The Equitable Life Payment Scheme has issued payments of over £1.06 billion to 902,000 policyholders as of 31 May 2015. With final tracing efforts now concluding, the scheme is reaching the limit of how many policyholders it will be able to trace and pay. As announced in the Budget on 8 July, the scheme will close to new claims on 31 December 2015. Payments to with-profits annuitants are unaffected and will continue as planned for the duration of their annuity.
Before it closes, however, the scheme will continue attempts to trace and pay eligible policyholders, including tracing policyholders through the Department of Work and Pensions due £50 or more. I would urge colleagues to make constituents aware that if any of them are holders of an Equitable Life policy and have not yet claimed a payment under the scheme, they should contact the scheme on 0300 0200 150 as soon as possible, quoting their policy number.
Despite these efforts, the scheme expects that some policyholders will remain unpaid as of 31 December 2015. The scheme will use money that would have been distributed to the untraced policyholders to double the amount of the lump sum payments of 22.4% of relative losses to policyholders on pension credit. Around 40,000 people are expected to benefit by an average of over £1,000, although actual payments will depend on the amount of an individual’s relative loss.
In order to benefit from this payment, policyholders must be in receipt of pension credit. Policyholders are therefore urged to check whether they can make a claim for pension credit by calling the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234 or contacting a local advice centre as appropriate.