UNISON believes it’s vitally important our Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) members check their annual statements. The LGPS is a large, union-negotiated benefit of working for the council. It is your deferred wages, so something you should take very seriously.
UNISON’s national office has also produced a guide aimed at women, giving advice on what you can do to get a decent income in retirement. You can download this guide here.
Eliza Davies, our branch’s new women’s officer said:
“I can’t stress enough the importance of planning for retirement and pro-actively checking your annual statements. UNISON’s report shows that almost 50% of women either don’t save enough or don’t save at all for retirement. We want to make sure our members are aware of all the different options available to them so they guard against financial problems when they leave work.”
One UNISON member late last year checked her pension statement. She found it was missing two years’ worth of her pension contributions (which had been deducted from her wages).
Quite rightly worried about losing this substantial sum, she contacted Capita to try to get this error rectified. But due to the difficulties of accessing the helpdesk she failed to get a resolution in three months, despite escalating the issue to the Capita head of service. Not getting any answer, she came to UNISON. We escalated to the right contact point in the council, but after they had investigated it, they concluded that no error had been made. It was glaringly obvious to us, so we asked the council to re-look at it. This time they saw the mistake that had been made, restored our member’s two years’ worth of pensionable service, and issued an apology.
Judith Taylor, our branch’s rep on the West Sussex Pension Panel said: “If you’re in the LGPS, whatever your employer, the moral of the story is – check your pension statement! Your pension is your money, so look after it. You should not assume your pension will always ‘look after itself’. Errors can be made, and are made. Contact the branch if you need support.”
Download the pensions guide for women available here.