As well as helping our Members with their individual pension questions, we are also the pension referral partner for the Veterans’ Gateway.
We answer simple questions about pension entitlement for those who seek advice through the Gateway. We hope that by doing this we are increasing pensions understanding among veterans, replacing confusion and misunderstanding with clarity and confidence.
We now take around 200 enquiries a month via the Veterans’ Gateway. Here are some recent, successful cases:
Mr J* approached us to ask whether his 4 years service in the 80s would qualify him for a pension award. As he left after 6 April 1988, he needed only 2 years after the age of 18 as an OR to meet the then-criteria ( before that date he would have needed 5 years – and these changes in criteria were not well understood). We explained the criteria and provided a form to get a forecast, and we are pleased to report that he has just learned that he has a pension of £1k and a lump sum of £3K waiting for him.
Both Mr D* and Mrs S* served for 7 years in the 70s and early 80s and had no idea whether their service would have entitled them to a pension or not. Alerted by social media, they contacted Veterans UK and were referred on to us. We explained the eligibility criteria in force at the time of their discharge and, as their dates looked promising, we recommended that Mr D should ask for a free pension forecast and we talked Mr S through his claim form. Mr D has now learned that he is entitled to a pension of about £2,500 in a couple of years time. Mr S has started to receive a pension of about £3,000 and his pension lump sum (about £9k) is in his bank.
Mr X left the Armed Forces in 1977 after 6 years service – preserved pensions were ill understood and, anyway, he was young and not thinking about pensions. Last month, age 68, he was referred to us by the Veterans Gateway. We explained the criteria in force in 1977, and provided a claim form and notes on completing it. We have just learned that he has been awarded a pension of about £2,000 – and all his back pension.
Many years ago Mr B* was dismissed from the Army. Over 25 years on he was wondering whether his dismissal would have resulted in loss of pension and came to us for help, having read our material on the Veterans’ Gateway website. We explained the forfeiture rules to him and suggested that he applied for a forecast – after all, what is the worst that could happen. We are happy to report that the forecast has come back, confirming his entitlement and he can claim his pension in just a couple of years time. Had he not come to us, his pension could have been one of the hundreds of unclaimed pensions sitting in the Government’s coffers as, conscious of his then-behaviour, he had assumed that he had lost it.
Mr B said “fantastic news, I did not forfeit my rights and will receive a lump sum in 3 years time and annual amount. I was so unsure and had always just accepted I’d lost it, but there you go. Once again, many thanks for steering me in the right direction.”
These pension payouts may not be a fortune BUT it is their money and it is only right they should claim it.
Do you know anyone who may have an unclaimed preserved pension? It is worth asking the question!
Image: Ministry of Defence CC2012