After working alongside dedicated and caring colleagues for many years, you may feel mixed emotions about retirement. Although the idea of spending more time doing the things you enjoy is appealing, you might feel like you’re not ready to stop working yet – you may feel like you have more to give.
To give colleagues an idea of how delaying retirement affects pension benefits, we have set out an illustration below which shows how benefits may change over time. Broadly, for most people, the longer you stay, the more benefits you’ll be able to build up. Details of the contributions that members have to pay to be part of the NHS Pension Scheme are available on the NHS Business Services Authority website.
For our illustration, we’ve used an example of an “Officer” member of the NHS Pension Scheme who was age 55 on 1 April 2022 (and so has both 1995 section and 2015 scheme benefits). They are currently at Band 7 (5+ years’ experience) on the Agenda for Change pay scale (but the illustrations would be similar for those not covered by Agenda for Change, too).
They do not have special class status or Mental Health Officer status, either of which could allow them to take their 1995 section benefits without some of the reductions illustrated. See the NHS Business Services Authority website for more information about special class status and Mental Health Officer status.
The example below compares retiring at age 55, with staying on until 56 or 60.
What would it mean for my pension if I delayed my retirement by a few years?
|Retire at 55:||£16,307 a year for life||Lump sum of £42,739|
|Retire at 56:||£17,919 a year for life: That’s £1,612 more
per year than retiring at 55
|Lump sum of £44,625: That’s £1,886 more
than retiring at 55
|Retire at 60:||£26,219 a year for life: That’s £9,912 more
per year than retiring at 55
|Lump sum of £53,139: That’s £10,400 more
than retiring at 55
The member’s benefits have increased because they have built up an extra year of benefits in the 2015 scheme, their past benefits have increased in line with inflation/salary increases, and the early retirement adjustments to the standard benefits that have been applied are lower.
Over the extra 1 and 5 year periods they also continued to earn their salary (out of which they need to pay for membership of the pension scheme). Over 5 years, their total gross salary was over £230k and their pension contributions (based on the individual’s salary) would be 11.6% from April 2022 and 10.7% from April 2023 (on which they would get tax relief).
April 2022 – an extra note on inflation:
Finally, it is also important to note that inflation is currently high (as of April 2022) compared to historic levels and could potentially increase further, before it starts to reduce again. Therefore, if the individual in our example wished to retire at 55 on 1 April 2022, and inflation were 10% in September 2022, then their pension at age 56 could be broadly in line with the pension at 56 without the need to work the extra year.
However, if they do this, 1995 section members will not be able earn more 2015 scheme pension if they subsequently decide to return to work and if inflation returns to “normal” levels, they are very unlikely to be able to achieve the pension at 60 shown in our earlier example if they retire now to take advantage of higher inflation. It is also important to note that the 2015 Scheme benefit has an automatic link to inflation (the Consumer Prices Index inflation measure) during active service which provides a good degree of protection when inflation is high, too. Individuals should therefore consider this when making long-term retirement planning decisions.
- The individual is aged 55 as at 1 April 2022.
- The individual was in the 1995 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme until 31 March 2015. They joined the 2015 Scheme from 1 April 2015. The illustrations do not make any allowance for the McCloud judgment, if applicable, for members eventually being given a choice between receiving their legacy (1995 or 2008 Section) and 2015 Scheme benefits in retirement for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022.
- The individual is an “Officer” member. The example does not reflect “Practitioner” benefits.
- The individual has a pensionable salary of £45,838 (Band 7). Salary increases after the 2021 award (3%) are assumed to be 2% p.a.
- The illustrations are based on the current actuarial factors in force in the Scheme (August 2021) – these are used for calculating any reductions to benefits because benefits are paid prior to Normal Pension Age. In the 1995 section, benefits paid after Normal Pension Age (60) are not subject to increases for late payment and so individuals staying beyond Normal Pension Age need to consider this when assessing their options.
- The member does not have special class status or Mental Health Officer status – therefore, their 1995 section benefits will be reduced to reflect the fact that they’re being paid before Normal Pension Age prior to age 60. Individuals with special class status or Mental Health Officer status may be able to draw their benefits earlier without these reductions applying. See the NHS Business Services Authority website for more information about special class status and Mental Health Officer status.
- The illustrations do not allow for the uptake of certain options that members may be able to exercise, for example, they do not allow for the exchange of pension for additional cash.
- The figures quoted may incorporate a small degree of rounding.
- All of the examples are illustrative only and are not designed to represent the particular circumstances of any one individual. Find out which pension scheme you are a member of on the NHS Business Services Authority website.
See below for more detail:
The benefits the member may take at 55, 56 and 60 (accounting for any early payment reductions) are:
|Retire at 55||1995 Section||2015 Scheme||Total|
|Pension||£12,835 p.a.*||£3,472**||£16,307 p.a.|
|Retire at 56||1995 Section||2015 Scheme||Total|
|Pension||£13,664 p.a.*||£4,255**||£17,919 p.a.|
|Retire at 60||1995 Section||2015 Scheme||Total|
|Pension||£17,713 p.a.||£8,506 p.a.**||£26,219 p.a.|
* includes early retirement adjustment of 20% at 55 and 16.5% at 56.
** includes early retirement adjustment of 43.7% at 55, 41.3% at 56 and 30% at 60.
*** includes early retirement adjustment of 11.2% at 55 and 9.1% at 56.
Talk to your manager to find out more about your flexible working options.