£3 billion of dormant pension money waiting to be claimed

How much do you have in your pension pot? Could you name the figure down to the last £100? To the last £10 even? Then you are doing better than the thousands of savers who have forgotten pension schemes they once joined. According to government statistics, forgotten monies add up to £3 billion of unclaimed pension assets.

The problem is particularly prevalent for people who have changed jobs often, and have started a new pension with each employer. Savers who have a number of schemes containing smaller amounts may be disappointed to discover that their savings have been eroded by high fees.

The government’s Pension Tracing Service can “find” your lost pension no matter how bad a state your paperwork is in. All they need is your national insurance number and your name, although of course if you have more information that would be a bonus. The scheme is free and should not take too long, in contrast to a number of agencies that have popped up on the internet who want to charge for the same service.

Set up in 2005, hundreds of thousands of people have used the service to relocate lost pensions. If you are of the age specified to receive benefits in the original plan, you may be able to draw on the scheme (either 50 or 55 depending on the scheme rules). However, if you have not yet reached that age, you may be given details of the scheme so that you can track it and claim the pension benefits at a later date.

The agency says that the average amount claimed has resulted in a weekly pension payment of £16 extra than if the scheme had lain dormant. This may not seem like much, but equates to a typical lump sum of £1,600. This could make all the difference to someone struggling in old age, and in any event it is their own money!