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State Pension Forecast Accuracy

Lootman
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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#429926

Postby Lootman » July 23rd, 2021, 1:09 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:I thought you could make top-up NI contributions to bring your state pension up to the "full" amount. And that supposedly it's a no-brainer to do so if you're not expecting means-tested benefits.

Is that time-limited, so that reaching pension age means you've lost your chance? If so, I'd better look into it while there's still time!

You can certainly buy back past years. I bought back nine or so a couple of years ago. And they are a good deal as the payback period for them, in my case, was only about 3 years.

But you need to get statements both for your estimated pension and for your NI contribution record in order to know which years you can buy back, how much they cost and whether it makes sense to do so or not.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#429929

Postby mc2fool » July 23rd, 2021, 1:52 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:I thought you could make top-up NI contributions to bring your state pension up to the "full" amount. And that supposedly it's a no-brainer to do so if you're not expecting means-tested benefits.

Is that time-limited, so that reaching pension age means you've lost your chance? If so, I'd better look into it while there's still time!

That's already been covered up thread. His only gaps are pre 2016 and as he already had more than 35 years at 5-Apr-2016 filling any of those pre 2016 gaps wouldn't help.

Irrespective of the number of pre 2016 years, one can carry on getting qualifying years from 2016 onward up until either the full amount is reached or the tax year before reaching state pension age, whichever comes first, and that's exactly what he's done, and is all he can do.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#429939

Postby staffordian » July 23rd, 2021, 2:33 pm

UncleEbenezer wrote:I thought you could make top-up NI contributions to bring your state pension up to the "full" amount. And that supposedly it's a no-brainer to do so if you're not expecting means-tested benefits.

Is that time-limited, so that reaching pension age means you've lost your chance? If so, I'd better look into it while there's still time!


As mc2fool hints at above, one has to be careful when looking to buy missing years. Had he not explained the rationale behind the calculations, I could easily have wasted a four figure sum buying my missing years only to find it increased my pension by approximately £0.00. The option to buy them is still there on my .gov NI statement. Whether or not they would advise you that you are wasting your money should you attempt to buy them is not something I feel like trying :)

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441799

Postby staffordian » September 13th, 2021, 9:28 am

Just a brief update, mainly to thank mc2fool for the advice which helped me get this resolved.

The issue was simply an error on their part to update my NI record.

It took several attempts to get sorted. The typical response was dismissive, along the lines of "the forecast is simply that and can't be relied on", to we can't access all the system so will pass on your query.

Last week I tried again, and spoke to someone who told me that although they could only access part of the system, if I rang again and selected the notify change of circumstances option I'd get to someone who had greater access.

Sure enough, the chap I got through to agreed immediately when I explained the issue. He confirmed the correct figure was the £174.05 I expected and updated the system as I spoke. He promised the "backpay" would be paid and the next pension payment would be correct.

Today I received the adjustment so am fully confident the correct 4 weekly amount be paid this Thursday.

So if anyone else wants a proper answer to a pension query, try the change of circumstances option rather than the default "Hold for other queries" option, which seems to go through to untrained advisors with limited access and knowledge.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441847

Postby mc2fool » September 13th, 2021, 12:01 pm

staffordian wrote:Just a brief update, mainly to thank mc2fool for the advice which helped me get this resolved.

The issue was simply an error on their part to update my NI record.

You're welcome. :D I take it it was as we identified, the missing 45th year? And we know it wasn't missing in your actual NI record, so was it missing in DWP's copy?

staffordian wrote:Last week I tried again, and spoke to someone who told me that although they could only access part of the system, if I rang again and selected the notify change of circumstances option I'd get to someone who had greater access.

Sure enough, the chap I got through to agreed immediately when I explained the issue. He confirmed the correct figure was the £174.05 I expected and updated the system as I spoke. He promised the "backpay" would be paid and the next pension payment would be correct.

