Pension Scheme Rules and Benefits

Since 1 April 2008, scheme benefits depend on whether you are a member of the 1995 Section or the 2008 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme.

Members of both Sections are entitled to:

  • A pension linked to pay and length of membership. (Benefits are fully guaranteed and will increase each year to keep pace with inflation);
  • Immediate life assurance of twice your annual pay from the first day of joining. This is usually a tax-free lump sum payable to anyone or your estate;
  • Pensions and allowances for your spouse, civil partner, qualifying unmarried partner*, and dependent children if you die;
  • A tax free lump sum (optional in the case of members of the 2008 Section);
  • Voluntary early retirement** from age 50*** (1995 Section) or 55 (2008 Section) members will receive an actuarially reduced pension because the pension will be paid earlier and for longer.

  * Nominated qualifying partners in exclusive long term committed relationships of at least two years and are either financially dependent or inter-dependent.
 ** Restrictions apply – see the Members Guide - SD Guide or the Early Retirement section.
 *** If you joined the 1995 Section on or after 6 April 2006 your minimum retirement age will change to 55 on 6 April 2010. if you returned to the Scheme after 6 April 2006 this may also apply to you.

In addition, members:

  • Do not pay administration costs;
  • May transfer pension benefits into and out of the Scheme. (If you change jobs in the NHS your membership will normally continue); and 
  • Can increase their contributions to get bigger benefits.

 Members of the 1995 Section will have the opportunity to transfer their pension into the 2008 Section for a limited period, planned to run from Autumn 2009 until 30 June 2012. The 2008 Section provides greater flexibility around how and when members take their pension, which may better suit some members' retirement plans. Details about this Choice Exercise can be found in the Your NHS Pension Choice section of this website.

As well as differences between benefits associated with the 1995 Section and the 2008 Section, details also vary according to whether you are an NHS employee, work in a general practice or other non-NHS organisation (e.g. Direction Body), are a general, dental or ophthalmic practitioner, or a GP locum.

You can read about these main differences in the Members Guide - SD Guide