Credit where credit is due – how those outside of work get a pension


This blog’s mainly about public service information. But it’s also about influence and how people get it. It was sparked by my reading some stuff on twitter about why we should all be checking our entitlement to the new state pension and it ends with some thoughts on how advisers can be more influential in their businesses.


Most of us don’t know where to go for information on state pensions. So every year a high proportion of money due to people in retirement goes unclaimed. This is bad news for those of us on average retirement income This is desperate for those who have low incomes because they don’t have income from workplace pension plans,

Many people don’t do paid work for a whole load of reasons. When they are not at work- most can still get national insurance credits towards their state pension entitlement. You can see what you can claim for by clicking on this link.

The important think people need to know is that a lot of these credits need to be claimed, they aren’t dished out automatically.  So for those not in paid employment, keeping your entitlement to state pensions up to date, can be as important as workplace saving (for those who are).


I was speaking at a couple of events yesterday about why people would go to a financial adviser. I wanted to talk about this but realised that financial advice on state pension credits only enters the advisory equation at exam time.

If you want to learn about these things, follow the twitter feeds of Paul Lewis or Jo Cumbo, or go to where this there is a steady diet of what used to be called public service information.

Indeed the DWP are cottoning on to these authoritative voices and pushing information out through them. I read Jo Cumbo on the DWP as she always makes the information more interesting (which is an art with 140 characters to play with!) The twitter feed is @Josephinecumbo

In our (First Actuarial) financial education sessions with employees, we spend a lot of time talking about these things- which may seem strange, as most-times we are talking to people in the workplace. The reason we do is that everyone knows people who are out of work, through sickness, through unemployment and because they want a break. Most of these people are due credits and people like to help their friends and family with this stuff.

Which makes me think that financial advisers are probably missing a trick here. I am sure many advisers reading this will tell me they always talk about state pension entitlements, but when I talk about investing in extra years in the state pensions (or even S2P) or deferring the state pension (a brilliant investment), most advisers eyes glaze over.

The feedback we get from sessions on state entitlements is wildly positive and I think I know why. People are desperate for people “on their side”. Martin and Paul Lewis is on their side, so is Ros Altmann and so – increasingly- is Jo Cumbo!

Ironically, while Jo has been keeping us up to date on national insurance credits, she’s also been publicising how many people aren’t building up units in workplace pension plans (through auto-enrolment).

The DWP published some important information last week on who auto-enrolment covers. You can read it here

They also published research commissioned by the OMB on the decumulation options available to those in workplace pensions – click here. Jo’s report in FT Money on the issue was quoted twice by the DWP.

So it is , using social media, that information is circulated and disseminated. Financial advisers are almost entirely out of this loop but they need not be. There is no reason why they cannot share the information mined by the DWP and distributed by the media mavens.

I suggest that if they spent some time ensuring that those they influence- their clients and prospects were as up to speed on these matters- as they need  to be, they would be trusted more, referred more and would have better businesses.

That’s a very arrogant thing for me to say and I appreciate that it’s totally inappropriate for me to preach like this (where IFAs already do this work), but – heh – how many advisers would like the Klout of Paul Lewis. And how exciting must it be to be Jo Cumbo!

penson service


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Credit where credit is due – how those outside of work get a pension

  1. Mark Meldon says:

    Whilst you make many fair points, I do know quite a few IFA’s that actually start with state pensions when advising in this area, myself included. Interestingly, I recently helped a woman claim “missed” HRP credits and that made a significant difference to he weekly pension. Anecdotally, DWP records in this area are not quite what they should be.

  2. says:

    Hi Henry
    I agree with Mark’s comments. Many IFAs (and restricted advisers) know about state benefits and will advise clients about their entitlements as PART of the advice process. So your points are well made, although personally I feel the DWP should be focussing more efforts on publicising and informing the British public about these entitlements including how and when to claim for them.

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