Information for members of the LGPS and those with police, firefighter, teacher and NHS pensions
Last updated:
18 October 2017

How do I take my pension?

Available options for your retirement.

1 Overview

Your Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pension can be paid immediately if you:

  • retire voluntarily from the age of 55 to 75
  • take flexible retirement at your employer’s discretion, drawing your pension while continuing in employment on fewer hours or with less responsibility
  • retire due to ill health at any age if you are certified as permanently incapable of carrying out your job, as well as not being immediately capable of carrying out any gainful employment (that is, employment of at least 30+ hours per week, for a period of at least 12 months)
  • are retired due to redundancy or business efficiency and you are aged 55 or over.

These options are explained further in the next pages.

When you retire you will receive:

  • a pension for life
  • a possible tax-free lump sum.

Your pension will be payable in full from your normal pension age (NPA), which is usually your new state pension age. If you choose to retire early, then your pension may be reduced to reflect that it will be in payment for longer. If you retire due to ill health, your pension will not be reduced and may be enhanced.

Your employer may waive any early payment reductions in whole or in part. You can ask them what their policy is on this discretion.

If you leave your LGPS employment and you wish to draw your benefits before your normal pension age, please contact the Pensions Team.

You will be contacted automatically by the Pensions Team:

  • when you are approaching your normal pension age (assuming your benefits aren’t already in payment) 
  • if you left on/after your normal pension age
  • if you are retiring for any other reason.

Please note that you cannot draw your benefits until you have left your employment, unless you are taking flexible retirement.

2 Retirement due to redundancy or business efficiency

If you retire due to compulsory/voluntary redundancy or business efficiency and you are aged 55 or over, all of the benefits in your active pension account will be paid immediately without reduction.

However, any previously deferred benefits which have not been aggregated with your current employment, or any benefits from a concurrent employment will not be paid.

If you are under 55 your benefits will be deferred.

3 If you can no longer work due to illness or injury

If you have to retire at any age due to illness or injury, you may be able to draw your benefits immediately without reduction for early payment.

To qualify for an ill health pension, your employer will need to determine that you are:

  • permanently incapable of carrying out the duties of your employment
  • currently unlikely to be able to undertake 'gainful' employment.

Gainful employment is classed as being able to work for at least 12 months at 30 hours or more per week in any employment. Your employer will need to get the opinion of an Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) before they decide and you may have to attend a medical.

If you qualify, your pension will be paid unreduced.

There are three tiers of ill health benefits in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) depending on your prospects of being able to undertake gainful employment in the future.

Tier 1

If your employer determines that you are unlikely to be unable to undertake any gainful employment before your normal pension age (NPA), you will be given a Tier 1 pension, calculated as shown in How are my benefits calculated? but with additional pension added, equal to:

  • 1/49 x your assumed pensionable pay x your potential membership from date of death to NPA

Tier 2

If your employer determines that you are unlikely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment for at least three years but likely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment before your NPA, you will be given a Tier 2 Pension calculated as shown in How are my benefits calculated? but with additional pension added, equal to 25% of the Tier 1 additional pension.

Tier 3

If your employer determines that you are likely to be capable of undertaking gainful employment within three years, you will be given a Tier 3 Pension calculated as shown in How are my benefits calculated? If you subsequently obtain gainful employment, you should tell your former employer immediately and your pension will be deferred until your NPA.

If still in payment, your pension entitlement will be reviewed after 18 months.

Tier 3 - 18-month review

Your former employer will need to get another opinion from an IRMP and your pension will:

  • continue if you are still expected to be capable of gainful employment within the original three-year period
  • cease if you are in gainful employment (and may claim arrears if your pension has been overpaid)
  • cease if you are deemed to be fit to be able to undertake gainful employment
  • be uplifted to Tier 2 if you are not expected to be capable of gainful employment before the end of the original three-year period.

Unless uplifted to Tier 2, your pension will cease at the end of three years or on the date you obtain gainful employment.

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