NILGOSC: FAQs

Active Pension Benefit Statement

APCs

No.  Purchases of additional pension have no effect on your 85 year rule date.

Yes, it is possible to give up additional pension at retirement to provide extra lump sum, subject to tax limits.

Yes, as long as the total amount does not exceed £7,385 per year (2022/23 limits).  It should be remembered that the cost of any later purchases of additional pension will depend on your age at that time.

It is possible that your monthly payments could change in the future.  The actuary may change the rates or the government could change the method of increase.  These changes would affect both new applicants and members who are already buying additional pension.  These changes will normally apply from 1 April following the change and we will let you know the change beforehand.

If you are on unpaid leave or child-related leave you must continue to make the contributions to buy additional pension.

If you stop contributing, leave or retire before the end of the payment period you will receive a pension based on the contributions made up until the date they ceased.  If you retire early on ill-health grounds the contract is deemed to have been paid in full.

At the end of every Scheme year the proportion of additional pension that you have bought in that year is added to your pension account.  The value of pension in your pension account is revalued each year to keep up with cost of living increases.  Once in payment the additional pension will get the same increase as the rest of your pension and go up in line with Pensions Increase orders each year.

You can pay for additional pension either by regular contributions or by lump sum.  The cost depends on:

  • your age at the date the lump sum is paid or the contributions start
  • the period you wish to pay over
  • your normal pension age

You can calculate the cost of buying additional pension using the APC calculator.  This calculator allows you to consider the cost over various payment periods.  

If you decide to pay by regular contributions the contract must be for at least one full year or a full number of years.  Contracts may be subject to a minimum monthly contribution rate set by NILGOSC.

You cannot start to buy additional pension with regular contributions if you are within one year of your normal pension age.  However, you could still pay by lump sum.

Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)

If your employer chooses to contribute towards the cost when you are buying additional pension to increase your benefits, this is known as a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC) contract.  This is an employer discretion and you can ask your employer about its policy on Shared Cost APCs.

Automatic Enrolment FAQs for employers

From 6 August 2015 there are exemptions from automatic enrolment for those who have tax protection against the lifetime allowance tax charge e.g. primary protection, enhanced protection, fixed protection 2012, fixed protection 2014, individual protection 2014, and from 6 March 2017; fixed protection 2016, or individual protection 2016.

Postponement allows an employer to delay duties for eligible jobholders for up to three months.  The employer can apply postponement:

  •   to existing workers on the staging date; 
  •   to new workers on starting employment after the staging date; and/or 
  •   when someone becomes an eligible jobholder after the staging date.

An employer can use postponement again the next time duties are triggered in relation to a worker, as long as he or she is not an eligible jobholder on the deferral date (the last day of the postponement window).  

For example, an employer applies a three-month postponement period, with a deferral date of 31 January, to a worker because a period of overtime in November took his qualifying earnings over the earnings threshold, triggering automatic enrolment.  On 31 January the employer reassesses the worker, who has not been paid for any overtime in January; qualifying earnings do not exceed the monthly qualifying earnings threshold so he is not an eligible jobholder.  The worker is paid a bonus in February, which again triggers auto-enrolment.  The employer can apply postponement again for up to three months.  

There is no limit to the number of times that an employer can apply postponement.

If an employer is using contractual enrolment, workers will be enrolled under the contract of employment.  Once an individual enrolled via contractual enrolment ceases active membership however, the normal employer duties begin to apply - to monitor age and earnings, and auto enrol as appropriate.  These duties commence at staging date so if the person is not an active member at staging date, but meets the criteria for eligible jobholder, you would have to automatically enrol.  Exemptions from automatic enrolment are listed here.

Where a Scheme employer uses an agency worker who is paid by the Agency, the Scheme employer has no duties under the Pensions (No.2) Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 in relation to that agency worker.  Where the agency is the employer for automatic enrolment purposes, the automatic enrolment duties fall on the agency and will apply to the agency worker from the agency’s staging date and not the hirer’s staging date. 

A secondee will usually remain a worker for the employer from whom they are seconded and that employer will continue to pay them and send a bill the body to which they are seconded.  In that situation it is the employer who has seconded the employee who will remain responsible for the automatic enrolment duties under the Pensions (No.2) Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 (not the body to whom the individual has been seconded).  If, instead, the new body becomes the employer during the period of the secondment, then they will become responsible for the employer duties under the Pensions (No.2) Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 in relation to that individual (in line with their duties to their other employees).

If an employee has a number of separate jobs, they may contribute for one, some or all of the jobs and opt out of those they do not wish to pay pension for.  They will need assessed separately for each job when defining what category of worker they are in relation to that employment.

The Pension Regulator’s detailed guidance no. 2, paragraphs 67 – 69 state that if an employer has multiple contracts with the same individual, they will need to consider if the totality of those contracts constitutes a single employment relationship with the worker.  The employer may wish to consider taking appropriate advice, if they are unsure.  

