Special Class and Mental Health Officer FAQs
Your questions answered
Special Class and Mental Health Officer status within the 1995 section of the NHS Superannuation Scheme is a complex area. Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions.
What happens if I leave NHS employment?
If you decide to leave NHS employment before becoming entitled to a pension, your benefits will be preserved based on the service and salary that your employer has provided SPPA at your date of leaving the scheme. Your normal pension age will also default to 60.
What happens if I opt out of the pension scheme?
If you decide to opt out of the NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland) your benefits will be preserved based on the service and salary that your employer has provided SPPA at your date of leaving the scheme.
If you don’t re-join the scheme within five years in a qualifying Special Class or Mental Health Officer role, you’ll lose your right to retain Special Class or Mental Health Officer status and your NPA for 1995 section benefits will default to 60.
What happens to transferred in service?
Any service you’ve transferred into the NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland) will be included in your benefit calculations. SPPA relies on any transferred service to be correct at the time of transfer which would be agreed by the member and employer. If there is any Mental Health Officer service discrepancies, the SPPA would require the member to contact their former employer in the first instance, as any adjustments and financial amendments would need to be made by the previous employer by contacting the SPPA Transfer team directly.
Why is my annual benefit statement showing incorrect service?
Your pension benefits are calculated using your pensionable service and pensionable pay up to the date shown on the statement. It also includes any additional pension or added years you have purchased. If you hold Mental Health Officer status, we’ve included any doubled years accrued up to the statement date. However, if you hold Mental Health Officer status and you’ve worked or are working on a part-time basis, due to any ‘doubled’ service your pension benefits on your annual benefit statement may not be accurate. You may wish to request a manual calculation estimate by contacting SPPA in writing.
Why does my annual benefit statement show my retirement age as 60?
The NHS 1995 section has a normal pension age of 60. This is shown by default on 1995 section benefit statements. However, Mental Health Officers who are active in the scheme have the right to retire from age 55 without a reduction to their pension benefits. This is explained further in the ‘notes’ section under ‘final salary benefits’ on your annual benefit statement.
How does Mental Health Officer service affect my annual allowance?
The UK Government sets limits on the amount you can build up in your pension schemes each year while benefiting from tax relief. This is known as the annual allowance. The annual allowance limit includes all superannuation and private pensions but does not include the Government State Pension. Mental Health Officers’ doubled years’ service can increase pension accrual and therefore you may breach the threshold. For more information, see our section on annual allowance.