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FAQs

  • When can I retire?

    From state pension age (min 65) you can retire and receive your benefits with no reductions. From age 60 you can choose to retire, but this may reduce your benefits if you do not have protection under The Rule of 85. If you are interested in flexible or early retirement before 60, you will need to obtain your employer's permission.

  • How is my pension taxed?

    Your pension is taxed.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) set or amend your tax code based on your total income including the state pension and any other income you have.

    As we do not set your tax code, all we can do if you question your tax code with us is to suggest that you contact HMRC (0300 200 3300).

    Tax Help for Older People is a service from the charity Tax Volunteers providing free, independent and expert help and advice for older people on lower incomes who cannot afford to pay

    Your lump sum at retirement paid from us is normally completely tax-free. Please note that, if your employer has awarded you compensatory added years, the lump sum arising from them could be liable to a tax charge.

  • Will my pension increase?

    LGPS pensions are inflation proofed.

    Your pension cannot go down.

    You will get an increase in pension every April if prices have increased.

    The pension increase for 2017 was 1%.

    Your April 2017 payment will only reflect about 2/3 of the increase, as it takes effect from Monday 10 April 2017, not from 1 April 2017. Your May payment will reflect the increase in full.

    There was no pension increase in 2016 as the Consumer Prices Index for the year to Sep 15 was negative. 

    The previous few years' increases were:

    Apr 15 1.2%

    Apr 14 2.7%

    Apr 13 2.2%

    Apr 12 5.2%

    Apr 11 3.1%

  • Am I able to transfer in service from a previous employer?

    If you have previous LGPS rights, it is very important that you contact us, as there are LGPS rules that we have to apply if you do not provide us with any instructions and applying these rules may not be to your advantage.

    You may be able to transfer pension rights into the LGPS from any other public sector scheme provided that you ask within 12 months of joining.

  • How will my pension be paid?

    Your pension will be paid monthly directly into your bank account by the Bank Automated Credit System (BACS).

  • Do I get a pay advice slip every month?

    You'll get a payment advice slip:

    * with your first payment

    * every April advising you of the pension increase

    * every May with your P60

    * if you receive an increase in your pension that is more than £5

    * if your tax code changes

  • Why have you kept my P45?

    Your employer should automatically send your P45 to us as we are now considered your employer. We will complete parts 1 and 3 of the form and forward it to HM Revenue and Customs, Centre 1, East Kilbride.

    The tax office will then work out your total income and advise us of the correct tax code to use.

  • What happens if I take another job? Don't I need to give my P45 to my new employer?

    You must inform us immediately if you become re-employed by another employer participating in the LGPS, whether you rejoin the LGPS or not.

    If you retired through redundancy or in the interest of the efficiency of the service, any extra years' service added to your pension may be reduced if you return to work in local government.

    You can re-join the LGPS and build up a new period of membership and benefits.

    If your new employer is outside local government, your pension will not be affected.

    You should ask your new employer to forward a P46 to HM Revenue and Customs for you.

  • Should I notify you if I change address?

    Yes.

    We contact all of our members at least once a year about their pension.

    We are required to have an up-to-date address for all our pensioners. If we do not have one, we may have to suspend payment of your pension.

    You can change your address on SPFOnline.

    You can contact us by phone, email or post to let us know your new address.

  • How do I notify you of a change of bank account?

    You can change your bank details on SPFOnline.

    You can alternatively complete our change of UK bank details. Make sure you sign it, as we need your signature to authorise this change.

     

  • I have moved overseas. Can I have my pension paid into my overseas bank account?

    If you move abroad and no longer want your pension paid into a UK bank account, you can instruct us to pay your pension direct into an overseas account in the single Euro payments area using our SEPA form. If you need a form for a country not in the single Euro payments area, please contact us.

  • Will my spouse / dependants be entitled to a pension if I die on pension?

    On your death your pension entitlement stops immediately, so it's important your spouse or someone else in your family informs us immediately.

    Your husband, wife or civil partner and any qualifying children may then receive a pension which increases in line with the cost of living if s/he is entitled to one under the LGPS regulations.

    If you were an active member after 31 March 2009 and are not married or are not in a civil partnership, but have:

    • Lived with someone for 2 years at the time of your death
    • Whilst both of you have been free to marry
    • Whilst you have been financially interdependent

    a cohabiting partner can receive a survivors pension provided s/he meets the criteria under the LGPS regulations.

