If you joined the LGPS before 1 April 2014

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) changed from a final salary scheme to a career average scheme on 1 April 2014. From 1 April 2014 the benefits built up in the LGPS are worked out under the rules of the new career average scheme and are payable in full from the Normal Retirement Age of the scheme which is linked to your State Pension Age (but with a minimum of 65).

However, protection is in place if you built up benefits in the final salary scheme which means that the Normal Pension Age for these benefits is protected and remains, for almost all members, age 65.

Retiring at your protected normal retirement age

If you retire and draw all of your pension at your protected Normal Pension Age, the pension built up in the scheme before 1 April 2014 will be paid in full.

Retiring before your protected normal retirement age

If you choose to take your pension before your protected Normal Pension Age the pension you have built up in the scheme before 1 April 2014 will normally be reduced, as it's being paid earlier. As a guide, the current percentage reductions for retirements up to 13 years early are shown in the early retirement reductions section. Where the number of years is not exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted accordingly. The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you retire early i.e. the period between the date your benefits are paid and your protected Normal Pension Age, which for almost all members is age 65. The earlier you retire, the greater the reduction.

In addition, if you were a member of the LGPS at anytime between 1 April 1998 and 30 September 2006, some or all of your benefits could be paid in full earlier than age 65 if you are a rule of 85 protected member. See the section on the 85 year rule for more information.

Your employer can agree not to make any reduction. You can ask them what their policy on this is.

Please note that you cannot take your benefits built up to 31 March 2014 separately from the benefits you build up from 1 April 2014. All your pension must be drawn at the same time (except in the case of Flexible Retirement).

You can reduce or avoid the reductions by not taking immediate payment of your benefits on retirement i.e. by delaying payment until a later date. If you decide not to draw immediate benefits, the benefits built up before 1 April 2014 would normally become payable unreduced at your protected Normal Pension Age, which for most is age 65, and the benefits built up on or after 1 April 2014 would normally become payable unreduced at your Normal Pension Age. You can defer payment beyond that age, although benefits must be paid by age 75.

Retiring after your protected normal pension age

The benefits you have built up before 1 April 2014 will be increased if you draw them after age 65. The rate of increase for pre 1 April 2014 benefits drawn after age 65 is a 0.010% increase on the pension for each day the pension is drawn later than age 65 and a 0.001% increase on the automatic lump sum for any pre 1 April 2008 membership for each day that lump sum is drawn later than age 65.

Remember that your pension has to be paid by your 75th birthday. Also, all pension benefits, if drawn voluntarily, must be drawn at the same time, irrespective of whether they were built up in the career average scheme or the final salary scheme.

The underpin - an additional protection if you were within 10 years of age 65 on 1 April 2012

This protection applies to you if you who were an active member of the LGPS on 31 March 2012, were within 10 years of age 65 at 1 April 2012 and you remained in the scheme after April 2014 (when the scheme changed). Subject to certain conditions, you will get a pension at least equal to that which you would have received had the scheme not changed on 1 April 2014. The underpin can, in certain circumstances, also apply if you were a member of another public service pension scheme on 31 March 2012 and you then join the LGPS and transfer your pension benefits from the other public service pension scheme into the LGPS. See the section on the underpin for more information.