What the F: Advice for finding lost pensions this Pension Tracing Day

If you didn’t notice, the clocks went back at 2 am this morning and people are being urged to use this additional hour to trace their lost pensions on the UK’s first-ever ‘Pension Tracing Day’.

Last year, the Association of British Insurers estimated that around 1.6m pension pots worth £19.4bn have not been claimed by their owners because they’ve either been lost or forgotten.

This is the equivalent of almost £13,000 per pension pot.

Why aren’t pensions being claimed?

The ABI found that the average person will have around 11 different jobs over their lifetime and move home eight times, leading to people losing track.

Are you sure your pension is lost?

The MoneyHelper advice service advises:

“Depending on when you were a member of the scheme, and the type of scheme, you might not have automatically been entitled to a pension.

You might have a certificate from a pension scheme, but it doesn’t always mean that you have a pension entitlement.”

They offer free help with their pension specialists online or over the phone.

A rough guide to pension entitlement

Pre-April 1975

If you left your employer before April 1975, it’s likely you’ll have had any of your contributions refunded. Some schemes didn’t require the member to pay any contributions – if so, you probably won’t be entitled to any pension benefits from that particular scheme.

April 1975 – April 1988

If you left your employer between April 1975 and April 1988, you may be entitled to a pension if you completed five years of service. If you left with less than five years’ service, you might have had your contributions refunded.

April 1988 onwards

If you left your employer after April 1988, you might be entitled to a pension. This is providing you had completed two years’ service. If you left with less than two years’ service, you might have had your contributions refunded.

Already know your pension provider(s)?

Send a letter or email with as many details as possible: Name, date of birth, NI number and pension plan number if you know it (and the date it was set up).

You can ask them:

  • What is the current value?
  • How much has been paid in?
  • How much income is the pension pot likely to pay out at the chosen retirement date?
  • Would there be any charges if you wanted to transfer the pension pot to another provider?
  • Are there any special features or benefits alongside the pension pot?

The Money Helper service has a template letter you can download for free.

How can I trace it if I don’t know any contact details?

In 2016 the UK government launched the Pension Tracing Service which helps track down contact details for a workplace or pension scheme. It does not, however, tell you whether you have a pension, or what its value is.

You can use their online service or their telephone number which is 0800 731 0193. If you cannot speak or hear on the phone, dial 18001 then 0800 731 0193.

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