How bizarre! So it sounds like the general enquiries call centre folks only have access to DWP's data on you but the change of circumstances folks also have access to HMRC's data (it's HMRC that maintains NI records), and he could see both and immediately spot the difference ... is that the impression you got?

staffordian wrote:So if anyone else wants a proper answer to a pension query, try the change of circumstances option rather than the default "Hold for other queries" option, which seems to go through to untrained advisors with limited access and knowledge.

A useful tip! :D

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441925

Postby pochisoldi » September 13th, 2021, 4:10 pm

I had a missing year on my record - it was fixed by sending a photocopy of the P60 with a covering letter to the "Individuals Case Worker" BX9 1AN.

After a two weeks I got an acknowledgement back, and the website showed the missing year.

For the record, the mistake was spotted/fixed in Oct 2016, and related to 2005-06.
The relative opacity of the NI and pension system is one of the reasons I've made a point of keeping all my P45's, and P60's.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441957

Postby mc2fool » September 13th, 2021, 6:05 pm

pochisoldi wrote:I had a missing year on my record - it was fixed by sending a photocopy of the P60 with a covering letter to the "Individuals Case Worker" BX9 1AN.

After a two weeks I got an acknowledgement back, and the website showed the missing year.

Ah, but staffordian's problem wasn't that he had a missing year on his NI record; his final year was there in his record and correctly shown on the website. The problem was that DWP hadn't included it in calculating his pension.

Keeping all your P45's, and P60's is a good idea. I'd also recommend folks to at least once a year take and keep a copy of their forecast and NI record (as PDFs is fine ... as long as you have a good backup/archive system!), and every few years request paper copies of those.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441968

Postby staffordian » September 13th, 2021, 7:07 pm

mc2fool wrote: I take it it was as we identified, the missing 45th year? And we know it wasn't missing in your actual NI record, so was it missing in DWP's copy?

mc2fool wrote:How bizarre! So it sounds like the general enquiries call centre folks only have access to DWP's data on you but the change of circumstances folks also have access to HMRC's data (it's HMRC that maintains NI records), and he could see both and immediately spot the difference ... is that the impression you got?


Yes, it was the missing year. The chap I spoke to made no specific reference to looking at the HMRC data and judging by the speed with which he confirmed my suspicions, I got the impression it was on his system. Additionally, he almost immediately confirmed not only the corrected weekly figure but also the amount of arrears payable for the 4 weeks and 5 days paid at the lower rate. I would be surprised and very impressed if he could have transferred the missing data from the HMRC system to the DWP system and then got it to produce these figures so quickly whilst on the phone to me.

In view of this, I suspect (and actually think he may have mentioned it, now I think of it) that the DWP system had the data sometime in April, but a glitch somewhere caused my problem. Possibly my applying in March, at which point the 2020-2021 NI year would not have been on the DWP system might have been the start of the problem, but clearly not the real issue otherwise everyone qualifying for a pension soon after 6th April each year would have the same problem.

I suspect staff shortages or lack of knowledge. My wife is experiencing issues too. As a payer of the reduced rate "married womans stamp" she only qualified for a pension when I did, and based on my NI record. We made several enquiries leading up to my pension date to find out how she should claim it, having found she could not use the online method. We were variously told it would start automatically when I got mine, she could only apply after mine became payable, and that she could only apply by paper form.

At the time I rang them to query my incorrect payment back in July, they said they would look into it and let us know. A form arrived in the post a couple of weeks later, and we filled it in. A copy of our marriage certificate had to be enclosed, which they duly returned a week or so later, but nothing further was heard from them. When I spoke to the helpful chap referred to above, I asked if he could see the state of play of my wife's application. He saw immediately that an application had been received, but he said that the file had been closed, so had we waited, nothing would have been forthcoming. He said he could request it be reopened and another team would then process it. It remains to be seen if that actually happens...

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#441976

Postby staffordian » September 13th, 2021, 7:37 pm

Forgot to add...

