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Lost pension

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by GoldSpots, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    I could really do with some advice. My head is all over the place.

    I started teaching in 2002. I opted out of the TPS in my first year because I couldn’t afford the payments.

    I moved counties in 2005 and my new employer started taking TPS payments right away, and I’ve been paying up until 2018 when I moved abroad to teach. Between 2005 and 2018 I taught in two other counties (four in total).

    A couple of weeks ago, I got a message to check my pension account, so I did. Long story short, I have been “opted out” my entire career and have zero contributions.

    How on earth can I prove that I was making payments 15 years ago?! I certainly don’t have any records going back that far, and I don’t imagine the councils will either.

    I messaged TPS but they basically said there’s nothing they can do as it was my employers responsibility.

    What do I do?! It honestly feels hopeless right now. I don’t have a U.K. union (although was a member the whole time I was in the U.K.) or a U.K. employer to apply to opt in.

    Do I just need to accept that this money is gone and that I won’t have any pension at all??

    Please help. It’s been such a shock.
     
  2. diddydave

    diddydave Lead commenter

    The responsibility is your employers.
    Your only hope is to contact them and ask them to confirm it.

    I worked for Kent County Council and they did provide me with my employment history going back to 1990, so it is possible that they will have the necessary records.

    If you have some records then you should certainly use those to chase it up.
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You will probably find that council's keep payroll and pension records going back much longer than you think, so they should be able to help you.

    TPS has no records of employment or pension deductions other than what employers send to TPS so they are correct to say there's nothing they can do. Only your employer at the time can give new information to TPS.

    Are you certain that TPS contributions were actually deducted from your pay during that whole period? Have you got any payslips anywhere from any of those employments that you could check to see if deductions were made?
     
    Morninglover and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    Thanks Diddydave. That’s reassuring. I was thinking 2005 would be too long ago, so to hear you were able to get info from the 90’s is great.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to anything. I don’t live in the UK anymore. I do have a very small amount of paperwork back in a storage container there though.
     
  5. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    Thank you Rott Weiler. Yes; I’ll try and talk to the council but I suspect I’ll have to wait until I’m next back in the UK. I might have some old payslips but it’s unlikely.

    With regard to whether I was definitely paying, I am almost certain that I was. So certain in fact, that I was sure TPS would simply reply saying it was a glitch and the records were actually all present and correct.

    My mom (retired now) was a teacher when I qualified, and she really impressed upon me how important it was that I pay into it.
     
  6. Newidentity

    Newidentity Occasional commenter

    It was a bit of a shock to me to find I had three separate gaps in my pension (for no reason). I had to go to the LA first (who said it wasn't their problem) and then to the MAT that now ran the school (which wasn't the one that ran it when I was there). I honestly thought I had no chance! But, eventually, it was all restored. The day after, I found payslips that would have proved my point in the first place. Go figure.
     
  7. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    I find this very odd. You state that you worked in a total of four counties but that there is no record of pension payments. Are you claiming that each of these authorities have no records. Extremely unlikely! I worked for a total of three different counties and all records were totally correct.
     
  8. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    With luck, the county councils will have records of your employment if you cannot find evidence from payslips or P60s. You may find it difficult to get the councils to process your request ( I speak from experience) but if you persevere, once you get to speak to the right person, you may get the records that you need. I have told my son - who is now living abroad - that he should keep all his payslips from his work in the UK.
     
  9. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    I’m glad you got it resolved!! I posted in a finance group I’m in on FB and I was surprised to hear how common this is, not just with TPS. It’s really reassuring to hear from people who managed to get it sorted.
     
  10. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    That’s not what I said. I said *I* don’t have records, ie I haven’t kept all my old payslips.
     
  11. GoldSpots

    GoldSpots New commenter

    I’m hoping that will be the case. While I probably won’t have kept any old payslips, I think I’ll have several years of P60s which will help make my case. It’s maddening to know exactly where they are but be unable to access them and check!

    That’s very good advice to your son!
     
  12. asnac

    asnac Lead commenter

    The OP isn't saying that the counties don't have the records - he/she hasn't asked them yet. But it's true that 4 different authorities aren't going to all make the same error.

    I'd advise checking this urgently. If you are 'almost certain' that you made the payments then they have gone to boost someone else's pension fund! First thing is to check your teacher reference number on all paperwork and on TPS online, in case there was a slip when you rejoined the scheme in 2005.

    You haven't somehow got two teacher reference numbers, have you?
     
  13. poppy45

    poppy45 New commenter

    I contacted an LEA recently I had worked for back in the 80s about my pension contributions, I was quite surprised that they still had all my details on file.
    Good luck in chasing it up
     
  14. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    For any teacher who is reading this:
    Always keep your old payslips until you retire
    Log onto TPS and check your pension entitlement regularly.
    Don't opt out of the teacher pension,
     
  15. Baron_Hamstead

    Baron_Hamstead New commenter

    'Always keep your old payslips until you retire'
    This is exactly what i did. I have 35 years worth of paper ones and about 3 years worth of electronic ones!
     
    Treacle3 likes this.
  16. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe Occasional commenter

    It does seem odd that 4 separate counties have not sent your pension contributions to TPS. There is clearly some big issue here.

    I had a couple of short unexplained gaps in my pension record on the TPS website but managed to clear them up reasonably easily.

    I too have been working abroad but I managed to sort both issues out from there via email. (I did get my daughter to ring one authority and ask for email contact address)

    The Local authority one (Northamptonshire) was done easily even though it was from 1990's and the school had changed names and become a MAT.

    The other was a Academy school and I just contacted HR who passed it on to Finance.

    Were any of your schools Academies? If so you should contact them directly.
     
  17. zagubov

    zagubov New commenter

    It would be tedious, but I'd recommend anyone moving abroad to scan all their payslips, tax douments and pension estimates and/or use your smartphone to take legible photos of them and keep backup copies on the cloud.
    To be honest I'd even recommend this if you were simply switching counties.
     

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