Where the employer considers that a single employment relationship exists, they will need to treat all contracts as one employment.  If this is not the case, they will need to treat each contract separately.

Employers will need to make a judgement on whether the contracts are separate or should be aggregated for automatic enrolment.  They may wish to consider taking legal advice if unsure.  From our experience if a member has more than one job and has a contract for each employment so that they could stop one and continue in another, that would not constitute a single employment relationship.  Additionally, if a member could be made redundant in one job, but continue in the other job(s) it is unlikely that this could be considered a single employment relationship.  In these cases the member will have multiple Scheme membership records.  

If employers are satisfied that each job is entirely dependent on the other, and the roles could not be carried out by two separate employees, then perhaps this might indicate a single employment relationship and the member would only have one record in the Scheme.

Employers are required to automatically re-enrol eligible jobholders who previously opted out of the pension scheme every three years.  This is designed to ensure that jobholders who have opted out are forced to reconsider their decision on a regular basis.  Once re-enrolled by their employer, a jobholder can choose to opt out of the scheme again each time.

Yes, if an employee opts out they can re-join at a later date if they wish. Employers will also have a duty to automatically re-enrol all eligible jobholders who are not already members approximately every three years. An employee who re-joins after opting out cannot choose to combine their old and new benefits.

An employee cannot opt out under automatic enrolment rules until they have been automatically enrolled as an eligible jobholder.  This does not mean that contributions have to be collected from pay before they can opt out. An employee cannot sign and date the opt out form until on or after the day they are automatically enrolled or the date on which they have received the automatic enrolment information, whichever is later.

Under the automatic enrolment regime a member cannot obtain an opt-out form from their employer.  The opt-out form can only be available from NILGOSC.  Members may download the opt-out form from the NILGOSC website or request an opt-out form by telephone or by email.

The opt-out form is in two parts: the request to the employer to opt out and a NILGOSC monitoring section.  The member must return the first part, the opt-out request, directly to their employer and the second part, the monitoring section, should be returned directly to NILGOSC.  The opt-out request may be emailed to the employer.

Notification of all new members and those who opt out must be emailed to autoenrolment@nilgosc.org.uk via a new member or opt out spreadsheet, which can be found in the Automatic Enrolment Spreadsheet section.

Once automatically enrolled, the employee is entitled to opt out of the Scheme any time they want to. There is an opt out period of three months from entry (or three months from the date on which they are provided with statutory information about their enrolment) within which jobholders will be entitled to a refund of their contributions.  If the employee opts out within this timescale then both the employee and employer contribution must be refunded, and the employee put in the same position as if they had never joined the Scheme.

Jobholders can choose to cease membership of the Scheme at any stage, but they will not be entitled to a cash refund of contributions after the end of the three month opt out period under the automatic enrolment regulations.  Instead they will retain the benefits they have built up in the Scheme to that date but will not build up any further benefits.  In these cases neither the employer nor the employee contributions would be refunded.  

However, under Scheme rules if a member leaves with less than two years’ total membership, and has not brought a transfer into the Scheme, they may take a refund of their contributions, less any deductions for tax and the cost of buying back into the State Second Pension Scheme.

No.  A key feature of the automatic enrolment provisions is that eligible jobholders must be automatically enrolled into a qualifying scheme and that no conditions of entry can be imposed. Automatic enrolment is compulsory, although jobholders may choose to opt out of the scheme once they have been enrolled.  Eligible jobholders must not be required to provide information to join a scheme or sign an application form.

Exemptions from automatic enrolment are listed here 

One of the key employer duties under automatic enrolment is to provide certain information to workers.  All employers will have an obligation to provide specified information to their workers within prescribed time limits.  For example, employers must give information to eligible jobholders who are being automatically enrolled.  This information must include details of what automatic enrolment means for them, their right to opt out and opt back in and where they can find further information about pensions and savings for retirement.  Employers must provide this information by no later than six weeks after the eligible jobholder's automatic enrolment date.  All information under the employers' information duty has to be provided in writing, which can include sending information by email, but will not include merely putting information on a company intranet or noticeboard.  The information to be provided in writing to a worker must be direct, for example via a letter, email or payslip message.  It must be personalised (e.g. Dear Mr Smith) for workers who are not already Scheme members, but can be non-personal (e.g. Dear Member) for employees already in the Scheme.

AVCs

You can transfer AVCs or Free-Standing AVCs into the Scheme to buy extra Scheme pension.  You have only 12 months to opt to transfer your AVC benefits unless NILGOSC allows you longer.

Boosting your pension

If you die in service then no benefits from your Additional Pension Contributions (APC) contract will be payable. This is because the amount of extra pension you buy is for you only. It is not used in the calculation of the lump sum death grant or any survivor's or children's benefits.

