI contributions, when as yet, they had not been kind enough to send me a letter telling me that they were actually going to pay it. I politely told them to 'sod off' and signed off there and then. I think the woman was delighted. Yet another triumph in their local statistics. I got a letter two days after signing off, telling me that I was not entitled to JSA, (I already knew that before starting the process). I still to this date do not know if they agreed to pay my stamp, but if I am truthful I am past caring. I thought at the outset that I would play the game. Having gone through the process, I wish I had never bothered. To anybody else who was thinking of applying for your stamp? I would strongly advise you not to bother your ARRSE. On a side issue, throughout my experience, the majority of individuals in the Job Centre were foreigners. I lost count of the amount of times I overheard a 'Handler' say, 'You will receive a payment(s) this week'. The whole system is an absolute joke. Was I nieve, I don't think so. Just thought I would let the goberment do what it's supposed to do. It was a degrading and worthless experience, which I hope, having read this post, no one will contemplate emulating. Edited to correct grammar.