SERPS is an acronym for State Earnings Related Pension Scheme and it is often called the additional state pension.
SERPS was a pension scheme operated by the government but it ceased running on 5th April 2002. It has since been replaced with the Second State Pension scheme.
This pension scheme was initially designed to increase the amount that would be paid upon retirement and would be in addition to the amount paid on basic state pension.
If you made a Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) at any time between 1978 and 2002 you have a SERPS entitlement.
‘Contracting out’ or ‘Opting out’ was a very popular process and the financial advisers who recommended this pension advice clients to do so received commission for a successful sign-up.
This meant that the individuals made contributions to a private pension scheme and reduced or eliminated entirely their entitlement to SERPS.
Many employers signed up their employees to this system as it resulted in paying less NI (National Insurance) contributions.
Opting out was initially only available to people who made contributions to final salary pension schemes. It 1998 it was then widened to money purchase schemes.
Unfortunately if you contracted out after March 1997, you will have no SERPS entitlement in relation to earnings after that point. If you contracted out before that, your entitlement will be reduced in line with the deduction and you could possibly qualify to apply for contracted out of SERPS compensation.
Your pension provider should be able to advise you contracted out. Alternatively you could check your payslip or just ask the question to your employer.
If you’ve lost the contact details of your pension you could try The Pension Tracing Service.
Research suggest that those who work or have worked for public sectors (the Fire Service, the Civil Service, local councils, the NHS, the Police, Teaching services, the armed forces etc) are more likely to have been contracted out. Albeit this always the case and you should get in touch with us if you have any doubts about your refund.
Many people who were given bad pension advice and advised to contract out are turning to websites and forums similar to Martin Lewis SERPS compensation advice.
As more victims become aware of this mis-selling, we have seen a rise in enquiries for SERPS compensation in 2018 and 2019.
The criteria for claiming is very strict and as such we are not able to assist victims in making a claim.