If you die after leaving but before retirement and therefore have deferred benefits, then a lump sum of five times the extra annual pension paid for will be payable.

If you die whilst in receipt of your pension, a lump sum of 10 times your extra annual pension minus any extra pension already paid to you will be payable.

The additional pension is paid at the same time as you receive your main Scheme benefits.

If you retire early and draw your benefits before your Normal Pension Age or you are retired on redundancy or business efficiency grounds before your Normal Pension Age the additional pension that you have bought will be reduced for early payment.

If you draw your benefits on flexible retirement you can, if you wish, also draw the additional pension you have paid for, although it will be reduced for early payment.  If you do so, your APC contract will cease, although you can take out a new one.

If you are awarded ill-health retirement, then the remaining amount of any APC or SCAPC contract you are paying is deemed to have been paid in full and is paid along with your main Scheme benefits.

If you draw your pension after your Normal Pension Age your additional pension will be increased as it is being paid later.

On retirement you can exchange some of the additional pension for tax-free cash in the same way as your main Scheme pension.

If you die in service no extra benefits from your APC contract will be payable as it was only a contract to provide additional pension for you.

Once you have decided what you want to purchase, having used the APC calculator you should either print off or download the APC application form (LGS27A or LGS27B).  If you are buying ‘lost’ pension you should contact your employer first so they can tell you your amount of lost pensionable pay.

If you are buying additional pension:

You should complete and forward the application form (LGS27A) to NILGOSC along with your payment for a Good Health Medical.  The current fees for a Good Health Medical are £133 (2022/23 figure).

We will advise you of the date of your appointment when we receive your application form and payment for the medical.  If you pass the Good Health Medical we will write to you and your employer confirming the additional monthly deductions that should be taken from your pay and the period you will be paying over or the lump sum amount if you are making a one-off payment.

You can make a one-off payment either via your pay or directly to NILGOSC.  If you make payment directly to NILGOSC you will need to reclaim any tax relief directly with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

If you are Covering pension ‘lost’ through authorised unpaid leave due to industrial action:

You should complete and forward the application form (LGS27B) to your employer who will complete their section of the form and forward it on to NILGOSC.

On receipt of the completed application form NILGOSC will advise both you and your employer of the additional monthly deductions that should be taken from your pay and the period you will be paying over or the lump sum amount if you are making a one-off payment.

You can make a one-off payment either via your pay or directly to NILGOSC.  If you make payment directly to NILGOSC you will need to reclaim any tax relief directly with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Why do I have to have a medical and do I have to pay for it?

If you are buying additional pension to boost your pension benefits you must complete a Good Health Medical. Therefore, NILGOSC needs to know that you are in good health and unlikely to retire on ill-health grounds before it will agree to your purchase of additional pension.  You must pay the cost of the Good Health Medical.

You do not have to have a Good Health Medical if you are buying additional pension to cover ‘lost’ pension due to authorised unpaid leave or industrial action.

Covering pension ‘lost’ due to authorised unpaid leave

If you are off work with permission and are receiving reduced or no pay e.g. a few days of unpaid leave or a career break, you and your employer must pay pension contributions for the first 30 days of your absence if the absence is for 30 days or less. If your absence continues for more than 30 days, the whole period from day 1 onwards will not count towards your pension unless you elect to pay APCs to cover it. Therefore, any period of more than 30 days unpaid additional maternity, adoption, shared parental or parental bereavement leave will not count towards your pension unless you elect to pay APCs to cover the period.

If you are buying additional pension to cover pension ‘lost’ due to authorised unpaid leave your employer must cover 2/3rd of the cost if you choose to take out an APC contract within 30 days of returning to work, or such longer period as the employer may allow.  Your employer will only cover lost pension for a period of up to 36 months.  Your employer will not contribute towards the cost if you make an election after 30 days of returning to work (unless your employer agrees to extend that 30 day period).

The amount of ‘lost’ pension that you can buy is calculated as:

1/49th (1/98th If you were in the 50/50 section)  x lost pensionable pay for period of absence

Buying pension ‘lost’ due to industrial action

If you are absent from work due to industrial action this will not count towards your pension unless you elect to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to cover the period.

The amount of ‘lost’ pension that you can buy is calculated as:

1/49th (1/98th If you were in the 50/50 section)  x lost pensionable pay for period of absence

The cost of buying this ‘lost’ pension is paid fully by you and there is no time limit on the period over which you can choose to buy pension that was ‘lost’ due to industrial action.

You can pay for additional pension either by regular contributions or by lump sum.  The cost depends on:

  • your age at the date the lump sum is paid or the contributions start
  • the period you wish to pay over
  • your normal pension age

You can calculate the cost of buying additional pension using the APC calculator.  This calculator allows you to consider the cost over various payment periods.  

Additional Pension Calculator

If you decide to pay by regular contributions the contract must be for at least one full year or a full number of years.  Contracts may be subject to a minimum monthly contribution rate set by NILGOSC.

