Pensions is a topic we should all be aware of. It finances our future self, after all.
It is very common for people to lose track of their pension pots or, worse, to not even be aware that they have one! In the UK, there is £26.6bn of unclaimed pension money today and it’s only going to grow due to auto-enrolment and people frequently changing jobs.
People do not realise that it is important to let their pension provider know when they change their address. They also do not realise that they have a separate pension pot with each employer, and when they change jobs, they get a different pension too.
There are several ways you can find your lost pension with your NI number. This number is a unique number to you for the purpose of tax and NI contributions reporting. Of course, basic contact details are essential as well, but the NI number is the most important one to have in hand.
How do I find out if I have a pension from an old job?
As there are three types of pension
- a State Pension
- a personal pension
- a workplace question
it is important that you check whether you have unclaimed money for all three.
You are entitled to a State Pension when you’ve been employed in the past and made National Insurance contributions. If you haven't paid taxes before and instead earned a salary below the tax threshold, you are not entitled to a State Pension. Therefore, you need to look at your past payslips to figure out whether you've made NI contributions.
It is worth noting that the value of your State Pension is set to a maximum of £203.85 per week, as of 2023. All you have to do is determine whether you are entitled for it - based on NI payments and an age threshold of 68.
In terms of a personal pension pot, you'll be aware if you have one as it was arranged by you - or from your employer for you. It's a rare occurrence that someone forgets their personal pension as it resembles a personal savings account. However, if it is lost, it is possible to find it by providing your contact details and your NI number to your pension provider.
Lastly, you can find out if you have a pension from an old job by:
- contacting your previous employers
- contacting your pension providers
- using the Government's pension tracing service.
It is better if you can provide as much detail as you can to track your pensions, but it is also possible and easy to find your pension with just your NI number.
Contact your past employers and pension providers
Your past employers can inform you on who your workplace pension providers are in order to trace your pension pots from each job you've had in the past. By providing your NI number and your contact details, you'll find out who your pension provider is and what your unique pension number is.
Then, you are able to contact these pension providers individually, trace your pots and start earning your pension.
Government pension tracing service
This service has been set up by the Government to help people who have lost track of their pensions easily find them - or even discover new pots that they were not aware of! To trace your old pensions through the Government's service you need to have at hand the name of your past employer.
However, some consider this service considerably outdated as you can only find out the contact details of your pension providers - which might be wrong in some cases. You need to contact each pension provider yourself, or even find their correct details, and locate your pension pots as well as their value.
What should I do to make sure I don't lose my pension?
It is a very common issue to lose a pension - you are not the only one.
Whenever you change address or job, your pension provider also changes. To ensure that you don't lose track of them, you should:
- Inform your pension provider that you moved house and changed address
- Keep a note of all your pension providers and pots throughout your career