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Blog: A review of NHS pensions

There has been a general air of despondency within the NHS about the continual attacks on your pension scheme and I have often heard people say it's not worth being in the scheme. Despite the changes for 99% of people this is just not true and I would love to be a member of either the 1995, 2008 or 2015 pension scheme. There are fantastic scheme guides on the NHS website and I think nurses should apply for a total rewards pension statement. This tells you your current pension, the value and what it would cost you personally to get the same pension. So a quick resume of the schemes would be a good starting point:

1995 scheme     

The normal retirement date still remains age 60 and all benefits accrued within that scheme can still be taken at age 60 without penalty. The pension is based upon the best salary in the three years before you take your benefits. The pension is 1/80th of the final salary and a total of 3/80th for each year of service.

2008 scheme  

The normal retirement date is age 65 and the pension is still based upon your best earnings in the last three years, but the pension accrual is 1/60th for each year's service and if you want a large amount then you give up part of your pension.

2015 scheme

The normal retirement date is now linked to state pension age so for many people that will be age 67 or higher. The pension is now 1/54th of your average career earnings so it is no longer a true final salary scheme. The lump sum is provided by giving up some of your pension.

So what scheme are you in?

If you were employed by the NHS before 1 April 2008 then you have benefits in the 1995 scheme. If you joined between the 1 April 2008 and the 31 March 2015 then you will have benefits in the 2008 scheme, whereas if you began your occupation in the NHS after 1 April 2015 then all your benefits are under the 2015 scheme.

Transitional protection

If you were in the 1995 scheme or the 2008 scheme and were born before 1 April 1962, you retain membership of that scheme and not the 2015 scheme. If you were born between the 1 April 1962 and the 31 July 1965 you will be transitioned into the 2015 scheme. Additionally, if you were born after 31 July 1965 you will have become part of the new scheme on the 1 April 2015. The membership that you had under the 1995 or 2008 scheme is still payable at age 60 or 65 and is still based upon your final salary.  

Other issues

Don't forget the very valuable death in service benefits, dependents pensions and children's pensions as well as the ill health early retirement pension. These are incredibly valuable.

Before taking any decisions it is wise to seek suitably qualified advice from specialist medical independent advisors fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.