    Short-term widow's, widower's, or civil partner's pension

    If you left service before 1 April 2009, for three months after your death (six if there are any eligible children in the care of your husband, wife or civil partner), your spouse will receive a pension of the same amount as you were receiving from your pension. The situation is slightly different for husbands and civil partners.

    Long-term widow's, widower's, nominated cohabiting partner's or civil partner's pension

    After the short-term pension ends or if you were in service on or after 1 April 2009, your spouse will receive a pension which increases with the cost of living for the rest of their life, even if they re-marry. This will be 1/160 of your final pay times your service (or pay for service after 31 March 2015). The situation is slightly different for husbands, cohabiting / civil partners or if you married after you retired.

    Short-term qualifying children's pension

    Children's pensions are usually payable after your widow's, widower's or civil partner's short-term pension has finished. If your children are not in the care of your partner, your children also get a short-term pension equal to your pension for three months after you die.

    If there is no widow's, widower's or civil partner's pension to be paid, a children's short-term pension lasts six months.
    Children's pensions are shared among your children.

    Long-term qualifying children's pension

    Your children may receive a long-term pension for as long as they are eligible (under 17, or up to 23 and in full-time education which started before they were 17, or aged over 16 and disabled within the meaning off the Equality Act 2010).  The amount depends on a number of factors, including how many children you have, whether they are in the care of your husband, wife, or civil partner, and if your child is receiving any pay while in full-time training.

  • Is a lump sum paid on death of a pensioner?

    If you are under 75, left service before 1 April 2009 and die within five (ten if you were in service on 1 April 2009) years of retiring, the remainder of your first five (ten if you were in service on 1 April 2009) years' pension is paid in one lump sum death grant to your widow, widower, civil partner, or someone you've nominated. For any service after 31 March 2015 any tax free cash you took at retirement will reduce your death grant.

    If you are also an active member of the LGPS when you die, only the highest of your death grant rights in the LGPS is paid. From your rights as an active, deferred and pensioner member, only one (the highest) death grant right is paid. You do not receive a separate death grant payment from each type of membership.

    To protect your family make sure you have made a nomination. You can make and update your nominations using SPFOnline. You can alternatively complete a Nomination Form.

  • Why should I be a member of the LGPS?

    To protect your loved ones and to build up an income (and lump sum) for your retirement.

  • What benefits does the LGPS offer?

    * A guaranteed pension for life

    * A tax free lump sum at retirement

    * Death benefits for your family

    * Ill-health retirement benefits

    * Redundancy retirement benefits from age 55 (age 50 for members as at 6 April 2006)

    * Optional retirement from age 60

    * Cost of living based pension increases

  • How much will it cost me?

    Your contribution depends on your actual pay on 1 April as shown in the table below, with those in 50/50 paying half.

    Pay tranche                 Contribution rate paid on that tranche in 2017 / 2018

    Up to and including £20,700               5.50%
    Above £20,700 and up to £25,300       7.25%
    Above £25,300 and up to £34,700       8.50%
    Above £34,700 and up to £46,300       9.50%
    Above £46,300                                12.00%

    To see the effect of using the above tranches on any pay, your contribution rate is available from our contribution calculator in the Tools area.

    Your employer pays the rest of the cost of providing your benefits. This amount varies but it's always enough to make sure your pension can be paid and will be at least 19.3% of your pay.

    You get tax relief on your contributions - the tax you pay on your salary is calculated after your pension contributions are deducted.

     

  • What happens if I go part time?

    A change of hours affects any pension you build up from 1 April 2015 from the date of the change.

    A change of hours does not affect your benefits built up before 1 April 2015.

  • How are my retirement benefits calculated?

    From 1 April 2015 you build up a pension of 1/49th of your pay in your Pension Account each year.

    Your Pension Account is revalued each year by the Consumer Prices Index up to your date of retirement.

    The total pension in your Pension Account is adjusted at your date of retirement if you do not retire at your state pension age (min 65).

    Up to 31 March 2015 the LGPS was a final salary pension scheme. This means the payment you get for service up to that date is based on your final year's pensionable pay and your total length of membership.