After posting here earlier, I received the written confirmation from the DWP of the correct amount in this morning's post, so all definitely sorted :D

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442126

Postby mc2fool » September 14th, 2021, 12:33 pm

staffordian wrote:
mc2fool wrote:How bizarre! So it sounds like the general enquiries call centre folks only have access to DWP's data on you but the change of circumstances folks also have access to HMRC's data (it's HMRC that maintains NI records), and he could see both and immediately spot the difference ... is that the impression you got?

The chap I spoke to made no specific reference to looking at the HMRC data and judging by the speed with which he confirmed my suspicions, I got the impression it was on his system.

Yes, what I meant was it sounded like the change of circumstances folks system would present them with all the data, both from DWP and HMRC, on one screen, rather than the chap having to log in to two separate systems, but in any case, however it's done, I still think it's bizarre that the general enquiries folks don't have access to the data for what must be a very basic query ... and also annoying that they couldn't just transfer you and you had to ring in again! :(

Anyway, glad to hear it's now sorted for you :D and hoping the same happens for your wife soon too!

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442333

Postby Corvid » September 14th, 2021, 9:34 pm

Reading this thread made me decide to check my forecast and print it off as a future record as I knew I was forecast to receive the full amount of £179.60 per week.

I am still receiving the same forecast amount but I think the format of the forecast has changed.

I'm pretty certain the last time I checked it, it said I needed one more year to qualify for the full amount.

All I get now is

38 years of full contributions
12 years to contribute before 5 April 2033

Can anyone confirm that they used to tell you how many more years contributions were required?

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442347

Postby staffordian » September 14th, 2021, 10:16 pm

Corvid wrote:Reading this thread made me decide to check my forecast and print it off as a future record as I knew I was forecast to receive the full amount of £179.60 per week.

I am still receiving the same forecast amount but I think the format of the forecast has changed.

I'm pretty certain the last time I checked it, it said I needed one more year to qualify for the full amount.

All I get now is

38 years of full contributions
12 years to contribute before 5 April 2033

Can anyone confirm that they used to tell you how many more years contributions were required?


Before retirement my forecasts gave two figures.

Estimated current entitlement based on current NI record and a second figure giving a forecasted figure if contributed until 5 April 2021, so in my case it didn't explicitly say how many more years were needed, but clearly the number of years could easily be calculated.

Between April 2021 and my qualifying in July, it only gave the one estimated figure, as clearly I could not have a higher forecasted figure with no more NI years possible.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442372

Postby fisher » September 14th, 2021, 11:42 pm

Corvid wrote:Reading this thread made me decide to check my forecast and print it off as a future record as I knew I was forecast to receive the full amount of £179.60 per week.

I am still receiving the same forecast amount but I think the format of the forecast has changed.

I'm pretty certain the last time I checked it, it said I needed one more year to qualify for the full amount.

All I get now is

38 years of full contributions
12 years to contribute before 5 April 2033

Can anyone confirm that they used to tell you how many more years contributions were required?


It tells me I need more years (and how many) when I log in and view the State Pension Forecast. If I look at the National Insurance Record page I get similar to what you say you got. Are you looking at the State Pension forecast or the National Insurance record page?

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442667

Postby Corvid » September 16th, 2021, 1:04 am

fisher wrote:
Corvid wrote:
It tells me I need more years (and how many) when I log in and view the State Pension Forecast. If I look at the National Insurance Record page I get similar to what you say you got. Are you looking at the State Pension forecast or the National Insurance record page?


What I previously posted was from my NI page but this is what I get on the State Pension Forecast page.

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
is based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2021
does not include any increase due to inflation
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any more.

If you’re working you may still need to pay National Insurance contributions until 15 May 2033 as they fund other state benefits and the NHS.

View your National Insurance record


No mention any more of how many more years I need.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442668

Postby mc2fool » September 16th, 2021, 1:13 am

Corvid wrote:What I previously posted was from my NI page but this is what I get on the State Pension Forecast page.

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
is based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2021
does not include any increase due to inflation
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any more.


If you’re working you may still need to pay National Insurance contributions until 15 May 2033 as they fund other state benefits and the NHS.

