Dear Pensions Ombudsman,
I have a pension that is locked until the age of 50 (maybe 55 now)with Centrica.
Please could you help me with any of the following questions and correct any information I have got wrong?
1) Why do pensions become locked or frozen?
2) Aren't they technically personal savings accounts and therefore access be granted upon request?
3) Pensions can be unlocked if you submit to a penalty and pay a 3rd party (company). What is the penalty fee?
4) Why is there a penalty for unlocking frozen pensions?
5) Who is the recipient of the penalty fee?
6) What is the process of the company who is able to unlock my pension? Ie a type of request or form.
7) If a pension is locked does the balance remain frozen at the figure it was when the relevant time period elapsed and it become locked/frozen or will it accrue interest?
I made this request because I would like to access my pension and transfer the funds into a fresh pension scheme or unlock the funds without having to pay or involve a 3rd party to access my frozen pension.
Our Ref: PO-19348
Dear Mr Smith
Thank you for your email.
The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent organisation set up by law to investigate disputes about the administration of personal and work-based pensions. The Ombudsman is an impartial adjudicator and cannot offer advice, so we cannot respond to general pension queries.
If you want advice about your pension, we find that people often benefit from using the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS). TPAS provides free, independent help and guidance and may help you resolve your problem without having to come back to us. Further information about TPAS can be found at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk or you can call them on 0300 123 1047.
If you still need to proceed with a complaint to us, please complete our application form, which can be downloaded from our website or completed online at www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk
Please note that before making a complaint to us, you will need to have tried to resolve the matter with the parties involved, for example your pension provider or the trustees of your pension scheme. We will need to see a copy of the complaint correspondence with all of the parties you believe to be at fault.
When you make your application to us, we will arrange for a secure email exchange to be set up so that you can forward the complaint correspondence securely to us via email. Alternatively, you can send the paperwork by post to The Pensions Ombudsman, 11 Belgrave Road, London SW1V 1RB.
Ms Bisrat Bezuneh I Investigation Assistant I 020 7630 2753
The Pensions Ombudsman
The Pensions Ombudsman and Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman
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