You may have protections regarding your pension. It depends on when you joined the scheme.
Joined before 1 October 2006
You may be protected by the 85 year rule. If you retire before normal pension age your pension will be reduced to take into account of being paid early. If you meet the 85 year rule some of your pension may be protected from reductions. View information about the 85 year rule.
Joined before 1 April 2014
Protection for everyone
Your pension benefits built up to 31 March 2014 are protected. The LGPS changed from 1 April 2014 from a final salary scheme to a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme. Your benefits built up to 31 March 2014 will still be calculated on your final salary pensionable pay when you leave.
From 1 April 2014 the age at which you can retire and take your full benefits changed from age 65 to your State Pension age (SPa) (or age 65 if later). If you retire before then your pension may be reduced to take into account of being paid earlier. The reductions are based on how many years earlier you take your pension. Your pension up to 31 March 2014 has the protected normal pension age of 65 therefore any reductions will be based on how many years you retire before age 65.
Your pension built up to 31 March 2014 cannot be taken separately from your pension built up after 1 April 2014. All of your pension must be taken at the same time at the date of your retirement.
Jenny has a SPa of 66. She voluntarily retires at age 64.
Her pension built up to 31 March 2014 will have reductions based on 1 year (to age 65).
Her pension built up from 1 April 2014 will have reductions based on 2 years (to age 66).
All Jenny's pension will be paid together at age 64.
Alternatively she could wait and receive her pension benefits in full from her 66th birthday.
If you retire after normal pension age your pension is increased to take into account of being paid later.
Protection if you were near retirement at 1 April 2014
Protections are in place to ensure you receive a pension at least equal to that which you would have received before the scheme changed. This is known as the 'underpin'.
The underpin applies to you if:
- you were paying into the scheme on 31 March 2012 and
- you were within 10 years of reaching age 65 on 1 April 2012 and
- you have not had a disqualifying break in service of more than 5 years and
- you have not taken any benefits in the LGPS before age 65 and
- you leave with an immediate entitlement to benefits.
The underpin will not apply to you if you:
- opt out of the scheme before your protected normal pension age or
- take benefits from an age where you would have required your employer's consent under the pre 1 April 2014 regulations (normally before age 60)
- leave the scheme with a deferred benefit and, at the date of leaving, you would have required your employer's consent to take payment of those benefits under the 1 April 2014 regulations (normally before age 60).
If you are covered by the 'underpin' we will carry out a check at the time you retire. We will check that the pension you have built up is at least equal to that which you would have received had the scheme not changed on 1 April 2014. If it is not, the difference will be added into your pension account when you take your pension benefits. If you have been in the 50/50 section at any time, the calculations will be made as though you had always been in the main section. Find out more information about the 50/50 section.