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How can I check my pension is correct before I take it?

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How can I check my pension is correct before I take it?

10 replies 1.2K views
squashabesquashabe Forumite
17 posts
Eighth Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
Hello. Can anyone please tell me how I can check if my pension is correct and there are no gaps and all corect payments have been made into my pension fund?

The reason I ask is that I don't have all my pension statements going back over 25 years.

I work for a Local Authority and I don't want to rely on the information from my pension service. I have been told that if you take your pension and later find that it is incorrect it will be too late to do anything about it.

Thanks in advance

Adrian

Replies

  • hyubhhyubh Forumite
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    squashabe wrote: »
    Hello. Can anyone please tell me how I can check if my pension is correct and there are no gaps and all corect payments have been made into my pension fund?

    The reason I ask is that I don't have all my pension statements going back over 25 years.

    I work for a Local Authority and I don't want to rely on the information from my pension service.

    What are you concerned about exactly? The overwhelming variable in terms of accuracy is the data given to the pension administrator by the employer or whoever is responsible for your employer's payroll over time. Data internally consistent won't be challenged (why would it - that would mean challenging everything), however it could still be wrong.

    With respect to payments into the pension fund, they are essentially irrelevant to your benefits because the LGPS is a DB scheme.
  • drumtochtydrumtochty Forumite
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    squashabe wrote: »
    Hello. Can anyone please tell me how I can check if my pension is correct and there are no gaps and all corect payments have been made into my pension fund?

    The reason I ask is that I don't have all my pension statements going back over 25 years.

    I work for a Local Authority and I don't want to rely on the information from my pension service. I have been told that if you take your pension and later find that it is incorrect it will be too late to do anything about it.

    Thanks in advance

    Adrian


    Read your pension rules book, it is easy to calculate to a reasonable degree what you pension payment should be.
  • pandora205pandora205 Forumite
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    Usually with your annual statement from LGPS you would receive a list of your service with dates. It is worth checking the accuracy of this and verifying any gaps particularly if you've changed hours or LAs. This record is used to calculate your pension. If you look on the LGPS website you will find the formula if you want to check yhe calculation.
    somewhere between Heaven and Woolworth's
  • DoxDox Forumite
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    squashabe wrote: »
    I have been told that if you take your pension and later find that it is incorrect it will be too late to do anything about it.

    By whom? Someone who knows what they are talking about? Because they are wrong.
  • Why not ask your pension provider for a statement/projection. You say you work for a local authority so it not likely there will be any gaps unless you have taken time away.
  • enthusiasticsaverenthusiasticsaver Forumite, Board Guide
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    My LGPS has online access and shows service history which is the only thing which matters with DB pensions. You should also be able to get annual statements. Read your scheme details as LGPS has gone through several big changes over the last 15 years.
    Early retired in December 2017

    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Mortgages and Endowments, Banking and Budgeting boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Pease remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected]
  • AnotherJoeAnotherJoe Forumite
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    squashabe wrote: »
    Hello. Can anyone please tell me how I can check if my pension is correct and there are no gaps and all corect payments have been made into my pension fund?

    The reason I ask is that I don't have all my pension statements going back over 25 years.

    I work for a Local Authority and I don't want to rely on the information from my pension service. I have been told that if you take your pension and later find that it is incorrect it will be too late to do anything about it.

    Thanks in advance

    Adrian
    Who would you rely on if you don't trust your employers and don't have your own records?
    And obviously it's rubbish to say if you find a mistake it won't / can't be rectified later
    Please dont criticise my spelling. It's excellent. Its my typing that's bad.
  • woolly_wombatwoolly_wombat Forumite
    710 posts
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    I share the OP's concern.

    I have been unable to obtain an accurate LGPS statement since 2013 (and many of the statements issued before that date were also wrong!).

    Between 2009 and 2014 I purchased additional pension via ARCs (additional regular contributions) under rules that specified RPI inflation linkage, and substantial increases were imposed to the cost of ARCs from 1 April 2013 when inflation increases in line with CPI were introduced for the rest of my LGPS pension.

    This is despite LGPC bulletin 107 stating that:
    the additional
    pension purchased under all ARC contracts taken out pre 1 April 2012 should, in
    accordance with paragraph 10.2.10 of Annex A of the current GAD guidance is to be
    increased with reference to the RPI, both from the date of the first contribution to the date
    of the award of benefits, and once the additional pension is in payment.
    http://lgpslibrary.org/assets/bulletins/2013/107.pdf

    There is an old MSE thread covering LGPS addition pension, ARCs and RPI here:
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4499951
  • edited 20 November 2019 at 1:22PM
    SilvertabbySilvertabby Forumite
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    edited 20 November 2019 at 1:22PM
    To be fair (speaking as a retired LGPS administrator) the annual benefit statements are only an indicator of you might receive if nothing changes and the year end update supplied by your employer is 100% correct.

    The statements do say (or should say) that 'this is an illustration only, and shouldn't be relied upon' (or words to that effect). Even the on-line self service calculator is only as good as the employer information fed into it.

    CARE pension statements should be more accurate, as they are mainly linked to pay - but errors did occur when FS information (combination of salary/hours/service) was incorrectly input. The statements also say (or should say) that you should query any obvious errors with your LGPS provider.

    Once you are within 12 months of retirement your LGPS should provide you with a full estimate - which will have been checked for errors.

    ADD: I was often asked why the benefit statements weren't 100% checked before issue, and the answer was that if we had done that then we would still be working on 2018 statements when the 2019 issue fell due. Actually, statements for those who always worked full time and who didn't make any extra payments were usually OK - it was the one's who worked variable hours/constantly changed their contracts/made extra pension payments who tended to have the errors.

    FURTHER ADD: If an error is discovered after payments have commenced then, yes, it will be corrected. Note this applies to both under and over payment of pension benefits.
  • edited 20 November 2019 at 5:21PM
    woolly_wombatwoolly_wombat Forumite
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    edited 20 November 2019 at 5:21PM
    it was the one's who worked variable hours/constantly changed their contracts/made extra pension payments who tended to have the errors.

    Thanks for that.

    I have had 2 separate periods of LGPS membership (which I subsequently combined, then wished I hadn't after years of pay restraint meant they probably would have been better kept separate):
    1. Core static hours, but with 2 additional contracts added (one of which involved working with SEN students and constantly varying hours - got to the stage where I didn't know whether I was coming or going)
    2. Term-time only contract with fixed hours, but purchased added years and additional pension

    I think I really do need to try and check (1) as well as known issues with (2) - still got all my old payslips.
    .
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