    Up to 31 March 2009 the annual pension payment is worked out by dividing your final pay by 80 and multiplying this by your total membership.

    To work out your lump sum for service up to 31 March 2009 divide your final salary by 80, multiply this by your total membership, and then multiply the final figure by 3.

    For any service after 31 March 2009 to 31 March 2015, your annual pension will be worked out by dividing your final pay by 60, and you will have the option to take part of this as a lump sum.

  • What do you mean by pensionable pay?

    Pensionable pay is any part of your pay from which contributions have been deducted - basic pay, bonus payments, contractual overtime, and weekend enhancement.

  • What happens if I have to retire early due to ill health?

    If you have two years' membership and a Strathclyde Pension Fund approved independent registered doctor certifies you're unable to work because of ill health, you will receive your pension immediately.

    Your pension can only be paid early if your employer decides you are permanently unable to perform the duties of your job due to ill health and you are not immediately capable of undertaking other work.

    The pension can take account of some or all of your prospective service to your state pension age (min 65) depending on whether you are likely to be capable of working again.

    No enhancement to your actual service is granted if you have previously received a tier 1 enhancement or an enhancement under LGPS regulations prior to 1 April 2009.

  • What if my employer retires me on redundancy or efficiency grounds?

    If you are aged 55 (50 if you were a member as at 6 April 2006) or over and have at least two years' total membership, you will receive your pension and lump sum immediately with no reduction for early payment.

    Note: any gap in LGPS membership after 5 April 2006 means you need to be 55 to have a redundancy retirement.

  • What if I should die while still in employment?

    A death grant is payable, as well as a spouse's pension and children's pension, where appropriate.

    From your rights as an active, deferred and pensioner member, only one (the highest) death grant right is paid. You do not receive a separate death grant payment from each type of membership.

    To protect your loved ones, make sure you have nominated them. You can make and update your nominations using SPFOnline. Alternatively you can fill in a Nomination Form

    If you fail to nominate someone for any lump sum death benefit, it might take longer for the payment to be made. The person receiving the lump sum might also have to pay inheritance tax if they've not been nominated using the form.

  • Where is the LGPS 2015 website?

    The Scottish LGPS funds member website is at http://www.scotlgps2015.org/

  • Where can I find LGPS legislation?

    LGPS 2015 regulations and some guidance for Payroll / HR practitioners is available at http://scotlgpsregs.org/. NOTE: tiered contributions guidance is Appendix 1 of the Payroll Guide.

    Pre LGPS 2015 material is available at http://lgpsregs.org/timelineregs/Default.html

     

  • Can I buy more pension?

    Yes, you can pay extra to increase your pension either by paying additional contributions to buy an increased LGPS pension known as Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) or by making Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

    Our AVC scheme is administered for us by Prudential and details are available on their website. Alternatively to receive a Local Government information pack call Prudential's Pension Connection on 0800 032 6674 or email your contact details to strathclydeavc@prudential.co.uk

  • Can I opt out of the LGPS?

    You can opt out of the LGPS at any time by providing your employer with the opt out form that is available from the Publications > Members > Forms area of our website.

    It is important to read the For your future leaflet and to seek advice before opting out of the LGPS.

    If you do opt out of the LGPS and are entitled to a refund, your employer will usually pay this to you if you have been in the LGPS for less than 3 months.

    If you do opt out of the LGPS with more than 3 months pensionable service but less than 2 years pensionable service and are entitled to a refund, your employer will pass us your request for a refund. Your refund will take account of any tax and national insurance (up to tax year 2015 / 2016) reliefs you have received. By law we cannot pay a refund within one month of you opting out.

  • What happens if I change my job?

    If you change jobs but stay working in the local government or for another employer who's part of the LGPS, you can ask to have your pension transferred to your new employer. They will not be transferred automatically. If you're getting paid less in your new job, it might not be in your best interests to transfer your pension. Remember to consider taking financial advice.

    If you leave local government completely, or choose not to transfer the pension you've accumulated, it will be treated as a deferred pension. See the Deferred Members area for more information.

  • When will my deferred benefits be paid?

    From age 60 you can choose to access your deferred benefits, but they may be reduced if you do not have protection under The Rule of 85.

    We will try to contact you a couple of months before you reach 60 to see when you wish to access your benefits.

