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Annual benefit statement – Members paying in (active)

Important changes to your Annual Benefit Statement in 2024

From 2024, your Annual Benefit Statement will only be available via the Pensions Portal, My Cheshire Pension. We wrote to all eligible members as part of their 2023 Annual Benefit Statement (ABS), to advise that the ABS would only be available online, going forward.

We will also be writing to all those members who are eligible to receive an Annual Benefit Statement in 2024, to advise that their ABS is available to them, via My Cheshire Pension.

This means that you will no longer receive a paper ABS from us, unless you choose to receive it in that format. From 2024 you will be able to view, and download your ABS via My Cheshire Pension. If you wish to opt out of receiving your ABS electronically, please email us at paperpensions@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk including your: Full name, Date of Birth, National Insurance number, and your Address.

 

Welcome to the Active Members Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) page. Here you will find information about your statement, which eligible members receive annually by 31 August.

If you are an eligible Active Member, (someone who is currently paying contributions to the Cheshire Pension Fund), you will receive an (ABS) each year by 31 August.

Your ABS is a key document that allows you to make informed decisions about your pension, and plan for your retirement.

From 2024 onwards, we will be issuing the ABS, digitally, via the My Cheshire Pension, portal. We have written to all eligible members to inform them of this change in delivery method. You can also view the letter, below.

If you have Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), they are not shown on the Cheshire Pension Fund ABS as your AVC provider sends a separate statement annually.

Key Documents:

Active Annual Benefit Statement 2023

Cheshire Pension Fund Member Newsletter Autumn 2023

Cheshire Pension Fund ABS Poster 2023

Member letter 2023 – change of ABS delivery method from 2024 onwards

 

What is an ABS?

An ABS, is a statement which provides information on your LGPS pension, in this case, your Cheshire Pension Fund Pension.

It provides you with details of:

  • Your total Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pension accrued to the 31 March 2023, with the Cheshire Pension Fund, including any cost-of-living adjustments.
  • The current value of your Death Grant Nomination (DGN), should you die whilst in service.
  • A breakdown of your in-year pension build-up
  • The predicted pension benefits you would receive if you carried on paying into the scheme until your retirement age.
Why should I look at my ABS?

Your ABS provides you with details about how much pension you have accrued to date. It allows you to think about what you need for your retirement, whether that is next year, 10, 20 or even 40 years away. It’s never too soon to start thinking about the type of lifestyle you’d like to lead, when you retire.

Your ABS also provides you with details about your pay, it’s important to check these and ensure that they are correct. If you think they are not, you should contact your employer in the first instance.

Do I have to do anything with my ABS?

Check the details on the statement are correct. For example, your pay figures– do they look right? Also, your address and personal details, are they up to date? Is your death grant nomination correct? Ensure that these are all correct.

You can also start to build a picture of what your retirement will be like, based on your pension income, if it’s not what you would like, you can start to plan now for how you can increase this amount.

What do I do if I have a question about my ABS?

If you have any questions about your ABS, you should contact your employer in the first instance – if it is about your personal information (address, name etc), your pay, or your employment details.

If your query is about your Death Grant Nomination you can update this using the online ‘Death grant nomination form’.

If you have a question about your pension build up you should review the FAQs below to see whether this answers your question, if not you can contact us using the details at the bottom of our website or via our ‘Online enquiry form’.

You can also sign up for our brand new pension portal, My Cheshire Pension, at www.mycheshirepension.org and change your details online.

Why isn’t my current pension value the same as the contributions I have paid in?

As a Defined Benefit scheme, your LGPS pension is calculated based on your salary and how long you’ve paid in. The annual pension is not a one-off amount. It will be paid to you each year in retirement for the rest of your life. Currently the average length that a pension is paid, is 20 years.

Your contributions, your employer’s contributions and money made from investments the Fund makes on your behalf are used to fund the pension benefits paid to you at retirement.

Why aren’t my employer’s contributions shown on the statement?

As with your contributions, employer’s contributions are used to help fund the pension benefit package you will receive at retirement and are not used to calculate your pension.

Why isn’t all my membership showing in Section 4?

The scheme changed in April 2014 from a final salary pension scheme to a CARE scheme.

The final salary element of your pension requires us to use your membership and pay to calculate that part of your pension.  Details of this membership is shown in the left-hand column. Remember that for part time, term time or seasonal workers the membership shown here is pro rata accordingly.

The CARE scheme pension benefits are shown in the right-hand column. Since the introduction of the CARE scheme in April 2014 the pension calculation does not use membership to calculate your pension but is based purely on the amount of pay received.

Is my transfer shown on the statement?

This depends on the type of transfer made.

