Martin Lewis urges households to carry out 'hidden' pension check after fan finds £82,000

A free Pension Tracing Service can help you find your old pension schemes
A free Pension Tracing Service can help you find your old pension schemes -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Martin Lewis has urged people to check whether they could unknowingly be sitting on tens of thousands of pounds in a lost pension pot, after one fan discovered a life-changing amount of money.

In his latest MoneySavingExpert newsletter, Martin explained there is a staggering £27 billion sitting in old pensions, as a result of people losing track of their savings as they get older or switch jobs throughout their life. However, there is a free tool you can use to double check whether you have cash squirrelled away that you've forgotten about - and Martin shared the incredible story of an MSE fan who ended up finding a fortune after using it.

The fan's email read: "Thanks to you promoting lost pensions on your TV show, we contacted the Pension Tracing Service and discovered a lost pension pot worth £82,000. Thank you Martin."

They added: "We didn't know where to start looking as it was over 40 years ago and my husband could not remember who it was with as he had lost all paperwork. He was shocked to find out the amount."

The MSE team advises always trying to keep track of your pension schemes, as losing contact could affect your ability to claim pension benefits when you retire. They suggest looking through old paperwork or contacting the HR department at your old employer to see if they can help find details of previous workplace pension schemes for you.

If you have no luck from these first steps, you can try a free tool from the Pension Tracing Service, which holds details of more than 200,000 different pension schemes and may be able to provide you with an up-to-date contact address. The MSE team also pointed out that if a close relative has died without taking their pension, you may also be eligible for some of the fund.

The Pension Tracing Service tool can be used online, or you can also request details by phone on 0800 731 0193, or by post at: The Pension Service, Post Handling Site A, Wolverhampton WV98 1AF. The service cannot tell you whether you have a pension or what its value is, but it may give you the contact information you need if you provide the name of your employer or pension provider.

The online tool starts off by asking whether you are looking for an NHS, civil service, teacher or armed services pension. If yes, it provides a list of contact details for these sectors, and if no, it goes on to ask whether you are looking for a workplace pension or personal pension, after which it allows you to search using your employer or pension provider's name.