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Teachers pension - Missing!

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by carl81, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. carl81

    carl81 New commenter

    So I started teaching way back in 1999 and just being out of university, and pretty skint at that, I made the decision to opt out of the pension scheme so that I could get a few extra pennies in my wage slip.
    A year or two later I changed schools, and started to pay into the pension scheme once again. The problem was, I didn’t officially ‘opt in’ as I wasn’t aware I needed to at the time, and as my payslips showed me paying in every month then I didn’t think twice about it.
    Fast forward 10, maybe 12 years and I phone the teachers pension to ask why i never seemed to get a yearly statement like the others.
    I was told at this point that I was not in the scheme as I had opted out in 1999.
    So where had my money being going every month for the last 10/12 years?
    Well it wasn’t going into my pension pot that’s for sure.
    The advice I was given was to prove how much I had paid in, and TP would refund me what I had paid in.
    Now being young, and a little carefree I did not keep hold of the vast majority of my payslips, so I had to attempt to contact all my previous schools to get evidence of what I had paid.
    I managed to find about 8 years worth of evidence, and TP did refund me that money but there is around 2 years worth of contributions that I cannot get any evidence of what I have paid.
    The school I worked at doesn’t exist anymore, and when I have contacted the council I get pushed from one person to the next and it would seem nobody knows how to get hold of records that are that old. Perhaps they don’t keep them?
    Does anyone have any advice? My pension is going to be pretty poor by the time I retire
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this. It's a hard lesson to learn that all teachers should keep ALL payslips.

    I can only suggest you look for further types of evidence for the missing 2 years - P60s? P45s? Contracts signed & dated at the time? Other official documents from those years? Even, perhaps, try contacting the relevant HT/DHTs and see if they can help? Were you in a Union then? If so have they got records?

    Hope this helps.

    PS The TPS (Teachers' Pensions Scheme) DOESN'T have a pension pot. Pensions, like mine, are paid by those teaching today (just as I paid for 30 years for those retired at that time!!)
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    So sorry to hear this
    As. Morninglover says. Check your P.60s

    (the teachers pension contributions are in effect an additional tax, for which, in return, a pension is paid.)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  4. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Strictly it is not paid by those teaching, money paid in simply goes to a big government pot, pensions are paid from the same government money.
    jlishman2158 and Rott Weiler like this.
  5. brook123lyn

    brook123lyn New commenter

    Oh Carl81 - I'm so sorry -I know just how you feel .

    I cannot believe as professionals this is still happening. Long post so feel free to skip the boring bits.

    Going back a long way now but in the early 90s my school became grant maintained and took on their own payroll. I was paying into the scheme and seeing it come out of my salary. However for some reason I wasn't in the pension scheme- I have no knowledge of opting out. I paid in for two years odd before leaving the area and going part time in a different county. I took supply and odd casual contracts around my three children without spotting something was awry - perhaps being in the pension scheme didn't appertain to supply or casuals I thought. At this point there was a test sex discrimination case with me, other female teachers and numerous nurses which ruled against us saying we could have opted in at any point. I managed to get back into the scheme in 2001 still thinking my initial contributions had been paid in.

    Cut to the chase - same boat as you. Looking just 5 years ago , contacted TP and was told school had never paid in. I was only really looking to reinstate the actual years I paid. School difficult about it and after numerous pleading emails they cut me off and refused to help. Apparently it had happened to others on the payroll and they reinstated them but because I had left it had been overlooked.They said they now had no records.

    I contacted union - not much help to be honest because my initial authority had disbanded etc etc and it "wasn't much money". I found all but two of my payslips - quite a feat 30 years on- April and August. Got a refund of those I had but TP refused to repay for those missing months - ridiculous , why would I leave employment in August on a full time permanent contract? No evidence ? No repayment of my money.

    So I did lose in the end about £100 but predominantly it was a really frustrating time and of course I would rather have had those years in my pension - especially as I'm going this year. :)

    If I was you I would try and get some legal advice- I think most unions have pension and legal advisers.

    You paid into the scheme in good faith and whilst in an ideal world you would have every record of your employment and pay etc in reality as a professional you should also expect other people who have adopted systems to administer your pension to be doing it in an appropriate manner.

    Don't give up and don't feel alone- I can't be the only other person on this forum that has shared this experience.
    carl81 likes this.
  6. carl81

    carl81 New commenter

    And I guess that’s my issue.
    I have no P60’s or P45’s either.
    It’s a mess, and not sure how to get round it either.
    One thing I have done is a SAR with HMRC, to hopefully get hold of who I was employed with and when.
    I did hear (from a colleague that I spoke to about this) that there is something called a deferred pension. And that even though I had opted out, and could prove (at the time) that I had paid in during those opted out years, that TP should have accepted them as reckonable service.
    As it happens, I was only given the option of a refund of what I could prove I had paid in.
    So not only did I not benefit from what I had been paying in, I also don’t benefit from employer contribution either.
  7. carl81

    carl81 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply brook123lyn,
    It sounds like you have had a similar battle. to be fair, I had given up on those 10 years as I remember how difficult and frustrating it was years ago trying to get hold of someone in the LEA that was willing to help.
    Mir is only because of the relative free time we are having right now that I have decided to pick up on this.
    Unlike you, I would imagine I am down £1000’s so it’s a fight worth taking.
    brook123lyn likes this.
  8. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    Was a refund the only option? It would be much more valuable to have those years counted on your pension, not refunded.
    That is something you don't have to agonise over as there is no 'pension pot': the money goes from one government account to another, not you.
  9. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Did the OP work in Wakefield MDC by any chance?

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