If you’ve transferred in previous membership, from another LGPS, or your transfer purchased membership before 1 April 2014, then this will be included in the membership showing in the left-hand column of section four.

If your transfer in purchased extra pension and was completed between 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023, it will be shown in section four ‘transfers in’.

If your transfer in earned CARE pension in a previous scheme year, between 1 April 2014 – 31 March 2022, it will not feature as a separate amount on your ABS. It is included in the ‘previous year closing balance’ in section four.

If your transfer was from another LGPS fund, then the transferred amounts will not feature as a separate amount on your ABS. Any membership built up:

  • before 1 April 2014 will be included in the membership showing in the left-hand column of section four.
  • After 31 March 2014 is included in the ‘previous year closing balance’ and/or total ‘in-year build up’ in section four.

Transfers received after 31 March 2023, will not be shown on your statement.

I pay Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are they included in the ABS?

No. If you pay AVCs you will receive a separate statement from your chosen in-house AVC provider.

I have paid Additional Pension Contribution (APCs) are they included in the ABS?

Yes, APCs paid between 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023, are shown in ‘additional pension bought’ (section four). If you paid an APC in previous years, the additional pension will be included in the ‘previous years closing balance’ shown in section four.

If you pay into an Additional Regular Contribution (ARCs) arrangement, then this will be included in the ‘Total final salary annual pension’ in section four.

I purchased added years, are they shown on the ABS?

Yes, any added years purchased up until 31 March 2023 are included in the membership used to calculate your benefits in section four. The added years will be included in the final salary scheme column on the left-hand side.

I have more than one ongoing employment, are all my pensions shown on this statement?

No, you will receive an ABS for each separate employment you hold. The pension reference will be different on each statement.

If you have a previous membership record, for an employment that you no longer pay into the pension scheme with, the ABS for this would be sent separately in July each year.

I have an LGPS pension(s) with a previous local authority, will this automatically transfer over?

In most cases, your previous LGPS pension(s) will not automatically transfer over without us writing to you first. If we have not been told about your previous membership, you can complete a Declaration of Previous Pension Rights form (Previous-Right-Form.pdf (cheshirepensionfund.org)) to let us know.

Please note: If you have been in your employment for longer than 12 months, you will need permission from your employer to transfer in any previous LGPS pension(s) in respect of service ending before 1 April 2014.

Can I transfer other pensions into my LGPS pension?

You can request a transfer into the LGPS if you are within 12 months of joining the LGPS. To begin the process, complete a Transfer Value Authority  Form which is available to download from our Forms page (Transfer Value Authority Form).

If you are outside of the 12 months, you will need your employer’s permission first, this will also need your employers Human Resources (HR dept) explicit permission as well. Each employer will have their own published policy on whether they allow this. You will need to talk to your employer in the first instance.

Is the pension detailed in section two reflective of what I will receive at retirement?

The figures provided in section two provide details of the present value of your benefits, as at 31 March 2023. These figures do not take into account any reductions that may be applied to your benefits should you wish to retire early.

Members who are within a few years of retiring, can request up to 2 retirement estimates each year from the fund. If you are thinking about retiring, you can request an estimate of your benefits based on a retirement date(s) of your choosing. You can do that, using this. Request an estimate of your pension form.

Can I contribute more, or less, to the scheme?

Yes, you can pay towards an Added Pension Contribution (APC) or an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) fund to increase your pension benefits. Visit the section on ‘How do I increase my pension’ on our website.

You also have the option of paying less by opting into the 50/50 section and paying half the contributions in return for half of the benefits. You can use this ‘Join the 50-50 scheme’ form to join the 50/50 option instead.

When can I take my pension?

You can take your pension at any age between 55 and 75. However, if you decide to take your pension early (before your Normal Pension Age (NPA)), reductions will be applied, based on how early you are retiring.

Please see our web page: ‘Leaving before retirement age’ for further information.

If you’re thinking of retiring soon, you should read our ‘Planning my retirement’ section, on our website.

Can I increase my lump sum when I retire?

Yes, you will have the option to increase your lump sum up to a maximum of 25% of your total pension pot, at retirement.

Section two of your Annual Benefit Statement provides you with the details of the maximum lump sum available to you, based on your pension values as of 31 March 2023.

However, if you decide to take your pension early (before your Normal Pension Age (NPA)), reductions will be applied to your lump sum as well as your pension, based on how early you are retiring. 

Why isn’t my ABS on the My Cheshire Pension, Portal?

We’re currently working on deploying the portal for all Active Members. We will be working on, and delivering more functionality in the very near future, in time for your 2024 ABS to be delivered digitally. You can sign up for the portal at www.mycheshirepension.org

Where can I find information about My Cheshire Pension, Portal?