What is a NINo? It is the National Insurance Number that all British people have who collect pensions from the UK Government. It is equivalent to the American Social Security Number. Thereby hangs a tale, you see, because my mother-in-law has reached her 100th Birthday this Aug 27th. Usually the Queen of England sends a letter to all her subjects who are lucky enough to reach this ripe old age. But, of course, the Queen’s Administration tend to lose sight of some of those lucky people. Yes, there is an office, The Anniversaries Office, solely for this purpose. So it is advised that in advance of the event someone should send them the details of the person, which must include their NINo for identification.
Now my sister-in-law, Barbara, who lives in England, asked me to find Millie’s NINo, but I could not find it in my files or in those of my mother-in-law. But I did find a letter with a reference number and a tel number for the Dept. of Works and Pensions (DWP). So she called them and asked for her mother’s NINo, but they said they can’t give it out to anyone but the person herself, and when she told them that she is 100 years old and cannot travel to England because she lives in Israel, they said they don’t send information abroad outside the UK. Their motto is “we are here to serve.” So it is impossible to obtain the NINo and it may therefore prevent her receiving her precious letter from the Queen.
Barbara said she will write to the Queen anyway, even without the NINo. But, instead we discussed doing a forgery. She can buy a picture of the Queen, write a suitable letter and type it out with a letterhead of Buckingham Palace and bring it from London. She can easily forge Queenie’s signature “Elizabeth R”, with a suitable flourish. Millie and the assembled masses would never know the difference. However, it looks like a forgery will not be necessary, the Anniversaries Office of the Queen has replied to Barbara’s letter with a copy of Millie’s old passport and told her that a Congratulatory message from the Queen has been “successfully processed,” and will be delivered by mail in time for the happy event – no NINo needed.