Just before Christmas I received a brochure and letter inviting me to make a claim for my State pension, "you can claim it up to 4 months before it is due" said the blurb. Ok, great I thought but left it to the New Year to have a go. This morning I rang the number and was connected to the department. After ascertaining my date of birth I was advised to ring back 6 weeks before this date,"As we have been inundated". Ever eager to help I kindly suggested that if they didn't send out all the brochures 4 months in advance perhaps they would not be "inundated". So I shall wait till my 65th - 6 weeks birthday and try again, hopefully it will not be "ring back 4 weeks before your birthday" that time.
Actually you cannot register, claim or do anything else until 6 weeks before your birthday. The official printout says anytime up to 4 months before your 65th birthday (to make a CLAIM), but there seems to be a local disparity in the office that deals with the claims.