NHS Pension Scheme Learning Zone (21)

For those joining the new 2015 NHS Pension Scheme you will have accumulated pension benefits in the 1995 and 2008 Sections. What happens to these pensions?

The pension benefits you have built up in the 1995 and/or the 2008 Sections are treated as seperate pensions and will be treated according to the rules in those Sections.

As long as you do not take a break of more than 5 years after the 1st April 2015, your 1995/2008 pension benefits will still be based upon your final salary at retirement. If you do take a break of more than 5 years, then your pension benefits will be based upon your salary as at when you left the NHS Pension Scheme.

Because you will receive a pension from your 1995/2008 Section AND the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme it means that effectively your pension will come in two parts.

You can claim your 1995/2008 Section benefits according to the rules of that Section. The Normal Pension Age for the 1995 Section is 60 - therefore you can claim, unreduced, your full 1995 Section at 60 (65 for the 2008 Section). You can, of course, take your NHS pension benefits early (earliest is 50 for the 1995 Section) but they will be reduced to take account for them being paid earlier and for longer.

In order to claim your 1995 or 2008 Section benefits, you need to completely finish work for the NHS for a period of at least 24 months and then, in the case of the 1995 Section, not work for more than 16 hours on average per week for the following month.

Remember, the pension benefits you will have accumulated in the new 2015 NHS Pension Scheme, are treated completely seperately from the benefits you have accumulated in the 1995/2008 Sections. Because the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme has a Normal Pension Age linked to State Pension Age, then if you took your 2015 benefits at say, 60, they would be reduced for taking them earlier and for longer.

If you are in the 1995 Section and take your 1995 benefits at 60, then you cannot then re-join the NHS Pension Scheme and therefore continue to build up provision in the 2015 Scheme. If you are in the 2008 Section however, you could take your 2008 benefits and re-join the NHS Pension Scheme and build up more provision in the 2015 Scheme.

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