Understanding your pension scheme

The NHS pension scheme is split into three different sections. The date you joined the NHS determined what section you joined. This table summarises the different features and benefits of each part of the scheme and tells you a little bit more about what you can expect when you retire.

Feature 1995 Section 2008 Section 2015 Scheme
Contributions Tiered Tiered Tiered
Type of pension scheme

Final Salary

based on the best of the final three years' pensionable pay

Final Salary

based on the average of the best three consecutive years of the last ten years' pensionable pay (known as reckonable pay)

Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE)

based on a proportion of pensionable earnings every year you are a member

Pension value

Members receive a pension worth 1/80 of pensionable pay per year (pro rata for any part year)

Members receive a pension worth 1/60 of reckonable pay per year (pro rata for any part year)

Members get a pension worth 1/54 of each year’s pensionable earnings. This is revalued every year in line with a rate set by the Treasury plus 1.5% during active membership

Retirement lump sum

A lump sum worth three times your pension, with an option to exchange part of your pension for a higher lump sum of up to 25% of capital value

An option to exchange part of your pension for a higher lump sum of up to 25% of capital value. If you do this, you’ll get a mandatory lump sum based on service until 31 March 2008

An option to exchange part of your pension for a higher lump sum of up to 25% of capital value

Normal pension age – the age you can expect to retire with your benefits paid in full

60 (55 for special class and MHO)

65

State pension age, or 65 – whatever is later

Maximum pension age - the latest age you can claim your pension

75 (65 for special class/MHO)

75

75

Minimum pension age - the youngest age you can claim your pension

55 (50 if you joined the scheme before 6 April 2006 and don’t have any service breaks of five years or more)

55

55

Maximum service

You can accrue pension benefits for a maximum of 45 years (Special class/MHO members can accrue 40 years by age 55, with a maximum of 45 years by age 60)

You can accrue pension benefits for a maximum of 45 years

No maximum service limit – you can accrue pension benefits for as long as you’re working in the NHS and a member of your scheme

Able to retire early with a reduced pension before the minimum pension age?

Yes

Yes

Yes

What happens to my pension if I retire late and keep paying in?

No late retirement factors are applied

Late retirement factors apply to any pension earned before age 65

Late retirement factors apply to all pension earned until retirement

If I go back to work after claiming my pension, can I continue to pay into my pension pot?

Only available for members who retire from work due to ill health and then re-join NHS employment before the age of 50

Yes – eligibility criteria apply

Yes – eligibility criteria apply

Is partial retirement available?

No

Yes

Yes

Ill health lower tier

When a member is permanently unable to do their own job

Accrued benefits are paid without reduction

Accrued benefits are paid without reduction

Accrued benefits are paid without reduction

Ill health upper tier

When a member is permanently unable to undertake regular employment

Members get the lower tier payment plus an enhancement of two-thirds of service left until age 60

Members get the lower tier payment plus an enhancement of two-thirds of service left until age 65

Members get the lower tier payment plus an enhancement of half of service left until normal pensionable age

Increasing your pension pot

You can purchase additional pension in units of £250

You can purchase additional pension in units of £250

You can purchase additional pension in units of £250

Death Benefits – This information relates to death in service only. Find out what happens when a member, deferred member or person who has recently left dies.
Lump sum on death

2 x actual pensionable pay

A lump sum on death is also payable for members with less than two years’ service

2 x actual reckonable pay

A lump sum on death is also payable for members with less than two years’ service

The higher of: 2 x relevant earnings in the last 12 months’ pensionable service
or
2 x revalued pensionable earnings for the scheme year up to the last 10 years

A lump sum on death is also payable for members with less than two years’ service

Adult dependants pension for spouse/civil partner/nominated partner – for members with at least two years’ membership

Your dependant will receive 50% of the upper tier ill health retirement pension if you are under 60 when you die, or 50% your pension if you are over 60 when you die. If you purchased additional survivor cover, benefits may be higher

Based on membership from 6 April 1988. If you are the widow of a male member, this includes membership before 6 April 1988

A short-term pension is payable at your normal rate of pensionable pay for the first six months after death

Your dependant will receive 37.5% of the upper tier ill health retirement pension if you are under 65 when you die, or 37.5% of your pension when you are over 65 when you die

A short-term pension is payable at your normal rate of pensionable pay for the first six months after death

Your dependant will receive 33.75% of the upper tier ill health pension if you are under normal pension age when you die, or 33.75% of your pension if you are over normal pension age

A short-term pension is payable at your normal rate of pensionable pay for the first six months after death

Children’s Pension – a higher rate may be payable if an adult dependant pension isn’t paid

One quarter of the upper tier ill health retirement pension for one child, or one half shared equally if there are two or more children

18.75% of your upper tier ill health retirement pension for one child, or 37.5% shared equally if there are two or more children

16.875% of the upper tier ill health retirement pension for one child, or 33.75% shared equally if there are two or more children

Was this information useful?
4 + 11 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.