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Membership of the NHS Pension Scheme

There are 2 NHS Pension schemes. There's the 1995 / 2008 Scheme and the 2015 Scheme.

The NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF: 180KB) gives you more detail about each Scheme.

Watch our video to understand which NHS Pension Scheme you're in and what type of member you are:

Download the video transcript (PDF: 119KB).

You can also use our 'scheme identifier' tool:  

Identify your scheme


Types of scheme member

There are different types of NHS Pension Scheme member:

Active – a member who is currently contributing to the Scheme

Deferred – a former member who is:

  • no longer contributing to the Scheme
  • not eligible for a refund
  • not yet receiving their NHS pension

Pensioner – someone who is receiving their NHS pension. 

 

Scheme membership

Find out more about how your membership is calculated: 

Calculating membership (PDF: 99.7KB)Maximum membership and age restrictions (PDF: 101KB)Mental Health Officer (MHO) (PDF: 133KB)Special Class (PDF: 128KB)Working for a Direction/Determination Employer employee information (PDF: 169KB)

NHS Employers have put together a helpful presentation about the benefits of having an NHS pension:NHS employers NHS Pension presentation (PDF: 1.5MB)

Find out how some changes in your life may impact your NHS pension:

Authorised leave and career breaks (PDF: 330KB)Maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave (PDF: 163KB)Gender recognition (PDF: 129KB)

Membership enquiries

To get information about your membership, you need to complete a membership enquiry form.

Read our membership record factsheet (PDF: 218KB) for general information.

The following factsheets will provide more in-depth information regarding your specific enquiry.

Standard membership enquiry factsheet (PDF: 242KB)Retrospective membership enquiry factsheet (PDF: 182KB)Part-Time Access membership enquiry factsheet (PDF: 184KB)

Membership enquiry forms

Membership statement request (1995/2008 Scheme) (SM27A) (PDF: 77KB)Membership enquiry - contact with the employer (SM27B) (Word: 166KB)Membership enquiry - contact with NHS Pensions (SM27C) (Word: 274KB)Retrospective membership enquiry - contact with the employer SM Retro 1 (Word: 98KB)Part-Time Access membership enquiry - contact with NHS Pensions SM PTA1 (Word: 102KB)Request for Mental Officer status form (SM MHO) (Word: 353KB)

Scheme protection arrangements

When the government made changes to public service pension schemes in 2015, including the NHS Pension Scheme, scheme protection allowed some members who were closer to retirement to stay in the section of the scheme they were in on 31 March 2015.

The Court of Appeal later found that this discriminated against younger members. The government is removing this age discrimination from public service pension schemes. 

From 1 April 2022, all active members regardless of age will be members of the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme. All legacy pension schemes will be closed, including the 1995/2008 NHS Pension Scheme. 

If you're a member of the 1995/2008 Scheme, you'll keep any service you have earned before 1 April 2022 in that scheme and you'll be able to access these benefits in the same way and at the same time as you can now. 

You can read more about the changes on our dedicated changes to public service pensions webpages

Full protection

Members of the 1995 and 2008 Schemes were entitled to full protection if, on 1 April 2012, they were either:

  • already over their normal pension age
  • 10 years or less from their normal pension age

Break in membership

To be eligible, members who were deferred on 1 April 2012 must not have a break in NHS pensionable membership of 5 years or more.

Tapered protection

Members of the 1995 and 2008 Sections may have been eligible for limited protection. This is called tapered protection.

To be eligible, members must have been more than 10 years, but less than 13 years and 5 months, from their normal pension age on 1 April 2012.

Break of membership

To be eligible, members who were deferred on 1 April 2012 must not have a break in NHS pensionable membership of 5 years or more.

Use our Tapered Protection calculator (PDF: 305KB) to find out the date your protection ends.

Previous public service pension scheme membership

If you were protected in a previous public service pension scheme, you may have qualified for Scheme Protection.

You could apply for Scheme Protection in the 1995 and 2008 Sections if you:

  • were protected in an eligible UK public service pension scheme
  • have not had a break in public service membership of more than 5 years before joining the NHS

Download the Previous Public Service Membership application form (PPSM1) (PDF: 338KB).

Scheme protection factsheets

The information in our scheme protection factsheets was correct at the time of publishing. The factsheets should be viewed along with the information on upcoming changes to public service pension schemes available on our website. 

Scheme protection arrangements factsheet (PDF: 210KB)Scheme protection arrangements for Special Class and Mental Health Officers factsheet (PDF: 173KB)

Deferred pension

When you leave the Scheme, your pension will be deferred if you have either:

  • more than 2 years qualifying membership
  • less than 2 years in the Scheme, but have transferred a personal pension into the NHS Pension Scheme

This means the pension you have built up will remain in the Scheme. It will be paid when you reach your normal pension age.

We’ll defer your pension after you have left the Scheme for 12 months.

This is only if you haven't either:

  • transferred your pension benefits to another pension provider
  • returned to the NHS in a role where you can start building up your pension again

Protection of pay

You may be able to protect your pensionable pay if you have both:

  • 2 years’ qualifying membership
  • suffer a reduction in pensionable pay

To find out more read the Protection of Pay and Voluntary Protection of Pay factsheet (Word: 249KB).

Apply for protection of pay or voluntary protection using the request to protect pensionable pay application form (SM R9) (Word: 246KB).