• Absence & Leave

    • What happens if I am on sick leave?

      You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive. If you are on unpaid sick leave, you will not pay any contributions.

      But your pension is not affected by any absence due to sickness or injury, regardless of whether you are on paid or unpaid sick leave. This is because we calculate your pension using the pay you would have received had you not been absent, meaning you will build up a pension as if you were working normally.

      Anyone in 50/50 who goes onto unpaid sick leave, is automatically put back into the main section. This means your pension builds up at the full rate, rather than 50/50 rate. When you return to work, you can re-join 50/50.

    • What happens if I am on maternity, adoption or paternity leave?

      You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive while you are on child-related leave.

      During paid leave, the pay you would have received if you were working is used to calculate your pension. Using this figure, you will continue to build up a pension as if you were working normally and ensures you do not lose out while on paid child related leave.

      Any unpaid period of child-related leave will not count towards your pension unless you elect to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy the pension lost during this time. Elect to pay APCs within 30 days of returning to work and the cost of the APC is split between you and your employer (you pay 1/3rd, your employer 2/3rds).  Otherwise, you will be responsible for the full cost. You can pay APCs monthly through your salary or as a one-off lump sum.

      In order to buy lost pension, you should complete the "Buying Lost Pension" form in the Publications & Forms area. This should then be sent to your Payroll section who will complete it and return it to you. Following this, you can set up APCs using the figure Payroll have given you, with the APC calculator.

      Anyone in 50/50 who goes onto unpaid sick leave, is automatically put back into the main section. This means your pension builds up at the full rate, rather than 50/50 rate. When you return to work, you can re-join 50/50.

    • What happens if I am on unpaid leave?

      If you are granted unpaid leave of absence, including jury duty, you may continue to pay contributions depending on the length of the break:

      • Less than 31 continuous days unpaid leave - contributions will be deducted automatically by your employer, based on the pay you would have received had you been at work. This means that you will not have any break in membership or lose out on your pension.
      • 31 days or more continuous unpaid leave - you will not build up any pension and it will not count towards your pension unless you pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs). Elect to pay APCs within 30 days of returning to work and the cost of the APC is split between you and your employer (you pay 1/3rd, your employer 2/3rds). Otherwise, you will be responsible for the full cost. APCs can be paid monthly through your salary or as a one-off lump sum.

      In order to buy lost pension, you should complete the "Buying Lost Pension" form in the Publications & Forms area. This should then be sent to your Payroll section who will complete it and return it to you. Following this, you can set up APCs using the figure Payroll have given you, with the APC calculator. 

    • What happens if I am on strike

      If you are off work because of a strike, you will not pay any pension contributions and your time off work will not count towards your pension unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions. The cost of purchasing the pension lost while on strike would be met fully by yourself.

      If you wish to pay for this 'lost pension' please download the "Buying Lost Pension following Strike Action" form from the Publications & Forms page. This should then be sent to your Payroll section who will complete it and return it to you. Following this, you can set up APCs using the figure Payroll have given you, with the APC calculator. 

    • What happens if I go on reserve forces leave?

      If you go on reserve forces leave and choose to remain a member of the LGPS, pension contributions are still payable. While on leave, your pension contributions are based on your Assumed Pensionable Pay. This is the pay you would have received had you been at work as normal and not on reserve forces leave. The Ministry of Defence is be responsible for deducting all employee and employer contributions.

  • Contributions & Costs

    • How much do I pay?

      How much you pay, is based on how much you earn. When you join the scheme and every April afterwards, your employer will compare your pay to the LGPS contribution rates set by the Government. These rates are reviewed each year to keep up with any changes in the cost of living. If at anytime your contribution rate changes, your employer will let you know.

      You can use our Costs and Contributions Calculator to see your contribution rate and monthly payments.

    • How much does my employer pay?