    In the meantime your deferred benefits will keep pace with inflation.

    Unlike personal pensions your benefits are guaranteed by law and can't be affected by stock-market fluctuations.  

    Your benefits can be paid earlier than 60 if you become ill and the illness means that you would be permanently unable to do the job that you held you got your deferred benefits. As a first step we will need a letter from your doctor to consider whether your benefits can be paid out on grounds of permanently being unable to do your previous job.

  • How are my deferred benefits calculated?

    For service after 31 March 2015, you earn a pension based on your pay during that time. Your pension is revalued each year until you retire to reflect changes in the Consumer Prices Index. 

    The LGPS was a final salary pension scheme for benefits earned up to 31 March 2015. This means the payment you get for those years is based on your final year's pensionable pay and total membership.

    Your final year's pensionable pay is increased for inflation up to your retirement. The previous year's rise in inflation from 30 September to 30 September is used to calculate the increase you get.

    For service up to 31 March 2009, your annual pension payment is worked out by dividing your final pay by 80 (by 60 for service after 31 March 2009) and multiplying this by your total membership.

    To work out your lump sum for service up to 31 March 2009, divide your final salary by 80, multiply this by your total membership, and then multiply the final figure by 3.

  • What if I should die before receiving my deferred benefits?

    If you left service before 1 April 2009 and die before your deferred benefits come into payment then a lump sum death grant equal to your deferred benefit lump sum (including any pension increases) would be paid to your nominated beneficiary or beneficiaries.

    If you leave service after 31 March 2009 the death grant is five times your deferred pension.

    If you are also an active member of the LGPS when you die, only the highest of your death grant rights in the LGPS is paid. From your rights as an active, deferred and pensioner member, only one (the highest) death grant right is paid. You do not receive a separate death grant payment from each type of membership.

    You can make and update your nominations using SPFOnline.

    Alternatively you can complete a Nomination Form

    If you left service after March 1988, there will also be a pension payable to your spouse if you are married or have entered into a civil partnership before leaving the scheme. Spouse's benefits may be payable even if you marry or enter into a civil partnership after leaving or if you left service before April 1988.

    If you left after 31 March 2009 and are not married or are not in a civil partnership, but have:

    • Lived with someone for 2 years at the time of your death
    • Whilst both of you have been free to marry
    • Whilst you have been financially interdependent

    a cohabiting partner can receive a survivors pension provided s/he meets the criteria under the LGPS regulations.

    Any dependent children may also qualify for a pension. A child's pension will be payable for so long as the eligible child remains in full time education or up to their 23rd birthday. A child's pension may also be paid to a child who is aged over 16 and who is disabled within the meaning off the Equality Act 2010.

  • Can I transfer my deferred benefits to another pension scheme?

    Yes.

    However, if you want to transfer your benefits to an overseas scheme, you must emigrate permanently. More information about this is available from HMRC.

  • How do annual allowance (AA) and lifetime allowance (LTA) work?

    The AA factsheet has information about the annual allowance and you can view how much of your annual allowance you have used on SPFOnline.

    The LTA factsheet has information about the lifetime allowance.

    Our Guide to the LGPS also has information about tax.

     

  • How does Freedom and Choice in pensions affect LGPS members?

    Reforms offering greater flexibility, 'Freedom and Choice', in the way that individuals aged 55 and over can access their defined contribution (DC) pensions became effective on 6 April 2015.

    As the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a public sector defined benefit (DB) scheme, 'Freedom and Choice' does not apply to it.

    However, before retiring, members do have the right to transfer their pension rights out of the LGPS to a DC arrangement offering 'flexible benefits'.

    As a transfer out of the LGPS is a major financial decision requiring careful consideration and can only be done after taking advice, we suggest that any members contemplating this course of action first read our Freedom and Choice Q & A for LGPS members.

  • What is the pension increase for 2017?

    The pension increase for 2017 was 1%.

    There was no increase to pensions in April 2016, as the Consumer Prices Index for the 12 months to September 2015 fell by 0.1%.

    LGPS pensions did not go down from April 2016 despite the UK being in deflation.

    The previous six pension increases were: Apr-15 1.2%; Apr-14 2.7%; Apr-13 2.2%; Apr-12 5.2%; Apr-11 3.1%; and Apr-10 0%.