When can I take my benefits?

Following the introduction of the Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2018, you can now take your benefits from age 55, without your employer’s consent but with reductions, if you left the scheme between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2014.

Deferred benefits are usually payable without reductions from normal pension age (NPA) which will be between ages 60 and 65, depending on when you joined the scheme.  You can see what reductions apply below. If you take your benefits after your NPA they are increased due to late payment.

The regulations, however, do not effect you if you are retired on the grounds of ill health. In this instance you may be able to receive your benefits unreduced, regardless of your age. If you think this applies to you then you should contact your employer as they will have a discretions policy in place to deal with these sorts of requests.

Early payment of deferred benefits at your request

You can request early payment of your deferred benefits from age 55.

The Rule of 85

This applies only to members joining the LGPS before 1 October 2006.

If your benefits are brought into payment before the age of 65, your pension and lump sum may be reduced if your age plus your potential membership to the date that payment is due, does not equal 85.

This reduction does not apply if your benefits are brought into payment on the grounds of permanent ill health.

If you choose to draw your deferred benefits before age 65, your benefits will be reduced to take account of their early payment and the fact that your pension will be paid for longer. How much your deferred benefits are reduced by depends on how early you draw them.

What are the reduction factors?

The reduction is calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the Government Actuary from time to time. The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you retire early i.e. calculated as the period between the date your benefits are paid and age 65.

As a guide, the percentage reductions for retirements up to five years early are shown in the table below. Where the number of years is not exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted accordingly.

Percentage Reduction
Years Early Retirement Pension Lump Sum
Men Women Both
1 5.6% 5.2% 2.9%
2 10.8% 10.1% 5.7%
3 15.5% 14.6% 8.5%
4 20.0% 18.8% 11.2%
5 24.0% 22.7% 13.7%
6 27.8% 26.4% 16.3%
7 31.4% 29.8% 18.7%
8 34.7% 33.0% 21.1%
9 37.7% 36.1% 23.4%
10 40.6% 38.9% 25.6%
11 44.2% 42.2% N/A%
12 47.6% 45.5% N/A%
13 50.9% 48.6% N/A%

If you were in the LGPS on 30 September 2006, some or all of your benefits paid early would be protected from the reduction if you are a protected member.

Early payment of deferred benefits due to permanent ill health

The second method of obtaining early payment of your deferred benefits is on the grounds of permanent ill health. You can apply for payment of your deferred benefits at any age, without reduction if, because of your health, you would be permanently incapable of the job you were working in when you left the LGPS and you are unlikely to be capable of gainful employment within 3 years of applying for the benefit, or before age 65 if sooner.

If you do not elect for early payment of deferred benefits they will be paid from age 65 unless you opt to delay payment beyond that age. If you draw your deferred benefits after age 65 they will be paid at an increased rate. Deferred benefits must be paid before age 75.

However, if your pension is not in payment at age 60 (women) / 65 (men), the GMP element (if any) of your pension must be paid from that date or from the date you leave if later.