You cannot start to buy additional pension with regular contributions if you are within one year of your normal pension age.  However, you could still pay by lump sum.

Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)

If your employer chooses to contribute towards the cost when you are buying additional pension to increase your benefits, this is known as a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC) contract.  This is an employer discretion and you can ask your employer about its policy on Shared Cost APCs.

The additional pension is paid at the same time as you receive your main Scheme benefits.

If you retire early and draw your benefits before your Normal Pension Age or you are retired on redundancy or business efficiency grounds before your Normal Pension Age the additional pension that you have bought will be reduced for early payment.

If you draw your benefits on flexible retirement you can, if you wish, also draw the additional pension you have paid for, although it will be reduced for early payment.  If you do so, your APC contract will cease, although you can take out a new one.

If you are awarded ill-health retirement, then the remaining amount of any APC or SCAPC contract you are paying is deemed to have been paid in full and is paid along with your main Scheme benefits.

If you draw your pension after your Normal Pension Age your additional pension will be increased as it is being paid later.

On retirement you can exchange some of the additional pension for tax-free cash in the same way as your main Scheme pension.

If you die in service no extra benefits from your APC contract will be payable as it was only a contract to provide additional pension for you.

You can pay for additional pension either by regular contributions or by lump sum.  The cost depends on:

  • your age at the date the lump sum is paid or the contributions start
  • the period you wish to pay over
  • your normal pension age

You can calculate the cost of buying additional pension using the APC calculator.  This calculator allows you to consider the cost over various payment periods.  

If you decide to pay by regular contributions the contract must be for at least one full year or a full number of years.  Contracts may be subject to a minimum monthly contribution rate set by NILGOSC.

You cannot start to buy additional pension with regular contributions if you are within one year of your normal pension age.  However, you could still pay by lump sum.

Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)

If your employer chooses to contribute towards the cost when you are buying additional pension to increase your benefits, this is known as a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC) contract.  This is an employer discretion and you can ask your employer about its policy on Shared Cost APCs.

Calculating your benefits

On 1 April each year the CARE pension that you have built up to the 31st March that year is revalued in line with Orders made by the Department of Finance.  This ensures that your pension keeps up with the cost of living.  The benefits built up in the Scheme are revalued based on the year to year change in the Consumer Prices Index figure to the previous September.  The cost of living adjustment can go down as well as up.

The revaluation rates for 2020, 2021 and 2022 are shown below:

 Effective DateCARE Revaluation
1 April 20223.1%
1 April 20210.5%
1 April 20201.7%

Membership after 31 March 2015

Each year, if you are in the main section of the Scheme 1/49th of your pensionable pay is added to your pension account (1/98th if you are in the 50/50 section) PLUS a revaluation amount so that your pension keeps up with the cost of living. 

Pensionable pay includes your:

  • basic pay
  • overtime (contractual and non-contractual)
  • additional hours
  • shift allowance
  • bonus
  • acting up allowance, and
  • any other taxable benefit specified in your contract as being pensionable. 

It does not include:

  • travelling or subsistence allowance
  • pay in lieu of holidays
  • any sum which has not had income tax liability determined on it
  • payment as an inducement not to terminate employment
  • payment in lieu of notice to terminate a contract of employment
  • payment in consideration of loss of future pensionable payments or benefits
  • compensation for the purposes of achieving equal pay in relation to other employees
  • payment in consideration of loss of future pensionable payments or benefits
  • any amount treated as the money value for the provision of a motor vehicle
  • any pay paid by your employer if you go on reserve forces service leave, and
  • any non-consolidated non-pensionable payment paid to a member as part of an annual pay award.

Protected final pay and benefits for membership before 1 April 2015

Your retirement benefits will normally be calculated on your final pensionable pay (2009 definition i.e. excluding non-contractual overtime and additional hours) at retirement (if you are part-time, your final pay is increased to what you would have received had you been full-time). However, your benefits can be calculated on one of the two previous years’ pay if better and, if you downgrade in your last ten years with your employer, you have the option to notify NILGOSC in writing, at least one month prior to your date of leaving, that you wish to have your benefits based on the average of any three consecutive years in the last ten years (ending on a 31 March).

If the value of your pension from the Local Government Pension Scheme (NI) is within the HMRC limits you may, when it is due for payment, be able to have it paid as a one-off taxable lump sum instead of a monthly pension. This is known as Trivial Commutation.

In March 2014 the HMRC limits increased, meaning that if the capital value of all pensions that you have (not just those with the LGPS (NI)) is less than £30,000, you may be able to receive them as a one-off lump sum.

NILGOSC will need information on all pensions that you have to check if your benefits are within the HMRC limits. This excludes a spouse’s pension, state pension and state pension credit. 

