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Department of Health and Social Care announces extension of retire and return easements

Following a short consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced an extension to retire and return easements to 31 October 2022 through temporary amendments to NHS Pension Scheme regulations.

What was included in the consultation

The Department of Health and Social Care proposed a continuation of the temporary easements which were introduced by section 45 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 beyond the current expiry on 24 March 2022 to 31 October 2022.

The agreed extension will take effect from 25 March 2022 to ensure the continued suspension of NHS Pension Scheme regulations following the expiry of section 45 on 24 March 2022. The ‘retire and return’ easements will now continue until 31 October 2022.

The amendments to the NHS Pension Scheme regulations will continue the temporary suspension of:

  • the 16-hour rule in the 1995 section
  • abatement of special class status members who retire and return to work between age 55 to 60 in the 1995 section
  • abatement of draw-down members who claim a portion of their benefits and continue working in the 2008 section and 2015 scheme

These easements allow retired and partially retired staff to return to work in the NHS or increase their working commitments without having their pension benefits suspended or reduced.

You can find more information on the current easing of retire and return restrictions on our COVID-19 guidance on support for retired members page on the NHS Pensions Pensioner hub.


Updates on what we’re doing to support you

In November 2021 we contacted all pensioner members who have:

  • retired and returned to work
  • chosen to draw down part of their benefits

This was to tell them that the temporary suspensions will be ending and we’ll return to normal arrangements from 25 March 2022. We have since written to the same pensioner members to inform them of the proposed changes to allow easements to continue to 31 October 2022.

We will write to affected members again over summer, and we will provide their earnings margin ready for 1 November 2022.

You can read the full consultation outcome on Department of Health and Social Care’s website here.