Most of our members are already a member of the 2015 Scheme.
When the government made changes to public service pension schemes in 2015, including the NHS Pension Scheme, scheme protection allowed some members who were closer to retirement to stay in the 1995/2008 Scheme.
The Court of Appeal later found that this discriminated against younger members.
If you were a member of the 1995/2008 Scheme on 31 March 2022, you will have automatically move to the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022.
We wrote to all affected members in January 2022 to you to let you know what this change may mean for your pension, but you won’t lose any of the pension benefits you’ve already built up in 1995/2008 Scheme. They’ll make up part of your benefits when you retire and the rest will be made up of any benefits you earn in the 2015 Scheme from 1 April 2022 onwards.
You can claim your benefits from different Schemes at different times. The date you can take your benefits from a Scheme is known as your normal pension age.
You can start receiving your 1995 Section benefits without any reductions from age 60 (or 55 if you’re a Special Class member).
You can claim your 2008 Section benefits from age 65, and your and 2015 Scheme benefits from age 65 or your state pension age, whichever is later.
So for example, if you’re a member of the 1995 Section you can take your benefits any time from the age of 60 (or 55 if you’re Special Class) but take your 2015 Scheme benefits at a later date once you’ve reached 65 or your state pension age (whichever is later).
Yes, you’ll keep your final salary link for your 1995/2008 Scheme benefits as long as you don’t have a break in membership of more than 5 years.
This means when it’s time to pay your 1995/2008 benefits, they’ll be calculated using your final salary at retirement and not at the point you transitioned to the 2015 Scheme.
If you’ve built up practitioner benefits these will be protected at retirement using arrangements equivalent to a final salary link, as long as you don’t have a break in membership of more than 5 years.
Any 2015 Scheme benefits you earn won’t be linked to your final salary - instead they’ll be calculated using a career average revalued earnings (CARE) model.
You can find out more on our understanding your benefits in the 2015 Scheme webpage on our Member Hub.
I have Special Class or Mental Health Officer status – do I need to opt out of the Scheme to keep this?
The 2015 Scheme doesn’t have an MHO or Special Class provision. But if you have MHO or Special Class status now, it will be protected for any 1995 Section benefits you have for as long as you stay within the qualifying rules - and you’ll still be able to claim your 1995 Section benefits from age 55 without any reduction.
You can find out if you qualify for MHO and Special Class status on our membership of the NHS Pension Scheme page on our Member Hub.
I pay additional voluntary contributions – what happens to the payments once I move into the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022?
If you currently pay additional voluntary contributions, your payments will continue after you move to the 2015 Scheme from 1 April 2022. You can still pay additional contributions until the end of the contract, the day before a 12-month break begins, or the day you retire – whichever date is earliest.
If your chosen birthday has passed or is less than 6 months after you moved to the 2015 Scheme, we’ll write to you within 3 months of 1 April 2022 to explain how you could elect to have your AVC benefits paid without having to retire. You’ll then have 3 months to tell us what you’d like to do.
We’ll share more information on our website once we are starting to write to affected members.
I’ve previously been affected by annual allowance – will I still receive a pension savings statement for my 1995/2008 benefits after I move into the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022?
If you are affected by the annual allowance, we’ll send you two pension savings statements for the tax year 2021/2022, so you can see how each part of your pension has grown.
One statement will cover your pension growth in the 1995/2008 Scheme, and the other will cover any pension you earn in the 2015 Scheme between 1 April 2022 and 5 April 2022.
Annual allowance is the maximum amount of tax-free growth an individual’s pension can grow by in one year. Most of our members are not affected by annual allowance.
You can find out more about annual allowance and if you’re affected on our annual allowance webpage.
I have enhanced or fixed protection for lifetime allowance – will this be affected by moving into the 2015 Scheme?
If you have any lifetime allowance protection agreed with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), this may be affected when you move into the 2015 Scheme.
If you have enhanced or fixed protection, you should consider this carefully before you move to the 2015 Scheme because HMRC’s rules says you can’t keep these types of protection once you start contributing to the 2015 Scheme.
You can find out more on the lifetime allowance page of our Member Hub.
I’m applying to retire soon – will you still be able to process my pension, if I’m due to move into the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022?
Your pension record can’t be updated until 1 April 2022 to show your 2015 Scheme membership.
If you’re applying to retire in April 2022, to allow us time to process your retirement and make sure your benefits are paid, we’ll calculate your pension using your 1995/2008 Scheme membership until your last day of service.
As soon as possible after your last day of service, we’ll re-calculate your pension benefits from 1 April 2022 to your retirement date, using your 2015 Scheme membership. This may alter the amount of pension benefits you receive.
We’ll write to you to let you know your recalculated benefits. Once we’ve started recalculating benefits and writing to members we will update the information here.
If you’re applying to retire from May 2022 onwards, we’ve asked employers not to process your application until on or after Monday 4 April 2022. This will make sure that your record has been moved into the 2015 Scheme and your pension is accurately calculated using both your 1995/2008 Scheme and 2015 Scheme membership.
We’ve shared more information with employers on how to process retirement applications for members who are due to move into the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022.
I’m applying to be considered for ill health retirement soon – which Scheme rules will my application be considered under, if I’m due to move into the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2022?
If you apply for consideration for ill health retirement by submitting your AW33E form and you're still an active member of the pension scheme from 1 April 2022, your application must be considered against the qualifying rules for both the 1995/2008 Scheme and the 2015 Scheme as long as we receive the AW33E form by 31 March 2022.
An AW33E received after 31 March 2022 for members who are still an active member from 1 April 2022, must be considered against the 2015 Scheme qualifying rules.
This is subject to the outcome of the DHSC consultation on changes to the NHS Pension Scheme regulations which closed on 20 January 2022.
You can find out more about ill health retirement and how to apply on the Applying for your pension page of our Member Hub.