In the UK today, research shows there is approximately £19.4billion worth of lost pension that could easily be claimed with a little research. Before the 2008 Pensions Act, that said every employer in the UK must put staff earning more than £10,000 per year must pay into a workplace pension scheme, company pension plans were voluntary enrolment, meaning that you could have a choice of whether you paid in, or did not.
With this Pension’s Act, if you’re earning over £10,000 and have twenty different jobs over your 44-year career (23 to 67), you could end up having twenty different pension schemes, in twenty different places. While it may make sense to try and consolidate your pensions, you can often find yourself in the position where you lose a pension. The good news is that you can easily find pensions with your National Insurance (NI) number.
Find a Lost Pension
There are two ways you can find a lost pension using your National Insurance number.
- Firstly, you can send your NI number to the HM Revenue and Customs and find out if you were contracted out. If you were contracted out of the Additional State Pension (also known as State Second Pension or ‘SERPs’) your National Insurance contributions were either lower than people paying into the Additional State Pension or paid into another pension, for example a private pension. You’re more likely to have been contracted out if you had previously worked in the public sector such as the NHS, the police forces or the armed forces.
- Secondly, you can send it to your old employer and ask for the details of your pension scheme administrator. If you send your NI number, and the dates you worked to a company, they should be able to track down your lost pension contributions via your current or previous payslips. If the company is no longer in business, or have changed their contact details, you can try the Government’s free pension tracing service as it may be able to help you.
Trying to find a lost pension is very difficult, but what’s more difficult is finding out what they’re worth, what they’re invested into and what they cost.
It’s often much easier to pass this process over to the experts and either contact a financial adviser, or by getting a specialist pension expert to do this heavy lifting for you.
Give all your information over to a financial adviser. They should be able to contact your pension providers, and work out their values and whether it makes sense to consolidate it into one pension, or leave it where it is today.