Trace Your Lost Pensions
To trace your lost pensions, it’s essential that you first review the paperwork associated with your pension scheme.
Reviewing any documents related to your pension will help narrow down where you should be looking for it. What are some of these papers? They may include:
- Pension certificates (issued by a company or your previous employer).
- Statements or correspondence from an insurance agent about changes in benefits and coverage.
- Insurance forms and statements are showing premiums paid on retirement policies, annuity contracts, etc., both before and after withdrawal of funds; copies of withdrawals made after retirement age; death certificate.
Also, make sure that when reviewing this documentation, there is no evidence of fraud or theft like an unauthorized signature on any of the documents.
If you don’t have these papers, it’s worth trying to contact your former employer first because they may be able to provide them for you. If not, then there are other ways that can help you at least start looking in the right direction, including:
- Contacting a pension or annuity company using their contact detail or email address and asking about records related to an individual’s account.
- Checking with state insurance company (some offer assistance in finding lost pensions).
- Running online searches using phrases like “lost pension” + name of person/company.
- Searching through archives from newspapers around the time when retiree left employment.
- Checking credit histories and reviewing Social Security numbers reported by both employer and employee during the retirement timeframe.
You can also contact the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP1), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), or Social Security Administration for assistance.
Here’s the deal:
Remember that there is sometimes a fee involved in finding lost pensions, and not all state insurance departments offer free services, but there are some exceptions to this rule.
How To Trace A Lost Pension
Tracing your pension is not always easy, be it a workplace pension or a personal pension, but it’s worth the time and effort in order to get all of the benefits you deserve.
Here is the step by step guide:
- Contact your employer. If you retired from a company and they are still in business, the first place to go for information is usually that organization (your pension provider).
- Ask them about when your pension contribution was set up as well as who was designated to receive the money if something happened to you.
- Check with the state insurance company. Most states offer some assistance tracking down missing pensions; however, each department has its procedure, and there can also be fees involved (although many will waive these costs if you’re low income).
- Review Social Security numbers2, reported by both yourself and your former employer during the period when you were working so it can be determined if either entity failed to report all of their earnings to the other party, which would lead them down a different path than what you were expecting.
- Find the last place of employment where you worked in a position that was eligible for retirement benefits.
- Check your credit history and review any Social Security numbers reported by both employer and employee during the time when you were employed (several years before and after separation from service).
- You may also want to contact your state insurance department or pension benefit Guaranty Corporation if it provides assistance with lost pensions. If not, they can refer you to an organization that does offer this type of help.
Remember that sometimes a fee is involved in finding lost pensions, so be sure to ask about fees upfront instead of being surprised later on down the line. Some states have exceptions for free services, but those are uncommon examples among most cases today.
The Pension Tracing Service
People seeking help with their missing or old pension plan might find it using the Pension Tracing Service (PTS). This service is a great source to use when looking for lost pensions. With the PTS, people will be able to find out about any pension earned by their spouse or parent.
They will provide you with information on your pension plan, including the date of the first payment; where any pension contribution or expenses have been made to; what type of scheme it was originally part of (e.g., if this happened before April 2006); and whether there are any benefits due to that can make up some lost earnings at retirement.
The Pension Tracing Service is free, and they can provide information on pensions that are no longer actively being cashed in. This service was created for those who need help tracking down lost pension funds from an employer’s retirement plan that has either closed or merged with another company.
And the best part?
PTS specialists have access to databases of more than 400 million records (since 1930). They often use a person’s Social Security Number and other identifiers to track down these types of pension accounts.
Can I find my pensions with my national insurance number?
The answer is no, not with your National Insurance number. With the PTS, people will be able to find out about any pension earned by their spouse or parent.
PTS specialists have access to databases of more than 400 million records (since 1930) and they often use a person’s Social Security Number as well as other identifiers to track down these types of pension accounts.
How do I get my pension from a previous employer?
If you have previously worked for a company that was part of the National Pension Service and they are still in business, contact them to see if they can provide your pension.
What happens to my pension when I leave a company?
The pension is usually transferred to the new employer’s plan.
If you are changing jobs, it may be necessary for your former company to transfer the funds directly into a retirement account at your new employer or provide you with a cheque as an interim payment.
How do I find a lost pension in Canada?
If you are still working and would like to track down a lost pension, contact your employer or plan provider. If you have retired from the workforce, there are a number of programs that provide assistance with finding lost pensions in Canada for retirees.
In a nutshell:
There are many ways to trace lost pensions, but the best way to find your lost pension is by contacting professional tracing agencies.
This agency will be able to pinpoint where and when you last contributed money, how old the account is, what company it belongs to, who manages that specific type of account if there are any other names linked with your retirement fund or even a death certificate for someone on said list.
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