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Transferring in

Time limits

Time limits apply to all transfer applications, including a transfer of additional voluntary contributions to one of our Money Purchase Additional Voluntary Contributions providers.

If an employee is not a member of the main Scheme, they can apply for a hypothetical transfer in quotation.

However, if they go on to join the Scheme, they must apply for a transfer within the time limits.

Time limits for requesting a transfer of pension benefits

If a member joins or rejoins the NHS Pension Scheme, they must:

  • request a transfer within 12 months of being eligible to join the Scheme
  • be under their normal pension age

A rejoining member cannot transfer pension benefits if the date they left their previous scheme was before their previous period of NHS Pension Scheme membership.

If the time limit is met, the member should read the Transfer In Guide and application pack (PDF: 633KB) and complete the application form.

If the member is approaching their normal pension age, it’s important that we receive the transfer details as quickly as possible. This is because a transfer cannot normally be completed if the member is over their normal pension age on the calculation date.

Not meeting the time limits

If the transfer application does not meet the time limits, the request will be rejected.

However, if the member was denied access to, or information about, the NHS Pension Scheme, we may be able to consider a late application.

We’ll check with the employer to see if the member was issued with a Member Guide when they joined the Scheme or commenced NHS employment. The Member Guide includes information about transferring benefits.

If a member would like us to consider allowing a late transfer application, they should write to us in the first instance with as much information as possible, explaining the reason for the late application.

Former pension running alongside NHS Pension Scheme

If the member was in another occupational pension scheme that ran concurrent with their NHS Pension Scheme membership, we may be able to accept the transfer, depending on the dates of membership and the type of scheme the member was in. This may apply even if the application was made outside the 12 month time limit.

The transfer application should be made as soon as possible after the concurrent membership ended.

Other time limits for members to be aware of

If the transfer is from a scheme that participates in the Public Sector Transfer Club

There are additional requirements:

  • The gap between leaving the scheme and joining the NHS Pension Scheme must be no more than 5 years.
  • The member must also elect to proceed with the transfer, completing the option forms requesting payment within 12 months of joining the NHS Pension Scheme.

If these time limits are not met, the transfer may be completed on non-Club terms which could be less beneficial.

Transfer in from another registered pension scheme

If the transfer is from another registered occupational pension scheme that does not participate in the Public Sector Transfer Club, any calculations will be based on the date payment is received, if the transfer is not completed within 12 months of joining the NHS Pension Scheme, which could be less beneficial.

This also includes transfers from other types of pension schemes including a:

  • stakeholder pension scheme
  • buyout policy
  • Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)

The former pension provider may put a time limit on any option forms being returned to them.

It is important that a member does not delay sending all the required information to us using the Transfer In Guide and application pack (PDF: 633KB).

If the member does not want to complete the transfer in

When we have all the required information, we’ll write to the member with an estimate of what the proposed transfer may secure in the NHS Pension Scheme.

If the member decides not to go ahead with the transfer, they should return the option form confirming they do not want to go ahead with the transfer.

If the member applies to transfer in from another NHS Scheme in Scotland or Northern Ireland, they will not receive an estimate of what the transfer may secure. This applies if the transferred benefits will remain in the same Section of the Scheme, as the membership will transfer in on a day for day basis.

If a member wants to transfer benefits from another NHS Scheme, and they have had a break of more than 5 years, their benefits may be transferred into a different Scheme or Section.