      This is one of the most common questions. Employer contributions don’t increase your pension, rather they help cover the cost of the pension scheme, including administration and pension payments. Each employer pays a different amount but generally employers cover 2/3rds of the cost while members pay 1/3rd. In a personal or private pension scheme, members would typically have to pay for all fees and contributions.

    • Can I increase how much I pay?

      There are two ways to pay more and increase your pension:

      1. Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) – these are simply extra contributions that increase the amount of pension paid to you when you retire.
      2. Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) – these are extra contributions which are invested separately in funds managed by our AVC provider, Prudential. When you retire you have a number of options for how to use your AVCs.

      Find out more - Increasing Your Contributions.

    • Can I reduce how much I pay?

      Yes, with 50/50 you can pay half the contributions and in turn, build up half the pension. Plus you continue to receive full life and ill health cover. Around every 3 years, you would be brought back into the main section where you pay full contributions. This is because ideally we would like members to save as much as possible for their retirement. However you can choose to stay in 50/50 if you wish.  Learn more about 50/50.

  • Death of a Member

    • What happens if a member dies?

      In these circumstances, we should be contacted as soon as possible. When contacting us please provide the member’s full name, national insurance number, date of death and next of kin details.

      The sooner we are told, the quicker we can establish if any death benefits are payable and if so, start paying them. For members already receiving a pension, it is important we are notified quickly to avoid an overpayment of pension, which would need to be reclaimed.

      Once we have been notified of a death, we will contact the next of kin within ten days (if that is not the person who notified us). We may request relevant certificates such as birth certificates and marriage certificates as well as a Will, to establish if anyone is entitled to a death grant or survivor’s/children’s pension.

    • What will my family get in the event of my death?

      Depending on when you were an active member (i.e. paying into the fund) and the regulations in place at that time, we may pay a survivor’s pension to your:

      • Spouse,
      • Civil partner, or
      • Eligible cohabiting partner

      In addition:

      • A tax-free lump sum may be payable, and
      • A pension may also be paid to your eligible children.

      You should visit your member hub to find out more information about what your family is entitled to:

  • Joining the Pension Scheme

    • How do I join?

      Most are automatically enrolled into the Pension Scheme when they start their job. However if you were not auto-enrolled, or opted out and you wish to join, simply complete the PEN 1 – New Start form.

    • Why should I join?

      The LGPS is one of the best and easiest ways to plan for your future and has an excellent range of benefits.

      • secure pension underwritten by Government meaning your pension is guaranteed by law
      • You don't need to worry about making investment decisions. Your pension isn't based on the economy or investment returns, it simply builds up each year based on how much you earn  
      • Your employer pays in too, covering around 2/3rds of the cost of your pension
      • You will pay less tax, as your pay is taxed after your contributions have been deducted
      • Pensions are available for a spouse, civil partner or eligible co-habiting partner and any eligible children in the event of your death
      • Lump sum of 3 x salary should you die in service
      • Options to pay more or less, you can boost your pension by paying more or if you need to, you can reduce your contributions
      • Option to convert some of your pension for a tax free cash lump sum when you retire
      • A guaranteed income in retirement which is payable for life which also increases with the cost of living - so as the price of goods increases, so too does your pension
      • Options for early retirement from age 55 
      • Ill health retirement, if at any age you are unable to work due to ill health
      • Flexible and redundancy & efficiency retirements are available too
    • What is automatic enrolment?

      The government wants to encourage all workers to save for their retirement. To help people save more, they introduced auto-enrolment which meant all employers must automatically put their workers into a workplace pension if they:

      • Are age between 22 and State Pension Age
      • Earn more than £10,000 a year
      • Work in the UK

      If you do not meet the above criteria you are not auto-enrolled. However you can still join by completing a PEN1B – Opting in form.

    • I'm re-joining, what happens to my pension?

      If you are working for an employer who offers the LGPS, you can rejoin at any time. What happens to your previous benefits when you rejoin, depends on when you originally left:

      • Before 1 April 2015 -your new pension record, is kept separate from your deferred record unless you choose to join them together.
      • On or after 1 April 2015 – your new pension record is automatically joined to previous deferred record, unless you choose to keep them separate.

