Refunding your Police pension contributions

On this page:

  • Who is eligible for a refund of contributions
  • How to apply for a refund of contributions
  • Payment and deductions

Who can receive a refund of pension contributions?

Who can receive a refund of pension contributions?

When you take up employment with the Police in Scotland, you’re automatically enrolled in the Police Pension Scheme 2015 and contributions to the scheme are taken from your salary.

However, if you leave pensionable employment in Scotland or choose to opt out of the pension scheme, you may be able to apply for a refund of the contributions you’ve paid as long as you haven’t already qualified to receive benefits from the scheme.

If you’re eligible and you have a valid National Insurance number, a refund can be made and your rights within the pension scheme will be cancelled.

Refund eligibility

Your eligibility for a refund of contributions depends on how long you’ve contributed to the scheme, when you leave and whether you’ve transferred any benefits from another pension scheme into your police pension. If you’ve transferred in service you can’t have a refund, no matter how long you’ve been employed. 

Leaving or opting out with less than three months’ service

Your contributions minus tax deductions will be refunded and you’ll have no benefits remaining in the scheme. Your employer will pay this refund to you, once you’ve contacted SPPA to opt out. 

Leaving or opting out with between three months’ and two years’ service

If you leave or opt out when you’ve spent more than three months in the scheme but less than two years, you have a number of options. You can:

  • apply for a refund of contributions (which will be paid less certain deductions)
  • transfer your benefits to another public service pension scheme
  • defer taking a refund until you’ve decided on your future intentions (for example, returning to the Police at a future date or rejoining the scheme within 5 years).

If you re-join the scheme within five years of leaving, we’ll revisit your pension and revalue it line with CPI increases plus 1.25%. If you don’t return within five years, it will be increased by CPI alone.

Leaving the scheme having completed at least two years’ service 

Once you’ve been in the scheme for at least two years, you can’t get a refund of contributions. Your benefits will remain in the scheme and will be revalued every year in line with CPI increases until you retire. 

You may be able to transfer these benefits to another defined benefit pension scheme, if you wish, including other public service schemes where special terms are available. 

Applying for a refund

Applying for a refund

Opting out: If you’re opting out of the Police pension scheme but continuing to work for the Police in Scotland, you need to complete the relevant section on the opt out form, and confirm that you've read the Explanatory Factsheet, to request a refund of contributions.'

Leaving Police Scotland: If you’re leaving Police Scotland employment, you can request a refund of contributions by completing the refund application form.

If at any time you want to change any of the information you’ve given with your application (such as your home address or bank details) contact us as soon as possible to prevent any delays in you receiving payment.

Payments and deductions


Refund payments can only be made when the period of one month has elapsed since you either terminated employment or opted out of the pension scheme.

In some cases, SPPA may need to obtain information from your employer and/or HMRC before your refund payment can be made. Refunds are normally made within a month of all relevant information being received.

Occasionally, a refund can be overpaid – perhaps due to us receiving amended information from your employer. If this happens, we’re required to reclaim any overpaid sums to prevent a loss being made by the Agency.

Deductions from refunds

If you’re due a refund, certain deductions will be made before it’s paid.

Members who receive a refund of contributions made between 6th April 1978 and 5th April 2016 will have an amount deducted for their share of what is known as the ‘Contributions Equivalent Premium’. It represents the additional National Insurance Contributions which would have been paid to the State scheme to secure their entitlement to ‘State Second Pension’.

Income tax is also deducted from all refunds at the standard rate after the deduction of any Contributions Equivalent Premium required has been made. The income tax deduction covers the tax relief which was given at the time the pension contributions were originally paid.

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