View your National Insurance record


No mention any more of how many more years I need.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442703

Postby fisher » September 16th, 2021, 9:24 am

Corvid wrote:
fisher wrote:
Corvid wrote:
It tells me I need more years (and how many) when I log in and view the State Pension Forecast. If I look at the National Insurance Record page I get similar to what you say you got. Are you looking at the State Pension forecast or the National Insurance record page?


What I previously posted was from my NI page but this is what I get on the State Pension Forecast page.

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
is based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2021
does not include any increase due to inflation
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any more.

If you’re working you may still need to pay National Insurance contributions until 15 May 2033 as they fund other state benefits and the NHS.

View your National Insurance record


No mention any more of how many more years I need.


This is what I see in the same section you have quoted:

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
does not include any increase due to inflation
You need to continue to contribute National Insurance to reach your forecast
Estimate based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2020
£174.14 a week
Forecast if you contribute another 2 years before 5 April 2031
£179.60 a week
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any further, unless you choose to put off claiming.

So it looks like you already have enough contributions for the maximum pension amount.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442773

Postby Corvid » September 16th, 2021, 2:43 pm

fisher wrote:
Corvid wrote:
fisher wrote:


What I previously posted was from my NI page but this is what I get on the State Pension Forecast page.

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
is based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2021
does not include any increase due to inflation
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any more.

If you’re working you may still need to pay National Insurance contributions until 15 May 2033 as they fund other state benefits and the NHS.

View your National Insurance record


No mention any more of how many more years I need.


This is what I see in the same section you have quoted:

Your forecast

is not a guarantee and is based on the current law
does not include any increase due to inflation
You need to continue to contribute National Insurance to reach your forecast
Estimate based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2020
£174.14 a week
Forecast if you contribute another 2 years before 5 April 2031
£179.60 a week
£179.60 is the most you can get
You cannot improve your forecast any further, unless you choose to put off claiming.

So it looks like you already have enough contributions for the maximum pension amount.


Thanks fisher. That's what I wanted to hear. I thought I needed the current years contributions as well to get the maximum.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442791

Postby mc2fool » September 16th, 2021, 3:29 pm

Corvid wrote:I thought I needed the current years contributions as well to get the maximum.

? Maybe my highlighting wasn't explicit enough, but it clearly says You cannot improve your forecast any more viewtopic.php?p=442668#p442668

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#442921

Postby fisher » September 17th, 2021, 10:07 am

mc2fool wrote:
Corvid wrote:I thought I needed the current years contributions as well to get the maximum.

? Maybe my highlighting wasn't explicit enough, but it clearly says You cannot improve your forecast any more viewtopic.php?p=442668#p442668


I think your highlighting was great and made the point.

One of the troubles with the confusion is the ambiguity of some of the phrases they use. They tell Corvid "£179.60 is the most you can get, You cannot improve your forecast any more" but they also tell me "£179.60 is the most you can get, You cannot improve your forecast any further, unless you choose to put off claiming". Mine is qualified by the earlier lines: "Estimate based on your National Insurance record up to 5 April 2020, £174.14 a week, Forecast if you contribute another 2 years before 5 April 2031, £179.60 a week".

Mine makes it clear of the basis of my forecast being a further 2 years of contributions but Corvid's does not have a similar explanation. If his also had a line that made it clear that his forecast was based on the contributions already made and that they didn't think more contributions are required to reach the maximum then he probably wouldn't have questioned it.

Where people have seen the forecast say you need future years contributions to reach the forecast maximum, as mine does, and in a later year these lines dissapear and are not replaced with new lines confirming you have enough years of contributions I think some confusion may arise. It might make you wonder whether you have enough years already or whether they have changed the system so it does not now tell you how many more years you need.

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Re: State Pension Forecast Accuracy

#443796

Postby AWOL » September 20th, 2021, 11:24 am

When do they update the NI records for the state pension forecast? They still don't have data for 2020-2021 FY in my forecast.

I note from the comments above that some forecasts are based on old data and since include last financial year. Is there a reason for the difference?


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