It should be noted that;

  •  a pension can only be commuted after the age of 55 (or 65 for male members and 60 for female members who have a GMP payable).
  •  the commuted pension can only be paid when your lifetime allowance is available and your total crystallised amount, from all pensions, does not exceed £30,000.  
  •  the commutation payment extinguishes all member’s rights to benefits e.g. no dependants’ benefits would be payable in the event of your death.

Members whose capital value of pension rights in the Local Government Pension Scheme (NI) is less than £10,000 may also trivially commute their pension rights.

If you would like to find out if you are eligible to commute your pension benefits, please advise the Pensions Administration Team when you are claiming payment of your benefits.

The Scheme provides statutory pension increases. This means that if you retire on or after age 55, your pension will be increased each year in line with the cost of living.

Increases are only paid to people who are younger than age 55 if the person:

  •  is receiving a pension as a widow, widower, civil partner, eligible cohabiting partner or eligible child; or
  •  is retired on ill-health grounds; or
  •  has had their deferred benefits brought into payment on ill-health grounds and is considered permanently unfit for any regular full-time work.

If you retire before age 55 and are not entitled to increases, you are normally paid at a flat rate until age 55.  Once you reach this age your pension will be increased to the level it would have been, had it been increased every year by the rise in the cost of living since your date of leaving. However, no arrears are payable.

If you pay additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) via the Scheme you may elect at retirement to take up to 100% of the accumulated fund in your AVC account as a tax-free lump sum provided that when added to the Scheme lump sum it does not exceed 25% of the overall value of your Scheme benefits (including your AVC fund).  To avail of this tax-free benefit you must draw your AVC at the same time as your Scheme benefits.

If you do not take your AVC fund at the same time as your Scheme benefits you will be restricted to tax free cash of 25% of your AVC fund value.

Alternatively, if you are aged 55 or over, you could choose to transfer your AVC to a defined contribution (DC) scheme that offers flexible options.

You can exchange part of your annual pension for a one-off tax-free cash lump sum. You can take up to 25% of the overall capital value of your pension benefits as a lump sum and you will receive £12 of lump sum for each £1 of pension you give up.  The overall capital value of your pension benefits is calculated as:

Capital value of pension benefits = (Pension x 20) + lump sum + value of AVC fund (if any)

The total lump sum cannot exceed £268,275 (2022/23) less the value of any other pension rights you have in payment. Details of the maximum tax-free lump sum that you can take will be provided to you shortly before retirement and you can then choose how much lump sum you wish to take.

Example

Mary has an annual pension of £6,706.92 and a lump sum of £7,425.  If she decides to give up £1,000 annual pension for an additional cash lump sum, then the reduced annual pension is:

£6,706.92 less £1,000 = £5,706.92 

And she will get an additional tax-free lump sum of:

£1,000 x 12 = £12,000 

Her total tax-free lump sum will now be - 

£12,000 + £7,425 = £19,425 

In the current climate of long life expectancies and low interest rates, members are reminded that the cash lump sum may not be enough to replace the pension given up. If you are considering this option, you are strongly recommended to contact an Independent Financial Adviser for advice.

Box 1 - 'Your Details'
To help you understand the different terms used in the Calculator, hover over the text to see more information.

'Pensionable Pay'
Drag the slider to choose the pay figure you wish to use. This will be the actual amount you would expect to earn in a Scheme year, including pay for all overtime and excess hours worked.

'Inflation'
Drag the slider to choose an inflation figure (between 0% and 5%). This is an assumed figure only. The figure that will be used to work out your benefits in the future will depend on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation each year.

The current rate of CPI used to increase pensions in payment is 3.1%. 

'Pay Increase'
Drag the slider to choose an assumed pay increase in the future (between 0% and 5%). This is to help illustrate how possible future pay increases might impact on your pension in the Scheme.

‘Years in LGPS (NI)’
Select the number of years you expect to be in the new Scheme from 1 April 2015 (minimum is 2 years as this is the period of time you need to build up a pension in the new Scheme, the maximum you can input is 50 years - however there is no limit to the number of years you could have in the Scheme except that you must claim your benefits before your 75th birthday).

'Show 50/50'
Select ‘Yes’ if you wish to see the impact of being in the 50/50 section for the number of years you selected in ‘Years in LGPS(NI)’.

Please note that the 50/50 section is designed to be a short-term option for when times are tough financially. Because of this, your employer is required to re-enrol you back into the main section of the Scheme every three years. This will be carried out in line with your employer’s automatic re-enrolment date. 

On 1 April each year the CARE pension that you have built up to the 31st March that year is revalued in line with Orders made by the Department of Finance.  This ensures that your pension keeps up with the cost of living.  The benefits built up in the Scheme are revalued based on the year to year change in the Consumer Prices Index figure to the previous September.  The cost of living adjustment can go down as well as up.

