How to find old pensions

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By Chloe Dickenson
Updated on Friday 5 November 2021

Man using laptop to search for pensions on desk

Lost pension pots are actually more common than you’d think, so if you’re wondering “where’s my pension”, our guide below about how to find a pension from an old job can help you to trace a lost pension.

How much you remember about your pension will determine how easy it is to find a lost or old pension. Whether you know the exact name of your pension provider but you can’t find any details about it or you just know that you once had a pension at an old job but you have no idea who it was with or what kind of contributions you made, you should still be able to trace your old pension.

How to trace a pension

There are several ways to find your pension in the UK, including contacting your old employers who should be able to provide you with details of any pensions you had when you were working for them. You can also use the government pension tracing service which can help you to retrieve your pension details through its database of more than 200,000 pension providers.

Contact your old employers

If you’ve lost one or more of your pensions or you can’t remember who your pension provider is, you can get in touch with old employers who may be able to give you more details of any workplace pensions you had with them.

While your old employer might not be able to give you full details about your pension such as the amount of money you have in it or when you’ll be able to withdraw from it, they will be able to tell you who your pension provider is and their contact details so you can get in touch with your provider directly.

Once you have the details of your pension provider, you will likely need to provide some of your own personal details such as your name, address and your National Insurance number to trace your pension.

You may also need to provide details such as the date that you started working at the company and the date you stopped working there, as well as the date that you joined the pension scheme (if you can remember).

If you’d prefer not to get in touch with your old employer for whatever reason, consider getting in touch with old work colleagues who might be able to help you find details of your pension provider, especially if all the employees at your workplace were part of the same pension scheme.

Look for old pension scheme statements

Another way you can try to trace your old pensions is by looking for any previous pension scheme statements that you might have received in the past.

Many pension providers send out a letter or statement each year with details about your pension such as how much retirement income you should be able to expect by the time you retire as well as details about the contributions you and your employer are making.

If you can find an old statement from your pension provider but they no longer send out statements to you, it might be because they’ve closed down or merged with another provider. In this case, you will need to get in touch with them directly to find out details about your pension.

Use the government pension tracing service

If you’re still not able to find your old pension by contacting your previous employer, you can use the government’s pension tracing service which is a free government database of over 200,000 workplace and personal pension providers that can help you to find relevant details of any old or lost pensions you have.

In order to use the government pension tracing service, you will need to know the name of your old employer or pension service. You can use the pension tracing service online where you’ll have to fill in a few personal details such as your name, National Insurance number and your address or you can call them on 0800 731 0193.

However, the pension tracing service won’t tell you details about your pension such as how much money you have in your pot, it only helps you to find details about your pension scheme provider. Once you have details about your pension provider, you can then get in touch with them directly to find out confidential information about your pension pot.

What to ask your pension provider

Once you’ve managed to track down your pension provider, you’ll likely have a few questions about the amount of money that’s in your pension pot and the amount you can expect to receive when you take retirement later in life.

Some other questions you might want to ask your pension provider include:

  • How much money is currently in my pension pot?
  • How much money has been paid into the pot so far?
  • Do I have to pay any charges for the management services of my pension pot?
  • Does my pension pot include any death benefits and how much money would be paid from my pension pot if I died?
  • How is the money in my pension pot being invested?
  • Do I have to pay any additional charges if I want to move my pension pot to another provider?
  • How much money can I expect to receive when I take my pension on my chosen retirement date?

Of course, if you have any other questions relating to your pension, be sure to make a note of them beforehand so you can get clarity on the position of your pension when you get in touch with your pension provider.

Once you have all the details about your pension pot, you can then decide what you want to do with it. Now that you have all the details and information, you can choose to continue with your current pension or you might decide to transfer it to another provider if you’ve found a better pension scheme.

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