More useful information
Mae Stewart adds to the bank of useful contacts in the December issue
If you moved between jobs while working you may have a pension with more than one employer. You may also have taken out one or more personal pension plans.
Your previous employers or pension providers may have moved‚ changed names‚ closed down or merged with other companies. If you have lost track of a company that may owe you a pension‚ it may still be possible to find and claim this money. Collect together as much information as you can about the company and its activities.
Contact the Pension Tracing Service (see Useful websites) on 0845 600 2537 (lo-call rate) who will check the information you provide against their database of pension schemes to try and find yours. You can then write to the administrators of each of the pension schemes asking for your pension to be paid.
Banks and building societies
There are differences in the way that banks and building societies are set up and run.
Building societies are mutual institutions; this means that they should be run in the best interests of their customers. If you have a savings account or mortgage with a building society you may have the right to vote on some issues‚ to receive information and to attend meetings.
Banks are companies that are either privately owned or listed on the stock market and owned by shareholders. Many former building societies are now banks.
If you have difficulty using banking services because of a disability‚ your bank or building society is required by law to take any reasonable steps to help you do so. For example‚ if you have impaired vision you can ask for statements and other information to be provided in an accessible format for you. The British Bankers’ Association and the Building Societies Association (see Useful websites) have further information on banks’ and building societies’ obligations under disability law.
Accessing your money
A convenient way of getting cash is an important factor in choosing a bank or building society and account. Depending on your needs‚ you should check the following:
- Is there a branch near where you live and does your account include branch service?
- Can you access your account at Post Office branches? All basic bank accounts and many current accounts allow this.
- How many cash machines are there in your area and can you use them free of charge? You should be told at the start of a transaction if there will be a charge for using the cash machine.
Tracing lost bank and building society accounts
If you have mislaid details of savings or other bank or building society accounts‚ there are account-tracing schemes that can help you to locate your money. If you think you may have unclaimed assets in a bank‚ building society or National Savings and Investments‚ you can make a single online application to have your account traced at the My Lost Account website (see Useful websites). Alternatively contact the British Bankers’ Association and/or the Building Societies Association for details of how to make a postal application.
Age Scotland supplies most of the members’ information that’s issued in the newsletters.
I use this site, particularly now, because of the way many changes in older peoples’ entitlements and benefits will be handled by the Scottish Government (as they are now) even more in the coming years.
You can of course still gather information which will concern us as older citizens from Age UK as well, Both of these charities handle cross-information on many issues.
Silver Line Scotland is the Age Scotland Helpline for older people in Scotland. Contact them on: 0800 4 70 80 90. This number will put you in touch with a member of a team who, if they cannot assist you, will find out for you who can. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence.
Online you can access information on the many services that are available in Scotland, such as an online magazine called ‘Advantage’ which has loads of information at: www.agescotland.org.uk/advantage
I’ll finish off with my usual mantra: If in doubt – ASK or FIND OUT.
Apologies to Age Scotland for any mis-quotes (Mae Stewart)
Provided by Mae Stewart, Editor UNISON Retired members Newsletter, Dundee, Perth and Angus. Please note that this is not definitive information about benefits but will provide a signpost as to where to get up to date information. Please check the sources first. UNISON Scotland can take no responsibility for information that may be outdated or inaccurate.