Protection Arrangements FAQs

Updated: June 2014

(Printable Version)

Q1. What is Protection?

A. Protection is the arrangement whereby certain members will remain in their current section of the NHS Pension Scheme beyond 31st March 2015
(see Q5 & Q6).

Q2. Who do the Protection arrangements apply to?

A. All active members of the 1995 and 2008 sections, who, as at 1st April 2012, were either already over their normal pension age (see Q3 & Q4) or 10 years or less from their normal pension age are entitled to full Protection.  Active members of both sections who, as at 1st April 2012, were more than 10 years, but less than 13 years and 6 months from their normal pension age are eligible for limited Protection. We call this Tapered Protection.

Q3. What is the normal pension age (NPA) in the 1995 section?

A. Age 60 for the vast majority of members. There are some exceptions. Members with "special class" status, as defined under the relevant legislation - and  mental health officers (MHOs) - who will have worked at least 20 years in that capacity. These members may have a normal pension age of 55. You can find out more about special class officers and mental health officers on the SPPA website by clicking on the links above. (Further information on protection for these members will be added to the website in due course)

Q4. What is the normal pension age (NPA) in the 2008 section?

A. Age 65 for everyone.

Q5. What is full Protection?

A. Full Protection is not being compelled to move to the new arrangement on 1st April 2015 and instead continuing to remain in your existing
section of the Scheme.

Q6. How is tapered Protection different to full Protection?

A. Tapered Protection means you will join the new arrangements from a date determined by your age in years and months as at 1st April 2012.

Q7. How is the tapered Protection period calculated?

A.Tapered Protection is based on how many months beyond 10 years you were away from your normal pension age (NPA) as at 1st April 2012. For each month beyond 10 years, the protection period is reduced by two months. A calculator that tells you the date you will join the 2015 scheme  is available at the link below . In addition, tables setting out the tapered protection arrangements  by month and year of birth will also be made available. Tapered Protection Calculator

(The Tapered Protection Calculator may not work on every computer. You can also find out the date you will move to the new scheme by clicking on the links below which corresponds to your circumstances)

  1. 95 Section Member (NPA 60)
  2. 95 Section Member with MHO or Special Class Status (NPA 55)
  3. 2008 Section Member


Q8. Can Protection status be lost?

A. Yes you will lose Protection if you leave NHS employment or the Scheme on or after 1st April 2012 and do not rejoin within 5 years.

It is the provisions of a member's current Scheme section which are protected, rather
than specific benefits.  The rules around loss of MHO status, for instance , are defined in 95 Section regulations and are different to those for losing protection. See the Mental Health Officer section of the Employers' Guide to the National Health Service Superannuation Scheme Scotland for information on the retention or loss of MHO status.

Q9. Can I opt out of Protection?

A. No, for members of the 1995 section entitled to full Protection.

Members of the 95 section without full protection will be offered the choice of moving their pre 2015 service to the 2008 section, which may be better for their particular career.  Because of the later NPA in the 2008 section, any member in the tapered protection period of the 1995 section who moved to the 2008 section would, in effect, be opting out of protection, as they would be outside the 2008 section protection period.  This will have to form part of the member's
considerations when deciding what to do under the 95 Section Choice Exercise.

Members of the 2008 section eligible for Protection will be given a one-off option to opt-out of the Protection arrangements and transfer to the 2015 scheme, referred to as the 2008 Section Choice Exercise. This is because it is possible that if you do not receive promotional pay increases before retirement, the higher accrual rate in the 2015 scheme could deliver a bigger pension than the
2008 section.

Q10. When will members of the 2008 section have to decide whether to opt-out of the Protection arrangements?

A. After the introduction of the 2015 scheme, as members will not be in a position to decide whether opting out of the Protection arrangements would be likely to be of benefit to them until full details of the new 2015 arrangements are finalised. Further information will be published as it becomes available and appropriate communications will be issued. Meanwhile, there is no need to do anything further at present.

Link to Scottish Government Website