The government’s free Pension Tracing Service (PTS) is being expanded to cope with the rising number of enquiries it receives.
The body, which helps people locate lost pension savings, will triple its workforce to 49 people by April, ahead of the new pension freedoms.
Last year the PTS was contacted a record 145,000 times – double the number of enquiries received in 2010 – and staff managed to successfully find lost pension providers in 87% (125,502) of cases.
Losing track of your retirement savings
People often lose track of pension savings when they switch jobs.
It’s estimated that there could be as many as 50 million dormant or lost pension pots by 2050.
Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “With people having an average of 11 different jobs during the course of their working lives, it can be very easy to lose track of pensions they may have built up with previous employers.
“Whilst we have plans to help people combine their pension pots in future when they change jobs, there are still too many scattered and lost pensions, and we are working hard to make sure people get what they are entitled to.”
More cash for pension liberation
From April the new pension freedoms will allow those with a defined contribution (DC) pension, also known as money purchase pension, to cash in their savings, rather than being forced to buy an annuity at retirement.
[SPOTLIGHT]The Government’s new free guidance service Pension Wise will recommend using the PTS to ensure people have access to all the money they have saved.
How to trace lost pension savings
If you think you have pension savings with an old employer you should use the PTS to try and track them down.
You can contact the PTS via its website, by phone on 0845 600 2537 or by post at: The Pension Service 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton WV98 1LU.
You will need the name of the company or pension scheme you are trying to trace. Additional information like dates of employment, type of business or location can also help in the search.
The PTS will then search its database, which contains contact information for more than 200,000 pension scheme administrators. If a match is found it will be up to you to contact the scheme and find out if they have your pension savings.
If the PTS is unable to put you in touch with your old pension provider it advises people to:
- try and find documents that may have a scheme name, insurer or other financial company that could provide another lead;
- contact friends or former colleagues who may have been in the same scheme as they may be in receipt of the pension or have more information about it;
- if the employer is still active contact them directly for more information.
The Department for Work and Pensions says 98% of enquiries to the PTS were handled within four days.
Read more about tracing your lost assets in How to find your forgotten money and assets.