What is Pension Wise? UK government advice service explained - is it free, how to contact and get appointment

While the pensions triple lock is returning from April 2023, pensioners face a challenging nine months as a result of the cost of living crisis

With a major cost of living crisis, 2022 is proving to be a tricky time for pensioners.

Not only are most of them ineligible for the full gamut of government support, but they are also receiving a state pension rate that - at 3.1% above last year’s entitlement - is well behind current UK inflation rates (9.4% as of June 2022).

From next April, the famine could turn into a feast as the state pension is forecast to increase by around 10% - well above the anticipated inflation rates.

However, a tricky nine months have to be navigated first.

Looking ahead to retirement can be a daunting experience (image: Adobe)

For those people who are soon going to be relying on their pensions, it can all seem quite daunting.

So, where can you turn to for guidance?

NationalWorld has put together a guide on government service Pension Wise to help you out.

What is Pension Wise?

Pension Wise is a service run by the government’s personal finance guidance organisation MoneyHelper.

It is there to provide free guidance to people over the age of 50 years old who have a personal or professional defined contribution pension pot - or pots.

These have to be UK-based.

Typically, these pension pots will have been borne out of your career - i.e. you will have been contributing to them from your salary.

You will need to do a bit of planning before taking out your pension (image: Adobe)

What does Pension Wise do?

If you’re eligible for its advice, Pension Wise’s role is to help you understand what finances you will have to call on when you retire.

Their advisors will also run you through the steps you might have to take to secure your finances for when you decide to stop working.

They will also inform you about the different options available to you when it comes to accessing your pension.

According to the government service, a typical appointment will provide you with the following guidance (which has to be given impartially):

  • What options you have when you retire - for example, how much money you’ll have to call on, and what money you can leave after your death
  • All the pension payment options available to you, and the role they will play in your future financial circumstances
  • What accessing your pension in different ways could mean for your tax liabilities
  • Things you ought to check before making any major decisions
  • How to avoid scammers
  • The next steps to take, including what questions you’ll need to ask your pension provider
Will elderly people receive the one-off cost of living payment? (image: Adobe)

What Pension Wise says it cannot do is recommend specific companies for particular services, tell you what to do with your pension, or how to invest your money.

In other words, it’s a service that shows all the options that are available to you but does not push you in any particular direction.

The advisers your speak to will come from the following providers:

  • Money and Pensions Service
  • The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • The Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux

How do you get a Pension Wise appointment?

To get a Pension Wise appointment you will need to call 0800 138 3944 or fill out this form on its website.

Appointments last for up to an hour and can take place over the phone, or in a place that’s local to you.