When you're ready to take your NHS Pension, you'll need to apply for it.
The NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF: 290KB) provides more detail about the different pension schemes you could be in.
Read the retirement guide (PDF: 1.38MB) before applying for your pension.
A printable version of the retirement guide (PDF: 2.5MB) is also available.
What you'll get
There are different types of retirement.
Reaching normal pension age
1995 Section - 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 - 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 – 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.
2008 Section and 2015 Scheme
The minimum pension age is 55.
Before you apply
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.
You may be able to retire early and take your pension benefits if you’ve been, both:
- a member for a minimum 2 years’
- too ill to work in your present job
Information to read before you apply:
There are flexibilities within the schemes that help you transition from work to retirement.
If you're in good health you can choose to give up part of your own pension. You can do this to provide a pensions 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 AW9/11A application form (PDF:130KB)
Retirement lump sums
If you're 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: 1.38MB) for more information.
Read our trivial commutation factsheet (PDF: 188KB) for more information about the trivial commutation of small pensions.
How to apply
Watch this video if you’re an active member:
Watch this video if you’re a deferred member:
Pension application forms
Ill health pension application forms
Consideration of entitlement for early payment of deferred benefits due to ill health (AW240) (PDF: 338KB)Pension Credit member - Consideration of entitlement for early payment of deferred benefits due to ill health (AW240(PC)) (PDF: 328KB)Application to commute ill-health retirement benefits (AW341) (PDF: 167KB)Application to commute age retirement benefits on grounds of serious ill-health (AW341a) (PDF: 156KB)
Bank payment details if you live abroad
Read the bank payments overseas factsheet (PDF: 68.4KB) before completing the relevant form:
Returning to work after you get your pension
Watch our video if you've returned to work after taking your NHS pension:
Download the video transcript (PDF: 109KB).
Watch our video if you've returned to work after taking ill-health retirement:
Download the video transcript (PDF: 110KB).
Read our factsheets for more information about returning to work:
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