Tracing your Pension: Is it Lost?

Tracing your pension is not always easy, especially if you’ve been in more than one scheme or have changed employer throughout your career. But it’s important that you do claim your pension, so the sooner you trace a lost pension, the better. Many people are concerned about lost pensions. Fortunately, there are several ways you can find them.

Are you sure it’s lost?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself. Even if you have a certificate from a pension scheme, it doesn’t always mean that you have a pension entitlement.
You might have had a refund of your contributions when you left that employer for example. It’s also good to know that many older pension schemes may have required a certain number of years of membership from you, before giving you any benefits.

As a rough rule:
If you left the employer before April 1975, it’s likely you will have received a refund of your pension contributions. If you didn’t pay into the scheme you probably won’t be entitled to anything, unless you were in the scheme for at least 15 to 20 years.
If you left the employer between April 1975 and April 1988, you will have a pension, provided, you were over age 26 and had completed five years in the scheme. If not, you will almost certainly have had a refund of your pension contributions and have no further rights.
If you left the employer after 1988, you will be entitled to a pension, as long as you completed two years’ service. If you left the pension scheme with fewer than two years’ service, you probably received a refund of your contributions at the time you left.

Looking for workplace pensions
The first place to contact is the Pension Tracing Service. This has a register of all workplace schemes.
If your company scheme was contracted out, you might be able to trace it through the National Insurance Contribution Office.
If you still aren’t successful, contact the pensions advisory service.

Looking for personal pensions
If you’re looking to trace a personal pension, then please contact the pensions advisory service. They will need as much information as possible regarding the scheme, your dates of employment and copies of any certificates you still have. One of their pensions specialists, can talk you through what you will need and what they will do to try to help you find your pension.

For more information, please contact The Pensions Advisory Service. A pension specialist from their team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Their help is always free.

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