The revaluation rates for 2020, 2021 and 2022 are shown below:

 Effective DateCARE Revaluation
1 April 20223.1%
1 April 20210.5%
1 April 20201.7%

The Scheme provides statutory pension increases. This means that if you retire on or after age 55, your pension will be increased each year in line with cost of living increases. Ill-health pensions are increased each year in line with inflation regardless of age, with the exception of some deferred members who have their pension brought into payment due to ill-health. These members will only receive pension increases before age 55 if an independent registered medical practitioner approved by NILGOSC certifies that the deferred member is permanently incapable of all work.

If you pay Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC’s) via the Scheme you may elect to take up to 100% of the accumulated fund in your AVC account as a tax-free lump sum if you draw it at the same time as your Scheme pension benefits, provided when added to the Scheme lump sum it does not exceed 25% of the overall value of your Scheme benefits (including your AVC fund).

You can exchange part of your annual pension for a one off tax-free cash payment. You can take up to 25% of the overall capital value of your pension benefits as a lump sum and you will receive £12 lump sum for each £1 of pension given up, providing the total lump sum does not exceed £268,275 (2022/23 figure) less the value of any other pension rights you have in payment.

The overall capital value of your pension benefits is calculated as:
(Pension x 20) + lump sum + value of AVC fund (if any)

However, it should be noted that this calculation is not as simple as it appears as it is the benefits after pension has been exchanged for lump sum which must be taken into account, i.e. the calculation must be repeated for the new lump sum and new reduced pension to ensure that the 25% limit is not exceeded. As the capital value of accrued rights and pension to lump sum conversion are interdependent, multiple calculations may be required. 

In the current climate of long life expectancies and low-interest rates, members are reminded that the cash sum may not be sufficient to replace the pension surrendered. If you are considering this option, you are strongly recommended to contact an Independent Financial Advisor for advice.

Any pension that you have built up until 31 March 2015 was added to your pension account when the new Scheme came into force on 1 April 2015. This amount will then become the opening balance of your pension account for the 2015/16 year (Year 1). 

The pension you have built up before 1 April 2015 is calculated as:

Annual pension = Membership to 31 March 2015 x career average pay to 31 March 2015 / 60

Career Average Pay is the sum of each year’s pensionable pay, ending on a 31 March, uprated in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and divided by the total membership in the Scheme. 

Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance are the only elements of your councillor’s pay that are classed as pensionable.

Example

Mark has been a member of the Scheme since April 2010.  He has 5 years’ membership under the 2009 Scheme and if he retires in April 2019 he will have 4 years’ membership under the 2015 Scheme.  When Mark decides to retire in April 2019 he earns £10,000 per year, and his earnings have not changed since he joined the Scheme in 2010. 

Membership from 2010 - 2015

Annual pension = 5 (years) x £10,000 / 60 = £833.33

£833.33 now becomes the opening balance under Year 1 of the 2015 Scheme.

Membership from 2015 - 2019

New pension savings per year – £10,000 / 49 = £204.08

 YearOpening BalanceNew Pension SavingsTotal Pension SavingsRevaluation of 2%Closing Balance
 Year 1£833.33+ £204.08 = £1,037.41 + £20.75 = £1,058.16 
 Year 2£1,058.16+ £204.08 = £1,262.24+ £25.24 = £1,287.48
 Year 3£1,287.48+ £204.08 = £1,491.56 + £29.83 = £1,521.39 
 Year 4£1,521.39+ £204.08 = £1,725.47+ £34.51= £1,759.98

Total Pension: £1,759.98 per Year

Mark will receive a total annual pension of £1,759.98 per year

Councillors

No. The 50/50 section of the Scheme is not available to councillors.

No. Flexible retirement is not available for councillors.

Only previous LGPS (NI) councillor benefits can be linked to current councillor membership. You may not transfer in other pension benefits.

You cannot assign your pension benefits to someone else nor use them as security for a loan.

If you get divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved your ex-partner is no longer entitled to survivor's benefits.

If your Scheme benefits are subject to a Pension Sharing Order or Earmarking Order your benefits will be reduced in accordance with the Court Order or Agreement.

If you remarry, enter into a new civil partnership or have an eligible cohabiting partner, any pension payable following your death will be reduced to take account of the pension share.  Benefits payable to eligible children will not be reduced because of a pension share.

While you are separated, your spouse or civil partner continue to be entitled to survivor's benefits.  You may wish to update your Expression of Wish form so that NILGOSC is aware of your wishes for payment of any death grant and/or AVC fund value.

Covid-19

No. Pensions are not linked to stock market performance – they are based on salary and how long a member has paid in. Pensions in payment will not be affected.
The only exception is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). It is possible that the value of AVCs may have reduced. Members may wish to check the value of their Prudential AVC on the Prudential website.

