Lockdown chores for pension savers

Add tracing your old forgotten pensions to the list of chores to do with your lockdown free time.

Those filling their lockdown time with chores they’ve been putting off for years should add tracing old pensions to the list. New research suggests that millions of savers have lost track of pension money worth an average of £13,000.The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said pensions worth £19.4bn are going unclaimed simply because their owners once moved home and failed to notify their pension provider of their new address. The ABI’s members have 1.6 million pensions without a traceable owner.

Anyone who thinks one of those pots may belong to them should check their records. Does every employer and private sector pension provider you have ever saved with know your current address? If it is possible you have lost touch with a provider – where you haven’t heard from it for some time, for example – now is the time to make contact. If you don’t know where to find a former pension provider, the government’s Pension Tracing Service may be able to help.

While you’re at it , check you’re receiving your state pension benefits in full, including both the state pension and the Pension Credit top-up. Some one million pensioners fail to claim the latter, according to charities, while others are missing out on the former. In one recent case, an 80-year-old man who continued to work after retirement age thought he was ineligible for the cash; he received a £140,000 pay-out when the error came to light. Note too that new pension claimants will from this week be prevented from using Post Office Card Accounts to receive their money. Some 900,000 people have such accounts (and existing claimants can keep using them) but a government contract with the Post Office is due to end in 2021 and it is now phasing out this service.

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David Prosser
Business Columnist

David Prosser is a regular MoneyWeek columnist, writing on small business and entrepreneurship, as well as pensions and other forms of tax-efficient savings and investments. David has been a financial journalist for almost 30 years, specialising initially in personal finance, and then in broader business coverage. He has worked for national newspaper groups including The Financial Times, The Guardian and Observer, Express Newspapers and, most recently, The Independent, where he served for more than three years as business editor.