Delay retirement – Special Class Status – frequently asked questions

Your normal pension age (NPA) depends on which section of the Scheme you belong to.

  • In the 1995 section, NPA is 60 or from age 55 for members with Special Class Status.
  • In the 2008 section, NPA is 65
  • In the 2015 scheme, it is the same as your state pension age, or age 65 if that is later

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This depends on when you joined the NHS Pension Scheme and any choices you made to move to a different section of the scheme.

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This is an historical provision which was abolished from 6 March 1995.  The provision allows eligible members to retire at age 55 without a reduction to their pension subject to certain criteria, which includes being employed in a qualifying post before 6 March 1995 and you must not have had a break in pensionable NHS employment of more than five years since that date.

Special Class Status applies to:

  • Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Midwives
  • Health visitors

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Mental Health Officer Status (MHO) is a historical provision introduced to compensate members caring for patients suffering from mental health disorders.

To qualify you must have been in a qualifying post before 6 March 1995 and you must not have had a break in pensionable NHS employment of more than five years since that date.

The rule allows staff to secure two years membership for each year once they have achieved 20 years’ membership and in certain circumstances members can retire from age 55.

MHO status does not apply to staff who started in post on or after 6 March 1995.

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The earliest date you can voluntarily retire depends on which section of the Scheme you belong to and your dates of membership.

The earliest date is either from 50 or 55. In both cases your pension is reduced because it will be in payment for longer.

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Payment of the State Pension depends on your age.  State Pension Age (SPA) will increase from 66 to 67 gradually between 2026 and 2028.

You can check your eligibility and when you will receive your State Pension on the Gov.UK website.

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To receive a state pension, you must have paid or been credited with National Insurance contributions.  Currently the maximum is £137.60 per week.

There may be a gap between claiming your NHS Pension and receiving your State Pension, you may wish to prolong your career and perhaps retire gradually but not stop working altogether.