Keep a close eye on your pension

19th March 2004 at 00:00
It is not just Lewisham teachers who are finding that years of service are missing from their pension records (TES, March 5).

I would advise all teachers to check their pension entitlement with Capita via the Teachers' Pensions website. I checked my entitlement back in November 2002 and found a gap of 12 months' service.

I contacted both my employing local education authority and Teachers'

Pensions about this. It took a further year or so to sort out the matter, with my employer saying they had sent Capita details of my missing service and that the matter had been sorted, and Capita saying they had no record of any contact from my employer and that there was still a service gap of 12 months.

By persistently pressing Capita and my LEA I did finally resolve the matter, although I still do not know whether the error was caused by my LEA or Capita or both.

Following this experience my wife checked her service record with Capita via the Teachers' Pensions website. In her case there was a gap of five years' service. In fact Capita records did not show my wife as being employed as a teacher at all after 1998 (even though she had continued in the same LEA and at the same school).

Again, our efforts to secure recognition of this missing service followed the same pattern: the school and LEA said the matter had been sorted (twice) but Capita said they had no record of any contact from the LEA.

Eventually, by pressing Capita, the missing service was reinstated. This took around nine months to resolve. Again, we do not know where the error lay.

Other teachers at my wife's school have also had incorrect service records.

From our experience it would seem that errors may occur when either you are a "non-standard" teacher (temporary and or part-time as I am) or if your school changes its status, for example from or to voluntary-aided status (as my wife's did).

This may suggest a systems or communications failure somewhere along the line, but, given the time taken to sort out the matter, it would benefit all teachers to check their entitlement as soon as theyare able.

Simon Midgley

63 Bankside Lane



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