1995 and 2008 NHS Pension Schemes

Overview of the 1995 and 2008 NHS Pension Schemes.

3 September 2021

The 1995 and 2008 NHS Pension Schemes are now closed to new entrants, however some members retain the right to membership of these scheme. Find out more details on the schemes and links to resources for employers.

There are two NHS Pension Schemes, the 1995/2008 Scheme and the 2015 Scheme. The 1995/2008 scheme is closed to new entrants, however some members retain the right to membership of this scheme. The 1995/2008 Scheme is divided into two sections; the 1995 section, and the 2008 section.

Both sections are governed by regulations laid down by parliament. The 1995 section closed to new members from 31 March 2008 and the 2008 section closed to new entrants from 31 March 2015. All new entrants will now join the 2015 Scheme.

1995/2008 Scheme features:

  • A pension linked to pay and length of membership (benefits are fully guaranteed and will increase each year to keep in line with inflation).
  • Immediate life assurance of twice the annual pay from the first day of joining (usually a tax free lump sum).
  • Pension and allowances for a spouse, civil partner, qualifying unmarried partner, and dependent children upon death.
  • A tax free lump sum (optional in the case of members of the 2008 section).
  • Voluntary early retirement (restrictions apply) from age 50 (1995 section) or 55 (2008 section) (members will receive a reduced pension because the pension will be paid earlier and for longer).

Final pay controls:

Final pay controls protect the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme against the costs of excessive increases in pensionable pay. Employers are charged if they give a scheme member an increase in pensionable pay which is above an allowable amount in the final 3 years of their employment.

From 1 July 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) implemented amendments to the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations final pay controls including increasing the allowable amount from the consumer prices index (CPI) plus 4.5 per cent to CPI plus seven per cent.

These changes are being applied retrospectively since 1 April 2018. This means that if an employer has paid or received an invoice for a final pay control charge on or after 1 April 2018 they can request for this to be reviewed.

To request to have a charge reassessed, employers must complete and return the final pay control reimbursement application form and return to NHS Business Service Authority in PDF format.

Employers must submit any reassessment requests directly to NHS Pensions by 31 December 2021. Any requests received on or after 1 January 2022 will not be actioned.

NHS Pensions have created a dedicated final pay controls web page which includes information on how to apply for retrospective charges to be reassessed and the application forms required.

Resources for employers:

  • 1995/2008 Scheme guide can be found at the bottom of the member hub page on the NHS Pensions website.
  • The employer charter, outlining your employer responsibilities can be found at the bottom of the employer hub page of the NHS Pensions website.
  • NHS Pensions administration contact details for administrative queries.