What are my retirement options?
You have flexibility as to when you can retire and take your pension in the LGPS. You can choose to retire and draw your pension at any time between ages 55 and 75.
If you would like a pensions quote or forecast, you can view these by accessing your online pension account and view the differing types of retirement:
You can choose to retire and take your pension from the age of 55. You do not need your employer’s permission to take your pension before your normal pension age (NPA). However, your pension is normally reduced if it is paid before your normal pension age to take into account it being paid for longer.
Your benefits are worked out to the date you left the scheme and are then reduced. How much your benefits are reduced by depends on how early you take them.
Membership before 1 April 2014 will still be linked to an NPA of 65. This means that you can still take your benefits from this age, however the service built up from 1 April 2014 will be linked to your state pension age (the age at which, based on your date of birth, your state pension will be paid).
So, benefits built up before and after April 2014 will have a different NPA, and a different rate of reduction for each period may be applied depending on when the benefits were built up.
The reduction to benefits is worked out with guidance from the Secretary of State. The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you retire early – the time between the date your benefits are paid and your NPA. The earlier you retire, the greater the reduction.
The percentage reductions,for retirements up to 13 years early are shown in the table below. Where the number of years is not exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted accordingly.
Reduction factor table for benefits paid up to 13 years early
|Years Early||Pension Reduction||Lump sum (for membership to 31 March 2008)|
Your employer can agree not to make any reduction. This is a discretion and you can ask them what their policy on this is.
Rather than continuing in your job to your normal pension age (the age when you can take your pension without it being reduced for early retirement or increased for late retirement) or beyond, you may wish to think about flexible retirement. From the age of 55, if you reduce your hours or move to a less senior position, and as long as you’ve been in the scheme for at least 2 years, and your employer agrees, you can take some or all of the pension benefits you have built up and keep working, helping you ease into retirement. You can ask your employer for details of their flexible retirement policy.
If you wish to apply for a flexible retirement then this request must be made to your employer. If your employer agrees to flexible retirement then you would have to take:
- all of the benefits that relate to any membership before 1 April 2008, plus
- all, none, or some of the benefits that relate to your membership from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2014, plus
- all, none, or some of the benefits that relate to your pension built up from 1 April 2014, plus
- any additional benefits including added years, additional pension being bought either through APCs/SCAPCs or ARCs, additional pension awarded by your employer and any AVCs (should you choose to take these).
If you take flexible retirement before your normal pension age your benefits are worked out to the date of the flexible retirement and will normally be reduced for early payment.
If you were a member of the LGPS at any time between 1 April 1998 and 30 September 2006, some or all of your benefits paid early could be protected from the reduction under what is called the 85 year rule.
Your employer may, however, decide not to apply all or part of any reduction. You can ask them what their policy on this is.
If you take flexible retirement after your normal pension age, your benefits will be increased to reflect late payment.
If your employer agrees to flexible retirement, you can still take your wages / salary from your job on the reduced hours or grade and continue paying into the LGPS, building up further benefits in the scheme. If you do not wish to continue paying into the LGPS after flexibly retiring, you must opt out of the LGPS. If you do not opt out your LGPS membership will continue automatically in your job on the reduced hours or grade. If you want to make sure that no pension contributions are taken immediately after flexibly retiring, you should let your employer know before you take flexible retirement. Please do not opt out before you flexibly retire, as this may mean your flexible retirement will be refused.
An ill-health retirement is a retirement before normal pension age under the grounds of ill-health. To be eligible for an ill-health pension your employer must initiate the ill-health process and certain conditions must be satisfied. It is only possible to receive an ill-health pension if you are currently an ‘active’ member (a scheme member currently paying in pension contributions) of the LGPS who is dismissed on the grounds of ill-health. Therefore, if you voluntarily leave your employment you do not qualify for an ill-health pension.
Please speak to your employer should you wish to explore an ill health retirement pension application.
Redundancy or business efficiency?
What happens to your pension when you are made redundant will depend on your age at that time and the length of your membership in the LGPS.
Scheme members aged 55 or over
As long as you have been a member of the LGPS for 2 years or more, (or less than 2 years, but have transferred other pension rights into your current scheme membership) you will get your unreduced retirement benefits paid immediately.
If the above does not apply to you, you will get a refund of the contributions you have paid into the scheme, as long as the following does not apply:
What happens If you have a contract to buy additional membership
If you joined the LGPS before 1 April 2008, started a contract to buy additional membership and the contract has not been completed, you will not be able to buy all of the additional membership you planned
If you are made redundant, you may be able to choose to pay a lump sum to complete the contract. If you wish to consider this, please get in touch
What happens If you get another job following your redundancy
If you get a new job after you’re made redundant and you’re being paid your pension, you cannot transfer these pension rights to your new employer’s pension scheme.
Scheme members under age 55
Over 2 years membership
If you’re under the age of 55 when you’re made redundant, with 2 or more years’ membership (or less than 2 years, but have transferred other pension rights into your current scheme membership), you won’t get your pension paid immediately.
After you have left your job, you’ll be sent a statement giving details of your pension benefits that you’ll get from your normal pension age,( together with a set of notes setting out your options. These pension benefits increase each year in line with the cost of living. Each year, you’ll get a benefit statement showing you the updated value of your pension benefits, which will be available on your online account.
Less than 2 years membership
If you’re less than 2 years membership, you’ll get a refund of the contributions you’ve paid into the scheme as long as the following does not apply:
After you’ve left your job, you’ll be sent a statement showing the value of your refund of contributions and a statement showing how much you’d be able to transfer to another pension provider (if applicable).