Following the 2019 triennial valuation of the Scheme, the actuary set the employer contribution rates for the three years from 1 April 2020. Due to uncertainty regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the funding of the Scheme at that time the actuary and the Committee reserved the right to review and increase the employer contributions for the years 2021/22 and 2022/23. Circular 08/2020 issued on 7 October 2020 advised employers that the contribution rates set by the actuary and stated in the Rates and Adjustments Certificate will apply for 2021/22 and 2022/23.  There will be no change from the rates certified.  

Any employer in such a position should contact NILGOSC. If it appears likely that an employer may not be able to meet its obligations to the Scheme NILGOSC may seek Departmental approval to require the active members to cease future accrual. Once there are no active members, the employer will become an exiting employer, an exit valuation normally takes place and an exit payment is likely to be due. In some circumstances it may be possible to defer the exit valuation although employer contributions continue to be payable or to agree payment of the exit amount over a defined period.

No. NILGOSC’s Funding Strategy Statement (section 5.3.1) requires immediate payment of strain costs resulting from early retirements, augmentation of membership, additional pension and any other one-off strain costs.

NILGOSC may charge interest on the late payment at the rate of base rate plus one percent from the due date to the payment date with three monthly rests. If NILGOSC has reasonable cause to believe that the failure is likely to be of material significance to the Pension Regulator (tPR) then it must give a written report to tPR as soon as reasonably practicable.

No. In the Employer Guide (section 13.2) NILGOSC asks employers to pay over employer and employee contributions by the first working day of the month following the month to which the contributions relate. If a payment is received more than 10 days late then interest may be charged. By law employee contributions must be paid over by either the 22nd (where they are paid electronically) or the 19th of the month following the last day of the month in which the contributions were deducted. If an employer fails to pay over the contributions in time and NILGOSC has reasonable cause to believe that the failure is likely to be of material significance to the Pension Regulator then it is required to give notice to both the Regulator and the member.

No. Members can only make contributions to the Scheme in respect of their earnings from a Scheme employer.

No. The Scheme is contributory. A member, in normal circumstances, must either pay contributions at their rate of pensionable pay while in the main section or they can elect to be in the 50/50 section and pay half the contributions and their pension will then build up at half the rate. Some members may find the 50/50 section helpful in cases of financial hardship rather than opting out. If a member wishes to stop paying into the Scheme they would have to opt out. They can obtain an opt-out form from the NILGOSC website.

No. Once the actuary certifies the contributions for a year then they must be paid over in that year. NILGOSC provided all employers with the 2019 Valuation Report on 31 March 2020. This report included the actuary’s Rates and Adjustments Certificate that states the minimum contributions that are payable each Scheme year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023. NILGOSC expects all employers to remit their monthly contributions as set out in the Employer Guide (Section 13.2), Pensions Administration Strategy (page 5) and Funding Strategy Statement (section 5.2.2). Any employers with financial difficulties should contact NILGOSC directly.

Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP) is used in the calculation of the death grant and any survivor benefits if a member dies in service.  APP is usually calculated using the average pensionable pay the member receives in the three months before the pay period in which they die.  If a member receiving reduced furlough pay dies in service, employers should use the provision that allows them to substitute a notional pay figure to reflect the pensionable pay the member would normally have received.

Yes. If furlough pay forms all or part of a member’s pensionable pay it should be used to determine the employee contribution rate on 1 April 2020. It is also possible for an employer to reallocate a member to a different band during the year. If they do so, they must inform the member. Employers may wish to check their policy on allocation to contribution bands. See section 2.2 of the Employers’ Guide for more information on contribution banding.

Members will build up CARE pension based on the actual pay received. If the furlough pay is 80% of what the member would normally receive then the pension they will build up will be 80% of what they would normally have built up. The member can choose to buy additional pension to make up for the pension that was ‘lost’. The employer may split the cost of this additional pension purchase with the member but is not obliged to do so. The employer could also choose to award additional pension to the member, based on the pension ‘lost’ due to the pay reduction. Employers may wish to check their policy statements regarding this discretion.
Any pension benefits that a member may have that are final salary benefits (relating to membership before 1 April 2015) are usually calculated on the final year’s pay or the best one of the last three years if an earlier pay is higher. This should prevent the final salary element of a member’s pay being affected by being on furlough.
It is also sometimes possible that where a member’s final salary pay in a continuous period of employment is reduced or restricted the average of any three consecutive years’ pay in the last 10 years may be used if that is higher.

Furlough pay arises under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is where an employer may keep an employee on the payroll even though they are unable to operate or have no work for the employee to do because of COVID-19. The employer can pay 80% of the employee’s wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500 and recover these wage costs from HMRC. Employers may top this up above 80%. This is known as being on ‘furlough’. Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employers were originally able to recover minimum employer pension contributions of 3%. As the employers’ contributions to the LGPS(NI) are generally much higher than this, employers will be unable to recover the shortfall and will have to fund the difference themselves. 

