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For members of the Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales

Frequently asked questions

A list of questions on popular topics. This is where you will find information about death benefits, the McCloud court case and pensions and divorce.

COVID-19

  • Where can I find help about my financial situation?

    MoneyHelper has published a guide to coronavirus and your money. The guide provides practical advice for anyone facing financial difficulties because of the coronavirus outbreak. It covers problems with mortgage or rent payments, household bills, borrowing and debt

  • Can I stop my pension contributions?

    Yes, but you might want to consider joining the 50/50 section of the LGPS instead of opting out. If you do, you’ll pay half your normal contributions and build up half your normal pension. You’ll keep full life and ill health cover in the 50/50 section. You can move back to the main section when you are ready. Find out more about the 50/50 section on the Paying less page.

    You can use the Contributions calculator to check how joining the 50/50 section would affect your take-home pay.

    If you have considered the 50/50 section and still want to opt out, Contact your pension fund for an opt out form. You should take independent financial advice before opting out.

  • Will the value of my LGPS pension fall?

    No. The LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme. This means that your pension is based on your salary and how long you have paid in. Your pension is not linked to stock market performance. Neither your contributions nor your pension will be affected by any falls in the stock market. This includes any LGPS pension that you are paying into or that you paid into in the past.

    The only exception is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). If you have an AVC, it is possible that the value may have reduced. This will depend on what funds you have chosen to invest in. You can contact your AVC provider for more information.

  • Will my LGPS pension still be paid?

    Yes. Your LGPS fund will prioritise paying pensions in these uncertain times. If you are already receiving your pension, it will continue to be paid as normal. Remember to Contact your pension fund to let them know if you change your address or want to change the bank account your pension is paid into.

  • Will my pension be affected by a pay drop?

    Your pay may having dropped during the pandemic for a number of reasons. Whether a pay drop will affect your LGPS pension depends on the reason for the reduction.

    Sick leave: If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay. You will continue to pay pension contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

    Authorised unpaid leave: If you employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave, you will not build up any pension for the unpaid period. You can choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy the pension you ‘lost’ in the unpaid period.

    If you choose to buy the pension you have ‘lost’, the cost will be split between you and your employer. Your employer will meet two thirds of the cost, but only if you elect to pay the APCs within 30 days of returning to work.

    You can use the Buy lost pension calculator to find out how much this would cost.

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: To help businesses retain staff during the pandemic, the Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as furlough. The scheme ended in September 2021.

    The Government did not expect public sector organisations, such as councils, to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme except in very limited cases. Public sector employers were expected to continue to pay staff in the normal way, even if they were not at work.

    If your employer was able to use the job retention scheme and you both agreed, your employer may have kept you on the payroll while they had no work for you because of COVID-19. This is also known as being ‘on furlough’. You may have been:

    • fully furloughed – this means you could not do any work for your employer during the hours you were recorded as being on furlough, or
    • flexibly furloughed – this means you could work for any amount of time or work pattern and your employer could claim the furlough grant for the hours you do not work, compared to the hours you would normally have worked.

    The rules varied between the scheme’s introduction in March 2020 and its closure in September 2021. Your employer was able to claim from the Government part of your wages for the hours you did not work. Your employer may have chosen to top up your pay to its normal level. If you received less pay when you were ‘on furlough’, the amount of pension your built up was lower. You would have continued to pay pension contributions on any pay you did receive.

    You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension you lost during a period of furlough. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost of buying extra pension, but it could choose to. Use the Buy extra pension calculator to find out about the cost to you.

    Emergency volunteering leave: The Government introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.

    If you take a period of emergency volunteering leave, your LGPS pension will build up as if you were working normally. You only pay contributions an any pay your employer pays you during the period.

  • Can I still contact my LGPS pension fund?

    Your LGPS pension fund will have adapted their working patterns to ensure they can continue to provide a service while following the latest Government advice to protect their staff. You can still Contact your pension fund, but please be aware that the team may take longer to respond to questions and requests.

    Your pension fund will prioritise paying pensions and death benefits. It may take than usual to deal with other work such as transfers estimate requests and general enquiries.

    Check your LGPS pension fund’s website to see if they offer online services to Scheme members. You may be able to use an online portal to update your personal details, run retirement estimates or view your annual benefit statements.

  • Could pension scams increase?

    Yes. Watch out for scams related to coronavirus (COVID-19). These scams may take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pension transfers or high risk investment opportunities, including investments in crypto-assets.

    Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try many things. They are likely to target the vulnerable. Beware of investments that appear too good to be true.

    To protect yourself you should:

    • reject offers that come out of the blue
    • beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for or sponsored adverts online
    • use the Financial Services Register and Warning list to check who you are dealing with
    • not click links or open emails from senders you don’t know
    • avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision
    • not give out personal details links bank account details, your address or information about your existing insurance policies, pensions or investments.

    If you suspect a scam, call Action Fraud right away on 0300 123 2040.

  • Will LGPS death benefits change?

    No. The Government launched the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme in April 2020. The scheme covers certain health and social care workers in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic. A payment of £60,000 will be made to the estate of eligible staff who die from coronavirus contracted during their frontline essential work. This is paid on top of any death grant or survivor pension paid by the LGPS. You can find out more about what will be paid by the LGPS in the ‘After you die’ section of the FAQs.


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