When you're ready to take your NHS Pension, you'll need to apply for it.
The NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF: 178KB) provides more detail about the different pension schemes you could have pension benefits in.
Read the retirement guide (PDF: 4.68MB) before applying for your pension.
What you'll get
There are different types of retirement.
Reaching normal pension age
1995 Section pension benefits - age 60 or 55 if you have Special Class status
You’ll get a pension and retirement lump sum based on your scheme membership and the best of your last 3 years’ pensionable pay.
2008 Section pension benefits - age 65
You'll get a pension based on your scheme membership and reckonable pay. Your reckonable pay is the average of the best 3 consecutive years’ pay in the last 10.
2015 Scheme pension benefits - same as your State Pension age or age 65 if that is later
You will get a pension based on 1/54th of your pensionable pay for each year that you have contributed to the scheme.
The pension you get is increased each year by a method known as revaluation.
Before you apply
Read the age retirement factsheet (PDF: 160KB) for more about how we calculate your NHS Pension.
Taking early retirement
The earliest age you can draw your pension is the minimum pension age.
We reduce an early retirement pension, as it is being paid early and will be in payment for longer.
The reduction depends on how many years before normal pension age it is being claimed.
If you joined the 1995 Section before 6 April 2006 you can choose to take early retirement from age 50.
If you joined the 1995 Section on or after 6 April 2006, your minimum pension age is 55 unless you have a protected minimum pension age. If you returned to the scheme after this date, this might also apply to you.
If you have deferred benefits in the 1995 Section and then join the 2008 Section, your minimum pension will be age 55 even if you joined before 6 April 2006.
2008 Section and 2015 Scheme
The minimum pension age is 55.
Before you apply
Read the early retirement factsheet (PDF: 94KB) for more information.
Being made redundant
Your benefits may be paid immediately if you retired early due to either:
- the interest of efficiency of the service
Read the redundancy retirement factsheet (PDF: 107KB) for more information.
For information on retiring with ill health benefits, visit our dedicated webpage Applying for ill health benefits
There are flexibilities within the schemes that help you transition from work to retirement.
Once you reach 55 years old, or 50 if you have a protected minimum pension age, you can choose to take part, or all of your pension benefits while you continue working in NHS employment and build your pension benefits in the 2015 Scheme. This is called partial retirement – it may also be known as drawdown
This is already possible for pension benefits you've earned in the 2008 Section or 2015 Scheme and from 1 October 2023, it will also include any 1995 Section benefits you have.
From 1 October the amount of pension benefits you can take through partial retirement is also changing. You'll e able to take between 20% and 100% of all your pension benefits in one or two drawdown payments, without having to leave your current job.
You can find more information on our partial retirement webpage.
If you're in good health you can choose to give up part of your own pension to provide a pension for someone when you die.
This can be to a spouse, civil partner, qualifying partner, child or someone who is dependent on you for support. You must nominate before you retire and you cannot reverse this decision once made.
You can apply by using the AW8/11A application form (PDF:130KB)
Retirement lump sums
If you have pension benefits in the 1995 Section or you opted to move to the 2008 Section, you'll automatically receive a lump sum when you retire.
If you’re in the 2008 Section or 2015 Scheme, you can ask to take some of your pension as a lump sum.
Use the pension commutation calculator (Excel: 20.1KB) to work out what you may get if you choose to exchange some of your pension in return for a lump sum on retirement.
If you use the calculator, only input benefit figures provided on your Annual Benefit Statement.
Read the retirement guide (PDF: 4.68MB) for more information.
Read our trivial commutation factsheet (PDF: 188KB) for more information about the trivial commutation of small pensions.
How to apply
When you are retiring you need to apply for your NHS pension using the appropriate application form.
Depending on what type of member you are you will need:
A retirement benefits claim form (AW8) if you're actively contributing to the Scheme or still in NHS employment
If you're an active member of the NHS Pension Scheme or have opted out of the Scheme but remain in NHS employment and are retiring directly from NHS work, your employer should give you this form. Please complete the form and return it to your employer as soon as you can. To take your benefits in full you must retire for a minimum of 24 hours.
A deferred benefits claim form (AW8P) if you're a deferred member and have left NHS employment
If you have left NHS employment completely and are claiming deferred pension benefits or have some retained NHS pension rights a deferred benefits claim form (AW8P) form can be downloaded and printed from our website at: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-pensions. Please complete the form and return it to us at the address on the form.
An AW8PC application form if you're a pension credit member
If you are a Pension Credit member an application form (AW8PC) can be downloaded and printed from our website at: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-pensions. Please complete the form and return it to us at the address on the form
Watch this video if you’re an active member:
Watch this video if you’re a deferred member:
Pension application forms
Bank payment details if you live abroad
Read the bank payments overseas factsheet (PDF: 68.4KB) before completing the relevant form:
Pension award supporting information
Read the relevant Key Notes for more detailed information about your pension award.
- how your benefits have been worked out
- survivor benefits
- retirement lump sums
- pay information
- pensions increase
- pension sharing or earmarking