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Membership of the NHS Pension Scheme

There are two NHS Pension Schemes, the 1995/2008 Scheme and the 2015 Scheme.

NHS Pensions 1995/2008 identifier
NHS Pensions 2015 identifier

The NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF: 290.78kB) gives you more details about each Scheme.

If you are not sure which Scheme you are in watch our video and use the Scheme identifier to find out.

Types of Scheme member

Active –  a member currently contributing to the NHS Pension Scheme.

Deferred – a former member who is no longer contributing to the NHS Pension Scheme, is not eligible for a refund and is not yet receiving their NHS pension.

Pensioner – someone receiving their NHS pension.

Read the member character key (PDF: 471.24kB) for more information about which type of member you are.

Scheme Protection arrangements

‘Scheme Protection’ is the arrangement which allowed some members to stay in the section of the NHS Pension Scheme they were in on 31 March 2015.

Members of the 1995 and 2008 Sections who, on 1 April 2012, were either already over their normal pension age or 10 years or less from their normal pension age are entitled to Full Protection.

 

Members of both the 1995 and 2008 Sections who, on 1 April 2012, were more than 10 years, but less than 13 years and five months from their normal pension age are eligible a limited protection, called Tapered Protection.

To qualify for protection deferred members on 1 April 2012 must not have a break in NHS pensionable service of five years or more.

Members who were protected in a previous public service pension scheme may qualify for protection in the 1995 and 2008 Sections.  

Members can apply for protection in the 1995 and 2008 Sections if they were protected in an eligible UK public service pension scheme and did not have a break in public service membership of more than five years before joining the NHS.

Applications must be made on the Previous Public Service Membership application form (PPSM1).

Previous Public Service Membership application form (PPSM1) (PDF: 154KB)

Read the following factsheets for more information about Scheme Protection:

Scheme Protection arrangements (PDF: 210KB)

Scheme Protection arrangements for Special Class and Mental Health Officer (PDF: 173KB)

Use our tapered protection calculator (PDF: 305KB) to find out your protection end date.

Qualifying for Protection in the 1995/2008 NHS Pension Scheme because of Previous Public Service Membership (PPSM) - FAQs (PDF: 137KB)

NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF: 290KB)

Deferred pension

If you have left or want to leave the Scheme and you have either:

• more than two years qualifying membership in the Scheme,
• or less than two years in the Scheme, but have transferred a pension from a personal, money purchase or stakeholder pension

You can choose to ‘defer’ your pension.  This means you will leave your pension in the Scheme and have it paid when you reach your normal pension age.

We will automatically defer your pension after you have left the Scheme for 12 months (if you haven’t transferred to another pension or returned to the NHS in a role where you can start building up your pension again).

Protection of pay

There are some circumstances where you may be able to protect your pensionable pay if you have at least two years membership in the 1995/2008 Scheme.

If you have at least two years qualifying membership and suffer a reduction in pensionable pay, you may be able to protect your NHS pension benefits, to find out more read the Protection of Pay and Voluntary Protection of Pay factsheets (PDF: 83.1KB).

Apply for Protection of Pay or Voluntary Protection of pay using the Request to protect pensionable pay (SM R9 App) application form (Word: 30.7KB).