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Joining the Scheme

You may be eligible to join the NHS Pension Scheme if you're between 16 and 75.

This also applies to those working under a contract for services, including:

  • General Practitioners (GPs)
  • General Dental Practitioners
  • Ophthalmic Medical Practitioners

How our pension works

If you are eligible when you start work, your employer or Pensions Officer will enrol you as a member of the Scheme.

Pension contributions will come out of your salary (or income). You'll see this on your payslip.

Your employer will email you a copy of the relevant Member Guide to help you understand the Scheme rules.

When you join, you get a membership number, also known as an SD number. Your employer should give you this.

Watch our video to understand the benefits being in the Scheme.

Our video shows the benefits of being in the Scheme.

Rejoining the Scheme

If you are in NHS employment, you may rejoin the Scheme if you meet the eligibility conditions.

If you have returned to NHS employment and are taking your NHS pension, you may rejoin the Scheme if:

  • you take a 1995 Section ill health pension and are under 50
  • you take a 2008 Section or 2015 Scheme pension and are under 75

1995 Section

If you leave pensionable employment  with deferred benefits, you can only rejoin the 1995 Section if you meet this criteria:

  1. You return before age 60.
  2. You have not transferred your NHS pension to another provider.
  3. The break is less than 5 years.
  4. You are ‘Fully Protected' or still within the ‘Tapered Protection‘ period. Find out about 'Protection' on our Membership page.

2008 Section

If you leave pensionable employment and take benefits from the scheme, you can only rejoin the 2008 Section if you meet this criteria:

  1. You return before age 75.
  2. You have not transferred your NHS Pension to another provider.
  3. You have not received a refund of your contributions.
  4. The break is less than 5 years.
  5. You are ‘Fully Protected' or still within the ‘Tapered Protection‘ period. Find out about 'Protection' on our Membership page.

2015 Scheme

If you leave pensionable employment or have taken benefits from this Scheme, you can rejoin up to age 75.

Rejoining the Scheme following a break of five years or more

You might return to pensionable NHS employment after more than 5 years.

If this is the case, you may be enroled in a different section or scheme from your earlier membership.

You’ll have a one off opportunity to transfer deferred benefits from your earlier membership.

You can transfer them into your latest section or scheme.  We’ll contact you if this applies. You can then request a personalised comparison pack so you can decide whether to transfer.

You'll need to:

We do not accept requests for a comparison pack after the 3 month deadline.