How Do I Unlock a Frozen Pension?

I was told that my pension was ‘frozen’. Am I able to access this money at all and if so when?

Question asked by Colin Tooke

Frozen Final Salary Pension

If you have a defined benefit or final salary pension with a former employer, this is often referred to as a ‘frozen’ pension, as you are no longer making contributions into the scheme.

This is actually historical terminology from when an employee left the company, their pension was ‘frozen’ or did not increase between the date of leaving and retirement. However, legislation effective from 1 January 1986 introduced indexation on deferred pensions. This meant that the pension on leaving the company retained (some of) the purchasing power to retirement.

Frozen Defined Contribution Pension

If you leave a job and leave behind a defined contribution pension, it’s not technically frozen. It won’t receive any further employer pension contributions, but may still grow depending on its investment performance. You can transfer a pension from your old job to your new employer or to a private pension scheme if you prefer.

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