Q:

How do I know if I have opted out of SERPS?

A:

HM Revenue & Customs can answer questions on whether or not a person has opted out of SERPS (State Earnings Related Pension Scheme). Its helpline number is 0845 915 0150. The agency needs an associated national insurance number to access information. HM Revenue & Customs can also be contacted at: HMRC National Insurance contributions and Employer Office, Services to Pensions Industry (Personal Pensions), Benton Park View, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE98 1ZZ.

SERPS was a state-run, earnings-based pension plan in the United Kingdom; those who work more hours or have a higher income pay in more than those who don't and receive a larger pension at retirement. An individual can contract or opt out into a personal or stakeholder's pension. Once he has done so, he can receive a rebate or pay a reduced fee on National Insurance contributions. SERPS is now an obsolete plan, replaced in 1992 by the State Second Pension plan. Individuals who are self-employed or whose companies maintain a private pension plan do not qualify.

The Financial Services Authority can provide further information on opting out in addition to an opting-out fact sheet. Also, the independent financial adviser or security company that initially sold the plan to the individual should be able to provide further information.


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