Where is my pension pot?
I worked for a well-known retail chain as a trainee manager for eight months from 1973 to 1974. I made contributions to my pension and assumed there were also employer ones.
Nobody contacted me regarding this pension until this year, when I learnt that Aviva had taken over the running of it. The letter informed me that the value of the pension was £40. AC, WEST MIDLANDS.
As your 65th birthday approached, Aviva wrote to you about a pension deriving from a contracted out graduated pension. This was part of the National Insurance Scheme which stopped in April 1975.
Equivalent benefits from this were by default integrated into the company’s scheme when you joined the retailer.
These had to be no less than your entitlement was when you had been contracted in. The sum was fixed from the outset so wouldn’t increase over time. This meant there was no requirement to send out statements.
Typically the amounts in such pensions are minuscule. An annuity purchased on your behalf would pay the equivalent of £2.64 per annum. You have a right to convert this to £40 in cash.
As for the other pension rights you thought you might have, the situation began to be more favourable with the introduction of the Social Security Act on April 6 1975.
Before then, which is the case with you, a scheme member of an occupational pension scheme could lose most or even all their pension rights if they left the scheme early. Their contributions would have been refunded.
As a gesture of goodwill to apologise for any confusion, Aviva has sent you a teatime hamper.
There are still many diverse pensions with a legacy of archaic rules, which people such as yourself, who are reaching retirement age now, are having to grapple with.
General advice is available from The Pensions Advisory Service at pensionsadvisoryservice. org.uk and on 0300 123 1047. Over the years I have, along with many readers, found this organisation most helpful.
All our bank accounts are in credit. I have two credit cards, the balances of which are paid off at the end of each month and I never exceed my credit limit.
For many years I have used a pay-as-you-go mobile phone through Vodafone. I cannot receive any other signal in my house so am stuck with it. I wish to upgrade to a SIMonly contract but have twice been refused credit for this and do not know why. This is embarrassing. PG, CHESHIRE.
Your credit reference report revealed nothing more detrimental than that you have no credit history. Such a blank canvas can lead to the kind of rejection you experienced and may occur because the customer opened their bank account or took out their mortgage before 2000.
This is roughly when providers started seeking permission to pass payment information on to credit reference agencies across the board. Favourable credit histories of such long-standing customers who have not agreed to this cannot be shown retrospectively, although such clients can ask providers to pass it on in future.
Another stumbling block can occur if the address or date of birth does not match the data being referred to. Or if the applicant does not feature on the electoral roll.
Providers do not disclose their acceptance criteria, which are commercially
sensitive. I have teased out of Vodafone that what happened to you has nothing to do with your credit history.
After my involvement, it approved the application after all. You say that, as long as the good network coverage continues, you will go along with this. You now have your phone contract plus, I understand, some extra megabytes.