by Paul Lewis
There could be a lump-sum of thousands of pounds waiting as well as a regular pension of £100 a month or so.
Of course, individuals may get less – or more – than these amounts.
Many of us change jobs and forget about the pension that we or our employer paid into at the time.
Or we start a personal pension and then stop contributing. All of the money in these schemes remains ours. We just have to find it.
The Government’s free Pension Tracing Service is the way to do that. It stores the details of more than 320,000 pension schemes and will help you find any that you may have paid into.
If you are 55 or over you can usually take the money now if you want to. Or you can wait and have a regular income later.
If you think you may have paid into a scheme through a former employer the Pension Tracing Service will track it down from the name of your employer or the pension scheme.
If you’re not sure of those details and have no paperwork then check with past workmates or use the free Companies House website: companieshouse.gov.uk.
From the late 1980s we were all encouraged to pay into a personal pension, but many of us will have forgotten exactly where that money went.
If you have the old paperwork, or at least the name of the provider or the scheme, the Pensions Tracing Service should be able to track it down.
In the past, two out of three people who contacted the service received up to £3,000 lump-sum and nearly three out of four recovered a pension of up to £29 a week.
The Pension Tracing Service cannot trace pensions due from working as a teacher, or in the NHS, civil service, or armed forces, but its website gives contact details for those schemes.
Beware firms that call themselves a ‘pension tracing service’, which will charge and do no better than the free official service.
For more information, visit gov.uk and search ‘pension tracing service’ or call 0345 6002 537.
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