Are you owed an unclaimed pension pot? Thousands of savers are missing fortunes from unclaimed nest eggs

  • 1.6million pension pots are waiting to be claimed
  • Services offer to track down lost pensions for free 
  • There is around £400million in unclaimed pension savings, according to the government 

Millions of pension pots are lying unclaimed and could provide a vital income boost to people in retirement.

Here’s how pensions go missing – and what you need to do to track them down.

Nearly 1.6 million pension pots are waiting to be claimed by people who have lost touch with their retirement savings over decades of employment – known as ‘gone-aways’.

This figure comes from PensionsLink, which aims to reunite people with their missing pensions.

It does this by collecting the National Insurance numbers of gone-aways from pension providers.

People who think one of their pensions may have gone astray can then ask PensionsLink to search its database to see if their plan is on it.

In the first three weeks of this month alone, 68,000 National Insurance numbers were added to the register, following on from 114,000 the month before.

HOW TO TRACE A LONG LOST PENSION

The first step to reunite yourself with long-term savings is to compile a list of employers you worked for and marry them up with your pensions in payment.

If there are companies you worked for which are not paying you a pension, even though you contributed into one, contact their pension department and provide as much information as possible – National Insurance number, period of employment, the role you held and your current contact details.

They should then confirm whether there is a pension due to you – now or in the future.

You can also input your National Insurance number into the free-to-use PensionsLink website to see if any details come up.

Alternatively, turn to the Government’s Pension Tracing Service. Its database holds details of more than 320,000 pension schemes and is also free. Entering a former employer’s details into the search engine will produce contact details for schemes you may have paid into.

Visit gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details, call 0345 6002537 or write to: The Pension Service 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton WV98 1LU.          If you need further help contact The Pensions Advisory Service by visiting its website at pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk or calling 0300 1231047.

This brings the total number of people recorded to have lost a pension on PensionsLink’s database to 1.58 million.

The service is free to use and paid for by pension companies – although not all providers are currently signed up. It is similar to the Government’s Pension Tracing Service which assists people in hunting down both workplace and personal pensions.

VALUE OF LOST INCOME

There is around £400million in unclaimed pension savings, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

PensionsLink says its research indicates that the average unclaimed pension in the private sector would provide an annual income of £3,000 – up to £7,000 a year in the public sector.

The majority of orphan pensions on the PensionsLink register are defined benefit based – also known as final salary – while a fifth are defined contribution, sometimes referred to as ‘money purchase’ schemes.

Until the next time Debbie @HoskinFinancial

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