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Have you Lost Track of your Pension Plans?

Have you Lost Track of your Pension Plans?

Did you know that it is estimated that approx. £37 billion is sitting in unclaimed, dormant, or lost pension plans!
That would mean the average lost pension pot is worth £23,000.
It is surprisingly easy to lose track of a pension – statistics show that 22 per cent of people have done it.
The most common reasons stated for losing track of them are the number of jobs they have had over time and generally not being good with paperwork.

You are at most risk of having lost track of a pension if you have:

1. Changed jobs multiple times 
The introduction of pension auto-enrolment in 2012, in which eligible employees are automatically enrolled into a company’s scheme, means many more people are now likely to have multiple pension pots. 

2. Moved house often and not updated your pension providers 

For many, updating pension providers with a new address is often seen as a low priority. In fact, only one in 25 people remembers to tell their pension provider when they move house, according to the The Association of British Insurers (ABI). With the average person in the UK moving house eight times during their lifetime, it is no surprise that, over the years, many lose track and struggle to find old pensions.

3. Opted out of SERPS (the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme) in 1980s or 1990s 

Millions of people who were in workplace pension schemes chose to opt out of SERPS during the 1980s and 1990s.Did you have a SERPS pension? 
The State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme was designed by the Government to top up the State Pension. It existed from 1978 to 2002, when it was replaced by the State Second Pension, and both schemes were often known as the Additional State Pension.
Opting out was known as “contracting out” and instead these people redirected their National Insurance contributions into a personal pension, in the hope that this might provide them with a higher income at retirement than the one they would have received from SERPS.
If you were employed in the private sector between 1988 and 2012, and wondering how to find out if you have a pension from an old job after contracting out of SERPS, it is well worth checking because a missing pension could make a big difference to your retirement income.

If you suspect you might have lost a pension, it’s essential to take steps to trace them to ensure you’re not missing out on your hard-earned money! 
Just knowing where to start looking for a lost pension can be daunting.

So where to start if you think you may have a lost a pension pot,

  • If you have a CV, or on Linked In check through all the employers shown to jog your memory and see if you have the pension paperwork from each of those employers
  • Your next step is to contact each old company with the dates you worked there and they should be able to point you in the direction of the pension provider they contributed to for workplace pensions at that time. The HR department is generally a good place to start. 

It can be quite straightforward to track them down... 

1. Use the Government Pension Tracing Service

With your National Insurance number, the names and addresses of your previous employers, and using the Government's Pension Tracing Service, you should be able to find out everything you need to know.

2. Find pension details by contacting the provider
If you can remember the name of your old pension provider, then you can contact them directly. They will ask for your name and address (plus any previous names or addresses), and will also probably request your NI number as this is your unique identifier. 
You would have to do this for each different provider if you think you have a number of missing pensions.

3. Find lost pensions with your NI number
A common way that you can find lost pensions using your NI number is by sending it to HMRC to find out if you contracted out of SERPS