      In both cases, you have 12 months from re-joining to decide whether to keep your benefits separate or to join them.

  • Leaving & Opting Out

    • How do I opt out?

      If you want to leave, simply complete and return the Opt Out form to your employer.

    • What happens to my pension if I leave employment or opt out?

      If you have less than 2 years membership, and no other Local Government Pension benefits in Scotland, you can receive a refund of your contributions (minus tax) or transfer your pension benefits to another pension provider.

      If you have 2 or more years membership, or less than 2 years but have other LGPS benefits in Scotland, your pension benefits will remain in the LGPS until they can be paid, or you transfer them to another pension provider.

    • What if I choose to leave my pension with you?

      If you leave your pension with us, you will become a “Deferred Member.” Essentially your pension is on hold until it can be paid or you transfer them to another provider. 

      We will calculate the value of your pension at the date of leaving and while your pension remains with us, we will increase it in line with the cost of living each year. 

  • My Pension+ (Online Portal)

    • How do I register?

      There are different ways to register for My Pension+, depending on whether you were already registered for the previous My Pension site or are a new member.

      If you previously registered for the old version of My Pension, you will need to update your login details to access My Pension+. You can so so by clicking here and following the steps.

      If you are completely new to our online pension portals, follow the instructions here to register as a new member.

    • What if I have forgotten my login details?

      To login to My Pension+ you require your email address and password. If you have already registered for My Pension+ and have forgotten your password, simply click on the Forgotten your password? link on your login screen and follow the instructions to reset your password.

      If you have previously registered for the old My Pension site and are trying to update your details to access My Pension+ and you have forgotten your password, simply click on the Forgotten your password? link on your login screen and then provide the details required to set up your account.

    • What do I do if I have locked or disabled my account?

      You simply need to reset your password by clicking on the "Forgotten your password" link on the homepage. 

    • Can My Pension+ show me how much my pension is currently worth?

      You can use My Pension+ to view the current value of your annual pension. You will see the "Latest Valuation" section on the homepage and within that you can select "Current Pension Value" to see the figure.

      You also have access to your most recent annual pension statement within the "Annual Benefit Statements" section which will provide more detailed information plus a personalised video about your pension value.

    • What do I do if I need help registering?

      If you are having difficulties registering for My Pension+ and require further assistance, please contact us.

    • How do I use My Pension+?

      Upon logging in, you will see your My Pension+ homepage is categorized into different areas. The page is organised into specific sections to make it easier to find the information you require. You can click on the blue button underneath each image to navigate your way around the site.

    • Will My Pension+ display all of my records?

      My Pension+ will display all of your pension records. The dashboard will combine to show all appropriate pages for your multiple records.

    • Can I use My Pension+ to update my details?

      You can use My Pension+ to update your address, bank details and death grant nomination details, however to update personal details such as name or title, please contact us.

    • How do I upload documents through My Pension+?

      To upload documents, navigate to the Documents and Uploads section on the homepage and then select "My Uploads". You will be able to upload files and view your previously uploaded documents.

    • How do I use the pension calculators?

      Different member types will have access to different pension calculators. You can check your pension value and run pension estimates with the various types of calculators to give you an idea of what your pension will be under different circumstances e.g. deferred benefits, ill health retirement, voluntary retirement. To get an estimate, select the type of calculation you want to run, change date/pay details and click "Calculate."

      Note for active members, currently paying in, the pay figure should be your current annual pay or be near to it. If these figures are very different, then the pension estimate produced by the calculator will not be accurate. For deferred members who have left, pay figures we use are is your annual pay at the date of leaving.

  • Pensions Increase

    • How much is the Pensions Increase?

      This year the Pensions Increase is 6.7%

    • How is the Pensions Increase decided?

