Public won’t be told single-tier foundation amount unless they ask

Members of the public will not automatically receive a statement of their individual foundation pension amount but will have to apply for one online, the Government has confirmed.

The DWP says a new online state pension forecast system will be developed to communicate foundation amounts to the public.

The revelation, given in response to a Written Question by Labour MP Teresa Pearce, has surprised some industry figures who had thought everyone in the working population would be sent a statement of their foundation amount to allow them to understand how much they would receive from the state and what further retirement provision they needed to make. Instead it will raise awareness of the online state pension forecasting tool.

A written answer to Parliament published by the DWP says: “We currently offer an on-demand State Pension service. This will also be a feature of the new system, ensuring people have their up-to-date pension position including their foundation amount.

“As part of the implementation of the reforms we are looking at how we can modernise our services to meet customer needs. Raising awareness of the availability of the service and encouraging individuals to use it will form a key objective of our communications strategy.”

Pension consultant and campaigner Dr Ros Altmann says: “I am concerned that there should be proper discussion and transparency about who is impacted by the state pension reforms and how, I believe there hasn’t been sufficient debate in parliament

Barnett Waddingham consultant Malcolm McLean says: “I can understand why they would say this, given the magnitude of the task, but I thought the whole point of the policy was that everyone would know where they stood.

“It has been implied once or twice that everyone would be told what their foundation amount was, but maybe the Government hasn’t explicitly said this will happen. The long-term consequences of this policy are that they will have to run two systems in parallel for perhaps 30 or 40 years.

“What we get from this policy is simplicity. But it is less generous, not more generous, for the majority of people.”