We hear from one reader who discovered she was sitting on a pension fund she didn’t know existed. Here’s how it turned her life around…
“In September 2020 I lost my job as a carer. At 64, I struggled to find work, even though I was open to trying anything. I applied for Universal Credit and council tax support. But it wasn’t enough to cover my housing and car costs. My disposable income disappeared overnight and I was relying on food banks to get by.
I was referred to Clean Slate by the DWP. A support worker took me through a Money Health-Check Quiz. They helped me apply for Emergency Assistance Payments (EAPs) from the Welsh government, as well as reduce my monthly outgoings.
I changed my utilities tariffs saving £720 on electricity and £341 on gas. I also received a council tax refund of £171. It was changing my broadband deal where I made the most savings. As well as reducing the monthly cost I received compensation from BT because the broadband hadn’t been working in my house, forcing me to buy extra phone data. The total saving was £524. I also received three EAPs, totalling £150. All together this resulted in a financial gain of £1906.
But it was when we looked into my pension that I got the biggest surprise. We found out I had two private pensions and an NHS pension (where I had worked as a nurse for 36 years). The first two were fairly small amounts (£1500 and £2000). But the NHS pension provides around £1,200 per month with a total lump sum of £80,000, back-dated from when I turned 60.
I was totally gobsmacked. It still hasn’t sunk in. I did not think it would be anywhere near the amount it is. It’s totally life changing, I’m delighted. I have already reduced a lot of my bills so this is going to make my life stress free. I still want to work but now I don’t have to.”
Sarah is leaving the first two pensions until she turn’s 66 when she will also qualify for a full state pension (approximately £175 per week based on her national insurance record).
Clean Slate Support Worker, Dean Packer, who worked with Sarah, said: “I got to know Sarah really well, and we realised there was a lot of work to do saving money in different areas. When I started to trace her pension back, I knew it would be sizeable, but the eventual figures amazed me! To see Sarah move from negative income to outgoings, to a comfortable inflation-proof income with capital security made my day. It felt great contacting Sarah’s foodbank to tell them and thank them for all their kindness.”
*Name has been changed