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DWP boosts Pension Tracing Service ahead of April freedoms

The Government has boosted resources at the Pension Tracing Service to deal with an expected surge in demand following the introduction of new pension freedoms from April this year.

From April savers 55-and-over will have greater control over their pensions than ever before. However, as workers move jobs, pension pots are often left behind and forgotten by members. The Government has previously said there could be up to 50 million lost pots by 2050.

Demand for the tracing service – which helps people find lost pension cash – has already increased. Last year, people contacted the service a record 145,000 times, double the number of calls in 2010.

To deal with further anticipated rises in demand the DWP plans to quadruple the service’s headcount from 12 to 49.

Pensions minister Steve Webb says: “With people having an average of 11 different jobs during the course of their working lives, it can be very easy to lose track of pensions they may have built up with previous employers.

“If you contributed to a pension in a previous job and don’t have any details any more, it would be worth contacting our free PTS to see how you can be reunited with your lost pension pot.

“Whilst we have plans to help people combine their pension pots in future when they change jobs, there are still too many scattered and lost pensions, and we are working hard to make sure people get what they are entitled to.”

The DWP is also planning to introduce the pot-follows-member system to tackle the small pots problem. Current proposals aim to automatically move pots below £10,000 to the member’s new job, from Autumn 2016.

Steve Webb recently revealed a pilot of pot-follows-member would be run on an opt-in basis with around 20 providers.

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