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Transferring Benefits Out

Cash Equivalent Transfer Values (CETVs) payable from the NHS Pension Schemes.

A transfer out occurs when a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) from SPPA is paid to another pension scheme or arrangement.  The transfer value buys benefits in the new pension scheme, which count towards benefits payable from that scheme.

Upon leaving NHS employment or leaving the NHS scheme you could transfer your pension to:

      • Another NHS Pension scheme (England and Wales or Northern Ireland).  These schemes are administered separately; therefore a transfer will not occur unless requested by you;

      • A registered occupational pension scheme with defined benefits;

Before you make a final decision about transferring your benefits out of the scheme, please read the information provided by the Pension Regulator.

Important information for members requesting a transfer out of the NHS Scheme

The Pension Schemes Bill 2014/15 contains measures to restrict transfers out of unfunded defined benefit public service schemes, except to other defined benefit schemes, unless certain conditions are met. These changes came into effect from 6 April 2015.

More information about the Pension Schemes Bill can be found at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/pensionschemes/documents.html

 

Which members are affected by the changes?

Members affected by the changes are those who have requested a transfer to a defined contribution (DC) scheme from which it may be possible that the benefits provided under the rules of the receiving scheme in respect of the transfer credits/rights resulting from the transfer payment are flexible benefits.

Flexible benefits are defined as:

    • a money purchase benefit,
    • a cash balance benefit, or
    • a benefit, other than a money purchase benefit or cash balance benefit calculated by reference to an amount available for the provision of benefits to or in respect of the member (whether the amount so available is calculated by reference to payments made by the member or any other person in respect of the member or any other factor)

This means that transfers to DC schemes will no longer be permitted.

Members who have requested a transfer to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)

The position in respect of members transferring to a QROPS has now been confirmed. It is no longer possible to transfer out to overseas schemes, however, legislative changes did not extend to those QROPS schemes which are not occupational pension schemes and which have their main administation in a state in the European economic area, other than the UK.

This opportunity to transfer will end on 6 September 2015.

Members not affected by the changes are those who have:

1. Requested a transfer to another defined benefit scheme

2. Left the NHS Scheme with less than two years membership, where the alternative to a transfer to a defined benefit scheme is a refund of pension scheme contributions, or a cash transfer sum (if the member left the scheme with between 3 months and less than two years scheme membership)

 

Time Limits

If you have over two years service you can apply for a transfer at any time but it must be completed before normal pension age (NPA).

If you have less than two years calendar service you must join your new scheme within 12 months of leaving the NHS and have applied for a transfer within 12 months of joining your new scheme. 

Age Limits

If you are a member of the 1995 section, with a normal pension age of 60, the transfer must be completed before reaching age 60.

If you are a member of the 2008 section, with a normal pension age of 65, the transfer must be completed before reaching age 65.

If you are a member of the 2015 scheme, you would have to apply before your state pension age.

Listed below are some frequently asked questions for Transferring benefits out of the scheme.  

 

1.  How do I apply for a transfer?

You must write to your new pension provider and ask them to request a transfer value from us on your behalf.  This is important as your new scheme may not be able to accept your NHS pension. 

Upon receipt of the necessary application, SPPA will verify your scheme eligibility and provide them with an estimate of your transfer value as soon as possible.

 

2.  What happens once I have applied for a transfer?

SPPA will supply your new pension provider with the transfer value quotation along with the necessary discharge forms for you to sign, should you decide to go ahead with the transfer.  In order to do this the SPPA may need to contact your previous employer for salary details and if you were a member of the scheme prior to 6th April 1997, we will need to contact HMRC for the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) figure if this is not already held, as this forms part of the transfer value calculation.  Once calculated, the transfer value will be guaranteed for three months and your new provider should advise you of the benefits the transfer will buy in their scheme to allow you to make your decision on whether to go ahead with the transfer.    

 

3.  How is a transfer payment worked out?

A transfer payment is worked out by converting the value of the accrued pension rights to a current cash equivalent using factors supplied by the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) in relation to a member’s age at the date of calculation. The transfer calculation takes account of fluctuations in the Stock Market.

If the transfer is to England & Wales or Northern Ireland the SPPA pay the transfer value immediately using factors at the date the transfer request was received. 

 

4.  Is the transfer value guaranteed?

The transfer values are guaranteed for three months in accordance with the Pensions Act 1995.  If a request for payment is received within the three month guarantee period, the SPPA pay the guaranteed amount.  If it is received outwith the three month guaranteed period the SPPA recalculate the transfer value and pay that amount to the new scheme.

 

5.  Do I have to pay for a transfer value?

The SPPA are able to provide one transfer value per year free of charge. Any subsequent values will be provided at the relevant cost on the SPPA charging procedures chart

 

6.  Are the NHS Pension Schemes members of the “Club Scheme Arrangements”?

Yes.  You can find further information about the club schemes on the Civil Service website. 

 

7.  Can you tell me if transferring is the best option for me?

You may wish to seek financial advice before deciding whether to transfer your benefits. The SPPA are not able to give any financial advice to members of the NHS Scheme.  

 

8.  I now work for another NHS Scheme.  Do I have to transfer my Scottish service to it?

No.  You are not obligated to transfer your pension benefits to another NHS Scheme.  You can leave your service preserved in the NHS Pension Scheme in Scotland and have separate pensions paid by each scheme at NPA if this will be more beneficial to you.

 

9. If I change my mind, can I cancel the transfer once the process has started?

There is no requirement for the member to transfer their benefits even if an enquiry has been made.  However, the SPPA cannot cancel the transfer once the payment has been sent to the new scheme. You should contact the SPPA Transfers team as soon as possible if you change your mind.

 

Contact the SPPA Transfers Team

Write to us at :          

Scottish Public Pensions Agency
7 Tweedside Park
Tweedbank
Galashiels
TD1 3TE

Telephone:  01896 893 000 and ask for NHS Transfers when prompted.

Fax:  01896 893 214

Email

 

Other Useful NHS Contacts:

NHS Pensions Agency (Administrator for the NHS Scheme in England and Wales)
Hesketh House
200-220 Broadway
Fleetwood
Lancashire
FY7 8LG

Telephone:  0845 421 4000

Website   

HSC Pension Service (Administrator for the NHS Scheme in Northern Ireland)
Waterside House
75 Duke Street
Londonderry
Northern Ireland
BT47 6FP

Telephone:  028 713 9000

Website

Link to Scottish Government Website