Thousands of pension statements are wrong

NHS informs pension members of mistakes

By Edie Bourne

Nearly 3,000 NHS scheme members have been sent pension statements which are wrong. 

The erroneous documents were dated between 20 April and 27 April but an investigation has been launched to see if the substantial mistake could span a greater date range. 

The NHS Pension Agency has written to members who had received statements after 28 April to admit the error and to confirm they would be recalculating positions and issuing new statements. 

Specialist financial planners Cavendish Medical has long warned about everyday occurrences of errors in the com­puter-generated pension statements.

Its technical director Patrick Convey told Independent Pract­itioner Today: ‘Pension savings statements form the starting point of calculating a member’s position and whether they are likely to face an annual allowance charge. 

‘However, we have seen many which are wrong – and sometimes the smallest mistake in the calculations can lead to very large problems. 

‘These mistakes can be difficult to spot and can be easily missed by busy medical professionals or financial advisers not well versed in NHS nuances. 

‘Every detail needs a thorough ‘sense check’ to ensure your own position is correct. 

‘The figures will be used to calculate if an annual allowance charge will apply and mistakes can mean owing or being owed thousands of pounds in wrongly calculated tax.’

The annual allowance limits the amount of tax-free pension savings which can be accrued per year to £40,000. 

For higher earners, the ‘tapered’ annual allowance applies which can be as low as £4,000. 

Mr Convey continued: ‘Just last month [in Independent Practitioner Today] we warned that NHS Pension Scheme members made up a third of the total number of individuals exceeding the annual allowance in 2019-20 in the UK. 

‘Doctors are already facing the harshest tax penalties and the most complex calculations on their pension – they must have figures they can rely on.

‘This area of pensions taxation is proving particularly distressing at present and doctors should not face these challenges alone while trying to do important medical work. 

‘There is help available from NHS experts and a trained eye can spot errors on payslips and pension statements as well as conduct detailed modelling to plan the best options for your future.’