Become a member to attend events and meet like-minded people
The Library - Searching for Documents

Finding your loved one’s pensions

Bereavement and Work

As the average UK citizen has six jobs in their lifetime, keeping track of a pension or multiple pension schemes can prove difficult. This article will help you locate any potential lost pension accounts. If you think you have all the accounts, click here for more information on accessing the pensions your loved one held.

Is the pension lost?

Before 1988, it was not a legal requirement for employers to automatically enrol employees into pension schemes. Therefore, if you cannot find pension records for a job your loved one held, they may have not been eligible, or had their contributions refunded.

  • If they left their job before April 1975, it is likely that the contributions would have been refunded, or that they wouldn’t have been entitled to any pension benefits from the scheme.
  • If they left their job between April 1975 – April 1988, your loved one may have been part of a pension scheme, providing that they had worked at the company for at least five years. If they left before the five years had passed, it is likely any contributions would have been refunded. 
  • If your loved one left their job after April 1988, they may have a pension if they worked there for more than two years. If not, any contributions may have been refunded. 

Tracking down a lost pension

Most pension providers send a statement every year. Look through your loved one’s paperwork to see if they kept any of these documents. If you can’t find this, there are few ways in which you can find out whether they had a pension. 

Contact the pension provider 

If you know your loved one held a pension with a certain provider but you can’t find any further details, contacting the provider directly may provide you with some answers, including the value of the pension pot and whether your loved one nominated a recipient for any death benefits.

Contact them with as many details as you can provide, including:

  • Your loved one’s National Insurance Number
  • Their date of birth
  • An account number (if known)
  • The date the pension was set up (if known)

Contact your loved one’s previous employer

If you don’t know which pension provider your loved one had an account with, their former employer should have the answer to this. 

Contact their former employer with the following:

  • Their name and date of birth
  • Their National Insurance Number
  • The dates your loved one started and stopped working their (if known)

It is also good to find out whether the pension plan was a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, as this may affect your eligibility to access your loved one’s pension. 

Contact the Pension Tracing Service

If you’re struggling to find the answers, the Pension Tracing Service is a free government service that searches a database of over 200,000 workplace pension schemes to find the details you need. 

You can call them on 08007310193, or start an application online.

Other places to try:

  • The Unclaimed Assets Register – this only covers a small number of pensions, and there is a £25 charge to start a search.
  • The Policy Detective website – this is a free service but requires that you know the name of the company that provided your loved one’s pension.