      Pensions increase every April. The NESPF follows Local Government and Public Pension Scheme legislation which states that the Pensions Increase to be applied each April is to be based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) for the previous September.

      So the 6.7% increase in April 2024, is based on the CPI rate from September 2023.

    • Will I get the full pensions increase?

      You will only receive the full 6.7% increase if:

      • you are over 55 (or under 55 but retired on ill health), and
      • your pension payments began on or before 24th April 2023

      If you are under age 55 and you did not retire due to ill health, then you will receive no increase. When you turn 55, your pension will increase to the level it would have been had it increased every year since you retired.

      If you started your pension after 23rd April 2023 you will only get part of the increase. You can find out more about part increases within the Pensions Increase page. 

    • When will my pension increase?

      The increase is applied on 8th April 2024. As this is part way through the month, only part of your pension will increase. From May onwards, your monthly pension will include the full increase. A payslip is issued to you in April confirming your new pension amount. If it has increased by 50p or more per month, you will also receive a payslip in May showing your new full monthly payment.

    • Why has my pension gone down?

      Some people will find that their net pay is lower than last month, in spite of the pension increase. This is most likely because of changes to your tax code.

      When it comes to tax there are 2 things to keep in mind:

      1. Personal allowance – this is the amount of income you can have before you pay tax and is currently £12,570 per year. Personal Allowance has not increased in line with inflation like your pension.
      2. Your state pension is deducted from your Personal Allowance. So, if for example your state pension was £6,000 a year, your Personal Allowance would reduce to £6,570.

      The state pension has increased this year, which will reduce your Personal Allowance further and cause a change in the tax code applied to your NESPF pension. As the pension with NESPF has also increased this could cause an increase in tax payments, or result in you beginning to pay tax. The net total between your state pension and your NESPF pension should, however, be an increase over previous months.

      Unfortunately, we do not set, nor can we change your tax codes. Any questions about tax must go to HMRC at 0300 200 3300. 

    • Why is the increase lower than expected?

      If you paid into the Fund before 6 April 1997 and have now reached state pension age, it is likely you will have a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP). GMP is the minimum amount of pension we must pay you. Your GMP is also increased but some or all of it is paid with your State Pension. So while the increase from us may be lower than expected, your State Pension will also increase giving you the full 6.7% increase you are entitled to. The exception to this is members whose State Pension Age is after 5 April 2016, the Fund will pay the full increase in these cases.

    • My tax code has changed, or I don't think it's right - what do I do?

      Unfortunately, we do not set, nor can we change your tax codes. Any questions about tax must go to HMRC at 0300 200 3300. 

      If your tax code changes you do not need to contact us as HMRC automatically tell us of any changes. We can only use the tax codes HMRC provide us with. 

      If you receive a letter from HMRC informing you of a change to your tax code, please check your April payslip to ensure the correct code has been used.

  • Pension Payments & Tax

    • When are pensions paid?

      Your pension is paid into your account on the 15th of each month. If the 15th falls on a weekend, or on a bank holiday, it will be paid on the previous Friday or previous working day.

    • Will my pension increase?

      Pension increase each April in line with inflation. Not all pension members will receive the annual increase or receive the full increase. More information can be found on the Pensions Increase page.

    • Is my pension taxed?

      Your monthly pension payments are considered earned income and are taxed under Paye As You Earn, much like your salary at work. When you first retire, you will be taxed according to the tax code on your P45. This is until HMRC issue you a Notice of Coding shortly after you retire. The Pension Fund will notify HMRC of your retirement and you should receive an Income Return form from HMRC for completion.

      The Fund can only apply the tax code given to us by HMRC therefore any questions regarding tax or the tax code used should be directed to HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

  • Retirement

    • When can I retire?

      You can choose to take your pension anytime between age 55 – 75.  However if you choose to take your pension before your Normal Pension Age, your pension will likely be reduced due to early payment.

      The only way for your pension to be paid before your Normal Pension Age without a reduction is in cases of ill health retirement, retirement from age 60 with full Rule of 85 protection and in some cases of redundancy/business efficiency retirements (active members only).

