When you retire you will receive a pension based on your earnings throughout your career and while you were paying into the scheme.
Each year you will earn a pension equal to 1/56.1 of your pensionable pay. So as long as you are still paying into the scheme, this will be revalued every year in line with increases to the Consumer Prices Index plus 1.25%.
Your pension is normally paid at your normal pension age which, for all officers paying into the scheme, irrespective of rank, is 60.
If you leave Police Scotland, or opt out of the scheme while still serving as a police officer in Scotland, your normal pension age will be the same as your State Pension age.
Your normal pension age is simply when you can take your benefits in full, but you can retire earlier.
The scheme also provides benefits for your dependants if you die in retirement leaving a spouse or child.
Your pension will be paid to you every month for the rest of your life. It is taxed as earned income. You may be taxed using an emergency tax code to begin with until HM Revenue & Customs send us the correct code to use.
Your pension is index-linked and will be increased each year in line with increases in the Consumer Prices Index.
Former members of the Police Pension Scheme (Police 1987) and New Police Pension Scheme (Police 2006)
Your pension will be made up of two parts:
- Your pension earned in either the Police 1987 or Police 2006 schemes; plus
- Your pension earned in the Police 2015 scheme.
Applying to retire
To help us pay your benefits on time, please submit your notice to retire to your HR three months prior to your intended retirement date.
There are plenty of websites available to help you with your retirement planning. You can find out more here.
Adult survivor benefits
A pension will be paid of half your own pension ignoring any reduction if you exchanged some of your pension for a lump sum.
An adult survivor could be your spouse or nominated non-legal partner. If you’re not in a legal relationship you can apply to nominate a qualifying partner as a dependant.
You’re encouraged to complete a declaration form to nominate your partner as soon as you consider that your relationship is for the long-term.
All adult survivor awards are payable for life, irrespective of whether they remarry or form a new partnership. Adult survivors who are also a member of the Police 2015 scheme are still eligible for an award.
Payments may be reduced if your adult survivor is more than 12 years younger than you and may not be paid if you have been married for less than six months.
Children’s pensions are paid until the age 19 or age 23 if they are in full time employment. It may be paid indefinitely if your child is permanently disabled at the date of your death.
A pension of one quarter of your pension at the date of your death will be payable. If you leave three or more children then they will share half of your pension between them.
If, when you die, the various payments from the scheme (excluding the lump sum) are less than your total pension contributions paid, an extra award equal to the balance will be paid to your estate.
Taking a tax-free lump sum
HM Revenue & Customs has set a maximum amount you can take tax free and this is currently 25% of your pension fund. More detailed information about how much you can take will be provided at retirement.
If you choose to take a tax free lump sum it will not reduce any pension payable your dependants.
Former members of the Police 1987 and Police 2006 schemes
The way you receive a tax-free lump sum is different for any benefits you have earned in either the Police 1987 or the Police 2006 schemes.
I'm thinking about applying for early retirement
You can retire at any time from your minimum retirement age which is currently age 55.
Your pension will be reduced for early payment if you take it before your normal pension age - unless you are applying to retire early due to ill-health.
Remember your normal pension age is 60 if you’re paying into the scheme and is the same as your State Pension age if you leave the scheme before you retire.
We’ve become increasingly aware of fraudulent activity whereby companies are contacting scheme members advising them that they can unlock their pension before age 55.
This is not possible unless you are applying for ill-health retirement. More information can be found on the Pension Regulator’s website.
I may need to retire early due to my ill-health
In some circumstances you may be able to retire early due to ill health. If agreed, the benefits you receive will depend on the nature of your illness or disability.
It’s important to note that even if you are assessed as being permanently disabled and unable to carry out your ordinary duties as a police officer it does not automatically mean that you will be retired on ill-health grounds.
Police Scotland will consider your specific disabilities and overall capabilities to see whether there are alternative duties which you could undertake whilst remaining as a police officer.
Police Scotland also has discretion to review the payment of ill health awards from time to time.
If you do qualify, there are two levels of ill-health pension depending on the severity of your illness:
- A standard ill health pension. This becomes payable if you’re permanently unable to carry out your duties as police officer, but you could take on other work outside the police force. If you qualify, you will receive a pension benefits based on the benefits you have earned so far.
- An enhanced top-up ill health pension, payable in addition to a standard ill health pension. This additional payment is made if you are unable to carry out any regular employment at all (of at least 30 hours a week). If you qualify, the top-up has the effect increasing your pension by up to half of the additional pension you might have built up had you been able to continue working.
Special benefits for the terminally ill
If you become terminally ill you may be able to take all your benefits immediately as a lump sum.
Awards if you suffer an injury on duty
There are separate arrangements for the payment of injury awards to officers who suffer injury on duty, which are outside the pension scheme.
Officers with short service
If you need to retire on the grounds of ill health but have been in the scheme for less than two years, you will receive a lump sum payment which will be at least the value of your total contributions into the scheme. This payment is taxable.
How do I apply for ill health early retirement
You should request a form from HR.
Payment of a pension on the grounds of ill health can only be made following an assessment by Police Scotland’s independent medical adviser. If you leave Police Scotland because of ill health it doesn’t automatically mean that you qualify for pension payments.
If you remain in pensionable employment and take your pension after your normal pension age your benefits will be increased to reflect the fact that they are being taken later.