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Pension Awareness 2023: Getting started

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’ve just recently joined the NHS Pension Scheme, there’s some important steps you can take straight away. 

Read your member guide

All members who are actively contributing to the Scheme are part of the 2015 Scheme. Make sure to read our 2015 Scheme member guide to understand more about your pension.

Your employer may have also provided you with a copy of this guide.

2015 Scheme member guide (PDF: 3.27MB)

It doesn’t just include information for when you retire, it also includes important information on how your pension will grow and important benefits like ill health retirement benefits you may need to understand.

Understand what type of pension you have

The NHS Pension Scheme is a defined benefit scheme. This means the scheme promises to pay you a guaranteed income when you retire based on your service and how much you earn. 

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.

Because you’re in a defined benefit scheme the amount you’ll receive is guaranteed by the government. This is one of the reasons why the NHS Pension Scheme is one of the most valuable schemes available.

You can find out more about how your pension is calculated in our member guide.

You can also find more information on the benefits of the Scheme on our website.

Understand where to find more information if you need it

As well as our member guide, our website also has lots of helpful information.

The website is split into a number of hubs. If you’re a member who is actively contributing to the scheme, or you’ve opted out but you’ve not yet applied for your pension, you can find information relevant to you on our Member hub.

We also have a Pensioner Hub for members who are receiving their pension benefits, and an Employer Hub for organisations in the Scheme.

If you’re affected by the changes to public service pension schemes – sometimes known as ‘McCloud’ or the Public Service Pension Remedy, you can find more information on this on our Changes to public service pension schemes hub.

You can also find answers to common questions 24 hours a day via our Knowledge Base

If you’re not able to find the information you’re looking for on our website, for example details of your pension record, your employer may be able to help you.

If you need to contact us, you can find all of the information you need on the contact us page of the relevant web hub. 

Know your SD number

Your SD number or NHS Pension membership number helps us to identify your pension record.

We may ask you to provide this if you contact us.

Your member number can usually be found on your payslip listed as ‘SD ref’, or you can find it at the top of your current Total Rewards Statement (TRS) / Annual Benefit Statement (ABS), listed as 'member number'.

If we’ve sent you a letter about your pension, your member number may also be on the letter.

Sign up to one of our events

Our member events will help you understand more about your NHS pension and the NHS Pension Scheme.

We have events planned throughout the year to help you:

  • understand what the NHS Pension Scheme is
  • find out about your Total Reward Statement and Annual Benefit Statement 
  • explore your retirement options

You can find links to register for our next events on our member events webpage.

Pension Awareness 2023 logo and the words: Things to do when you join