Over your years at work you could potentially contribute to a few different pensions. You may be part of various company schemes and you might also open up personal pensions along the way. It is, however, easy to lose track of your benefits, to lose contact details if schemes change or to allow providers to lose track of you.
This could see you miss out on possible income boosts when you retire. If you think you need to find an old plan, it may be worth using the Pension Tracing Service. This can help you track down previous schemes and get back in touch with plan administrators. If you’re lucky, you could improve your financial prospects in retirement.
What is the Pension Tracing Service?
This is a free system operated by the UK’s Pension Service which is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. It cannot hook you up with old schemes or tell you if you are entitled to payments but it may be able to give you the up to date contact information you need (if it is available) to get back in touch with previous providers yourself. At the moment its database contains contact details for over 200,000 plans and covers both company and personal options. You can apply on your own behalf or on behalf of someone else.
How to Trace a Pension Online
If you have a computer, Internet access and about a quarter of an hour to spare, then you can start your search online. You will need to provide as much information as you can to help the system find a match so it is worth thinking about plans, employers, administrators and when you made contributions. You’ll typically need to include:
- Your contact details.
- Details of the scheme’s beneficiary (i.e. who made the pension contributions).
- Information on the employer who offered the plan and your employment.
- Details of the company that set up a personal pension on your behalf.
Don’t worry if you can’t answer all the questions on the online form. It may still be possible for the service to give you contact details for your plan’s administrators.