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COVID-19 guidance on support for retired members

The UK government’s Coronavirus action plan, published on 3 March 2020, sets out measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes increasing the available health and social care workforce by removing barriers to allow recently retired NHS staff and social care workers to come back to work and tackle the outbreak.

From 25 March 2020, the UK government’s emergency legislation, temporarily suspends some of the regulations governing the administration of NHS pensions. These measures allow skilled and experienced members, who have recently retired from the NHS, to return to work. It also allows retired members who have already returned to work to increase their commitments if needed, without affecting their pension benefits. 

The measures predominantly affect members of the 1995 Section, although a smaller number of members could be affected by draw down abatement in the 2008 Section and the 2015 Scheme.

The measures include temporary suspension of:

  • the 16-hour rule
  • abatement for special class status holders in the 1995 Section
  • draw down abatement in the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme

The government has stated it will give 6 months' notice before these measures will be stopped. We will keep members updated of changes via our website. 

Information for current pensioners and those planning to retire (PDF: 145KB)

Temporary suspension of the 16-hour rule

This temporarily removes the rule that prevents members of the 1995 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme who return to work after retirement from working more than 16 hours per week in the first calendar month after retirement.

Suspension of this rule also allows members to return immediately to work after taking a minimum 24-hour retirement and continue their existing working commitments, or increase them, whilst they are in receipt of their full pension benefits.

Temporary suspension of abatement for special class status holders in the 1995 Section

This temporarily removes a barrier which stops special class nurses and mental health officers aged 55 to 60 years old, who have claimed their pension benefits, from returning to work without having their pension suspended

The abatement rules also apply to people who have retired on ill health grounds or in the interests of the efficiency of the service (IES), along with a limited class of persons who have retired on redundancy grounds. These measures do not suspend the abatement rules that apply to these groups

Temporary suspension of abatement in the 2008 Section and 2015 Scheme

This is where a person has elected to ‘draw down’ a portion of their benefits and subsequently wishes to increase their earnings or commitment to the NHS so that they are in excess of 90% of the level before draw down was taken.

These measures do not suspend the abatement rules that apply to members who have retired on ill health grounds or in the interests of efficiency of the service (IES), alongside a limited number of members who have retired on redundancy grounds.