    • What is Normal Pension Age?

      Your Normal Pension Age (NPA) is simply the age you can retire and receive your benefits in full.  Normal Pension Age depends on when you built up  pension benefits:

      • Before 1 April 2015: Normal Pension Age is 65
      • On or After 1 April 2015: Normal Pension Age is the same as your State Pension age (SPA), with a minimum age of 65 for those who have a State Pension Age younger than 65. For any benefits built up before 1 April 2015, your NPA will remain 65.

      If you take your benefits before your Normal Pension Age they will likely be reduced as they are being paid early. If you take your benefits later than your NPA, your benefits will increase.

      You cannot take your pre and post April 2015 benefit separately, they must be taken at the same time. So you may find depending on your NPA and what age you retire some benefits are reduced but others are not.

    • Why is my pension reduced if I take it early and by how much?

      As you are choosing to take your pension earlier than expected, your pension needs to stretch and be paid over a longer period of time. To ensure it can be paid over the entirety of your retirement, the amount you are paid each year is reduced to cover the additional years.

      How much your pension is reduced by depends on how many years early it is paid. Reduction rates are determined by the Government with the current rate available in the Retirement area.

      To get an idea of exactly how much your pension could be if you take it early, use the retirement calculators available on My Pension+.

    • What is Rule of 85 and do I qualify for it?

      Rule of 85 is a way of calculating whether a member’s pension would be reduced if they took it early. Under Rule of 85, members whose age plus pension membership (in whole years) equals 85 may be able to retire and receive their pension in full without it being reduced for early retirement.

      There are various rules and conditions around Rule of 85 and taking your pension early. As such please see the Rule of 85 page for more details.

    • What other types of retirement are available?

      As well as early retirement or retirement at Normal Pension Age, there are other retirement packages available including flexible retirement, ill health retirement and retirement due to redundancy or business efficiency. For more information on retirement visit your members hub:

  • Tax

    • What is tax relief?

      When you pay into the LGPS, your pension contributions are taken off your pay before you pay tax. This way you pay less tax each month.

      However do remember, when you start receiving your pension, your pension will likely be taxed.

    • What is Annual Allowance?

      Annual Allowance is simply a limit on how much pension you can save in any one year before you pay a tax charge. The Annual Allowance limit for most members is £60,000 per year (higher earners, over £260,000 per year, have a lower allowance).

      Annual Allowance covers all pension benefits you have, in any, and all pension schemes you have paid into over the financial year. Most members are not affected by the Annual Allowance but you can find out more on our Tax page.

    • What is Lifetime Allowance?

      The Lifetime Allowance was abolished and no longer applies from 6 April 2023.

      Lifetime Allowance was the total value of all pension benefits you could have without triggering a tax charge. If the value of your pension benefits when you drew them was more than the Lifetime Allowance, you would have had to pay tax on the excess. 

      While most members were not affected by the Lifetime Allowance, the change means that no one faces a tax charge regardless of how much pension they have.

  • Transfers

    • Can I transfer in other pension benefits?

      You can only transfer in other pension benefits if they are from:

      • Other Local Government Pension Schemes
      • Members of the Public Sector Transfer Club e.g. NHS, Civil Service, Teachers pensions

      A full list of Club members is available on the Civil Service website.

      We cannot accept transfers from personal or private pension schemes.

      You have 12 months from joining to transfer in other pension benefits. To transfer benefits, complete and return the PEN 1.3 Previous Pension form.

    • Can I transfer my pension elsewhere?

      Yes, you can transfer your pension as long as:

      • Your new pension provider or scheme accepts LGPS pension benefits. You will need to speak to them to see if this is possible, and
      • Your transfer is made at least 12 months before your Normal Pension Age

      You should contact your new provider to see if they will accept the transfer. If they do, they will normally contact us directly to begin the process, however you should follow their transfer procedure as each company is different.

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