Q I am reaching 60 in a couple of months and reviewing my pensions. Between 1981 and 1991, I worked with two different companies, one for four years and another for four-and-a-half years. Both pensions were non-contributory. My understanding is that there was a five-year rule at that time for preserving pension and transferring it onto another employer. Being young and naive at the time, I moved jobs easily with little regard to the pension consequence. I'm wondering if the two-year rule for preservation and transferring pensions that was brought in later might have been retrospective. Is there any way I can access either pension scheme or have I lost eight-and-a-half years of pension payments?
A Until the Pensions Act came into law in 1990, there were no legal requirements for 'preservation' of pension, according to the CEO of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF), Jerry Moriarty.
That meant that, if you left your employer before retirement, the only legal right you had was to take a refund of any money you had paid into the pension scheme.
The Pensions Act changed that so that once you had been in a scheme for five years you could keep your pension in the scheme and have the benefit of your and your employer's payments. That was later changed to just needing two years' service.
Unfortunately, those changes weren't retrospective so won't help your case. However, those were the legal requirements, Mr Moriarty said. Some employers would have always allowed you keep the benefits you had built up in the scheme.
While those employers would have been in the minority, it may be worth checking with your companies.
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