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.
If you have at least 2 years Scheme membership or have transferred previous membership into the Cheshire Pension Fund, you can leave employment voluntarily, between the ages of 55 and your State Pension Age and receive your pension benefits, but they will be reduced to take account of your early retirement.
Reductions for early leavers & protections
If you choose to retire earlier than your normal pension age (NPA) your pension benefits may be reduced for earlier payment, although there are protections in place for some members of staff who were members of the Scheme prior to October 2006 and who qualified for the 85 year rule protections.
The reduction is calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the Government Actuary. The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you access your pension benefits early i.e. calculated as the period between the date your benefits are paid and your Normal Pension Age.
Details of the percentage reductions that would be applied to your pension benefits can be found here. The percentage to be applied depends on the number of years before your Normal Retirement Age you access your pension.
Retiring at your normal pension age
Your deferred benefits are normally payable at your Normal Pension Age in the LGPS. Your Normal Pension Age is linked to your State Pension Age (but with a minimum of age 65).
Retiring after your normal pension age
If you draw your pension after your State Pension Age, the benefits accrued will be increased to reflect the fact that these are being paid later. You must access your pension benefits by age 75.
Ill Health retirement
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.
In such circumstances you should contact your previous employer’s Personnel Department, who will arrange an appointment with an independent Doctor qualified in Occupational Health Medicine. They must certify that you are permanently incapable of performing the duties of your former employment until at least your Normal Pension Age.