Skip to main content Skip to footer

Pension Awareness 2023: Building a solid future

Pension Awareness Week is all about helping to raise awareness of the importance of pensions. Throughout the week we’ll be sharing information on the NHS Pension Scheme, what it is and why it’s so valuable.

If you’re actively contributing to the NHS Pension Scheme you will be a member of our 2015 Scheme.

The 2015 Scheme is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme.

This is a form of defined benefit pension scheme.  

This means when you take your pension benefits, you’re guaranteed to be paid a defined amount. In a CARE scheme, this amount is calculated based on your pensionable pay throughout your career.

This is different to a defined contribution scheme, which is the more common type of pension where your money is put into various types of investment, such as stocks and shares and how much you’ll get in the future depends on how much is paid in and how your investments perform.

In the 2015 Scheme, each year the amount of pension you earn is calculated based on your actual pensionable pay in that Scheme year. This amount is then increased (known as revaluation) every year until you retire or leave the Scheme. Your final pension amount is the total of all of these revalued pots from each year of your membership added together.

This means the longer you’re in the scheme, the more your pension will grow.

There’s a handy illustration in our member guide that helps to explain this.

2015 Scheme member guide (PDF: 3.27MB)

Your pension grows each year

To help you keep track of your NHS pension, you have access to an annual benefits statement or Total Rewards Statement (TRS) via ESR or our TRS webpages

These statements are refreshed every year and are available online for you to look at whenever you want. We recommend you download a copy every year.

To find out what sort of statement you’ll receive and how to access it, visit our TRS webpages.

There’s also lots of other important benefits to the Scheme for you and your family

These include

  • When you retire you’ll get a pension payable for life and the amount you receive is guaranteed by government
  • You can chose to swap some of your annual pension for a one-off lump sum when you retire
  • You can be flexible about when you take your pension and options like partial retirement can help you to transition from work to retirement by enabling you to take some or all of your benefits whilst continuing to work
  • If you become too ill to work, you can apply for an early ill health retirement pension
  • You’re also covered for death benefits if you should die. This means your family may be entitled to benefits including a lump sum and a pension for partners and dependent children.

Visit our Benefits of the 2015 Scheme webpage for more information and to watch a short video. 

Pension Awareness Week 2023 graphic