New 2015 NHS Pension Scheme - Top FAQs

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10 / 7 / 2014 3.20pm

The new 2015 NHS Pension Scheme will be introduced from 1 April 2015.

Below are the four most frequently asked questions received here at NHS Employers, which you may find useful to answer any initial queries from members. You can find more information on the new 2015 scheme, including a complete list of frequently asked questions and a useful glossary, on our pensions web pages.

Will all members move to the new scheme? No. If you were an active member of either section of the scheme on 1 April 2012 and on that date you were within 13 years and 5 months of your existing Normal Pension Age (NPA), you are subject to Protection arrangements. ALL other members will automatically move to the new arrangement from 1 April 2015 for future service only.

What happens to the current pension earned up to April 2015? The pension that members have earned up until 2015 is preserved and can be accessed in full at the current NPA. This pension will be linked to the final salary at retirement. If members have a pension age of 55 or 60, they will be required, as now, to retire and leave the pension scheme when they take their benefits. This means that members will either have to take any additional new 2015 scheme benefits with a reduction (as they are taken early) or defer taking them to a later date.

What does the new scheme actually mean for members of the NHS Pension Scheme? Apart from those members with Protection, it is likely that members will need to work longer in order to get the same pension they would have received at 60 under the current arrangements. However, because any pension benefits earned up to 1 April 2015 will be preserved and there will be a higher accrual rate (in the 2015 scheme), if members work until their State Pension Age (SPA) they are likely to receive a bigger pension than they would have received at 60.

Example: It has been estimated that a 40-year-old member of staff moving from band 5 to band 6 over their career would have to work until around 62 to get the same pension as they would have had at 60 under the current arrangements. For the 21 year old on the same career path, the age would be 64.

What are the similarities with the current scheme? In many respects, the new scheme looks very similar to the 2008 section; ill health retirement benefits, partner, spouse and dependent children’s pensions on the death of the member and death in service benefits remain unchanged. There will also be retirement flexibilities enabling staff to take their pension and continue working and being members of the scheme, allowing for a flexible approach to mixing work and other commitments in the approach to retirement.

If you have any queries please email: pensions@nhsemployers.org.

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