Contribution refunds and the Police Pension Scheme 2015

Note: If you leave Police Scotland, or opt out of the scheme while still employed as a police officer in Scotland, your normal pension age will become the same as your State Pension age.

All new police officers in Scotland are automatically enrolled in the pension scheme. When you join the scheme, your personal contributions are deducted from your salary. However, if you leave Police Scotland, or choose to opt out of the pension scheme, you may be entitled to a refund of the contributions you’ve made.

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 the scheme within the first three months of joining

Your contributions less 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 the scheme with more than three months but less than two years’ service*

You can either:

  • take a refund of your contributions less tax deductions or:
  • transfer your benefits to another registered pension scheme or;
  • preserve your benefits in the scheme. Your deferred pension will be revalued every year in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) increases until you retire.

If you think you may re-join the scheme at some point in the future, you may wish to delay claiming a refund until you have a firm idea of your plans. 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.

*Service includes any service you have in either the Police 1987 or Police 2006 schemes and any service you’ve transferred in from another scheme.

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.

Opting out and auto-enrolment

If you’ve opted out or the scheme but still serve as a police officer in Scotland, you’ll be the automatically re-enrolled into the scheme every three years. If you still don’t wish to be a member, you’ll need to tell Police Scotland you wish to opt out of the scheme again.

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