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    When will my deferred benefits be paid?

  • From age 60 (55 if you were an active member after 31 May 2018) you can choose to access your deferred benefits, but they will be reduced if you take them before 60. If you are 60 when you take them, they may be reduced if you do not have protection under The Rule of 85.

    In the meantime your deferred benefits will keep pace with inflation.

    Unlike personal pensions your benefits are guaranteed by law and can't be affected by stock-market fluctuations.  

    Your benefits can be paid earlier than 60 (55 if you were an active member after 31 March 2015) if you become ill and the illness means that you would be permanently unable to do the job that you held you got your deferred benefits. As a first step we will need a letter from your doctor to consider whether your benefits can be paid out on grounds of permanently being unable to do your previous job.

  • How are my deferred benefits calculated?

  • For service after 31 March 2015, you earn a pension based on your pay during that time. Your pension is revalued each year until you retire to reflect changes in the Consumer Prices Index. 

    The LGPS was a final salary pension scheme for benefits earned up to 31 March 2015. This means the payment you get for those years is based on your final year's pensionable pay and total membership.

    Your final year's pensionable pay is increased for inflation up to your retirement. The previous year's rise in inflation from 30 September to 30 September is used to calculate the increase you get.

    For service up to 31 March 2009, your annual pension payment is worked out by dividing your final pay by 80 (by 60 for service after 31 March 2009) and multiplying this by your total membership.

    To work out your lump sum for service up to 31 March 2009, divide your final salary by 80, multiply this by your total membership, and then multiply the final figure by 3.

  • What if I should die before receiving my deferred benefits?

  • If you left service before 1 April 2009 and die before your deferred benefits come into payment then a lump sum death grant equal to your deferred benefit lump sum (including any pension increases) would be paid to your nominated beneficiary or beneficiaries.

    If you leave service after 31 March 2009 the death grant is five times your deferred pension.

    If you are also an active member of the LGPS when you die, only the highest of your death grant rights in the LGPS is paid. From your rights as an active, deferred and pensioner member, only one (the highest) death grant right is paid. You do not receive a separate death grant payment from each type of membership.

    You can make and update your nominations using SPFOnline.

    Alternatively you can complete a Nomination Form

    If you left service after March 1988, there will also be a pension payable to your spouse if you are married or have entered into a civil partnership before leaving the scheme. Spouse's benefits may be payable even if you marry or enter into a civil partnership after leaving or if you left service before April 1988.

    If you left after 31 March 2009 and are not married or are not in a civil partnership, but have:

    • Lived with someone for 2 years at the time of your death
    • Whilst both of you have been free to marry
    • Whilst you have been financially interdependent

    a cohabiting partner can receive a survivors pension provided s/he meets the criteria under the LGPS regulations.

    Any dependent children may also qualify for a pension. A child's pension will be payable for so long as the eligible child remains in full time education or up to their 23rd birthday. A child's pension may also be paid to a child who is aged over 16 and who is disabled within the meaning off the Equality Act 2010.

  • Can I transfer my deferred benefits to another pension scheme?

  • Yes.

    However, if you want to transfer your benefits to an overseas scheme, you must emigrate permanently. More information about this is available from HMRC.

  • What were the April 2016 changes to state pension, contracting out and NI?

  • Should I notify you if I change address?

  • Yes.

    We contact all of our members at least once a year about their pension.

    We are required to have an up-to-date address for all our pensioners. If we do not have one, we may have to suspend payment of your pension.

    You can change your address on SPFOnline.

    You can contact us by phone, email or post to let us know your new address.

  • Where can I find LGPS legislation?

  • LGPS 2015 regulations and some guidance for Payroll / HR practitioners is available at NOTE: tiered contributions guidance is Appendix 1 of the Payroll Guide.

    Pre 01 04 2015 material is available at


  • How does Freedom and Choice in pensions affect LGPS members?

  • Reforms offering greater flexibility, 'Freedom and Choice', in the way that individuals aged 55 and over can access their defined contribution (DC) pensions became effective on 6 April 2015.

    As the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is a public sector defined benefit (DB) scheme, 'Freedom and Choice' does not apply to it.

    However, before retiring, members do have the right to transfer their pension rights out of the LGPS to a DC arrangement offering 'flexible benefits'.

    As a transfer out of the LGPS is a major financial decision requiring careful consideration and can only be done after taking advice, we suggest that any members contemplating this course of action first read our Freedom and Choice Q & A for LGPS members.

  • What is COPE?

  • If you ask the DWP for a State Pension Forecast, you may come across the term COPE, Contracted Out Pension Equivalent.

    If you were a member of the LGPS between 1978 and 2016, you will have paid less National Insurance (NI) contributions than had you not joined the LGPS.

    A consequence of paying less NI is that you are entitled to less state pension.

    The amount of state pension that you are not entitled to is called COPE.

    Your benefits from the LGPS will be more than COPE.