On 29 May 2020, the Government announced that, from August 2020, employers will no longer be able to reclaim any pension contributions. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to close on 31 October 2020.  It was then further extended to December 2020, then to 31 March 2021, then to 30 April 2021 and later extended to 30 September 2021.  From 1 July 2021 the level of grant will reduce and employers will have to contribute more towards the cost of their furloughed employees’ wages.  Furlough pay is pensionable under the regulations. Employee and employer contributions should be deducted based on the actual pay the furloughed employee receives. Assumed pensionable pay does not apply in these circumstances.

Section 5.6 of the Employers’ Guide sets out the administration process for those on Reserve Forces Service leave. There are no changes to this procedure.

Emergency Volunteer Leave (EVL) relates to a new volunteering scheme that allows employees to take unpaid statutory emergency voluntary leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities. If a member takes EVL then their Scheme pension benefits continue to build up as though they were working normally. The member pays contributions on the actual pay, if any, that they receive from their employer and the employer pays contributions to the Scheme based on the Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP). Effectively EVL is treated the same as Ordinary Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Leave. Employers may wish to refer to section 5.2 of the Employers’ Guide regarding Relevant child-related absences.

If a member is made redundant and aged 55 or over their pension is payable immediately and unreduced because of early payment. The cost of paying this pension early is charged to the employer as a strain cost and immediate payment is due.
If the member is made redundant and under age 55, their pension benefits are deferred and payable from their normal retirement age. There is no strain cost to the employer as the pension is not payable. Members can choose to have their pension brought into payment earlier (from they reach age 55) or later than their normal retirement age. The pensions will either be reduced in the case of early payment or increased for late payment in accordance with Government Actuary Department guidance.

Up until 17 April 2022, if an employer authorises unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, employee and employer pension contributions are paid to cover the period of absence. The member’s pension will be unaffected.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only. After this the member will not build up any pension for the period unless they choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of lost pension. If a member chooses to pay APCs and they make their election within 30 days of returning to work, the cost is split between the member and employer.

From 18 April 2022, the rules were amended to say that contributions are only payable for the first 30 consecutive days of absence. Where the absence continues beyond 30 days then no contributions are payable (even for the first 30 days) other than the member wishes to cover the period on their return to work.

More information on unpaid leave is in section 5.3 of the Employer Guide.

Deferred and pensioner Scheme members who return to work in Local Government or are offered contracts of employment with the NHS as emergency staff will have access to the appropriate pension scheme e.g. LGPS (NI) Scheme for Local Government and the NHS Scheme for the NHS. If they are issued with an NHS Voluntary Agreement, it does not constitute an employment contract and they will not have access to the NHS pension scheme.

If any Scheme member is seconded to the NHS as emergency staff, then their pension benefits continue on the same basis as before the secondment on the assumption that pension contributions continue to be paid by the employer and employee.

Yes. There is nothing to prevent a pensioner or deferred member being re-employed. They should be automatically re-entered into the Scheme from the first day of employment, unless the contract is for less than three months. NILGOSC should be notified of the ‘new’ member in the normal way.

Where the contract is for less than three months, the employee is also enrolled:

  • when the contract is extended beyond three months or, if earlier,
  • if they ask to join the scheme
  • or if they hit their automatic enrolment or automatic re-enrolment date (and are an eligible jobholder under the AE legislation).

For the majority of pensioners there is no change to their existing pension payment because of the new pensionable earnings. However, a few retired Scheme members who are in receipt of additional compensatory pensions may have to have the compensatory pension reduced – they must advise NILGOSC immediately should they become re-employed.

No. Upon receipt of the relevant paperwork NILGOSC will arrange a face to face assessment for your employee with the Committee doctor.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they may be required to complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire.  Should NILGOSC determine that ill-health benefits can be paid, claim forms will be issued promptly.  NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

Yes. NILGOSC has a statutory duty to issue annual pension benefit statements and pension savings statements. We cannot do either of these without the information that you provide on annual returns. The deadline for submitting annual returns for the 2022/23 year was 29 April 2022.

We acknowledge that the next period is likely to be particularly challenging and disrupting and employers may need to prioritise their Scheme administration tasks. NILGOSC strongly recommends that employers prioritise:

  • providing NILGOSC with information on new retirees to allow us to process and pay new pensions
  • provide information on deaths so that death grants and survivor benefits can be paid as promptly as possible
  • continue to pay over employer and employee contributions promptly
  • continue to advise NILGOSC of any new members
  • complete and submit annual returns.

In addition, the Pension Regulator (tPR) has provided coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employers and pension administrators. The guidance will be updated over the coming weeks so you may wish to regularly check the link. tPR has said that it recognises that some administrative breaches of the law may occur and they will maintain a proportionate and fair approach to any action they make take.

In order to provide members with the most efficient service as possible, during these very trying times, there are a number of ways you can return information to NILGOSC:

Online
Go to our website and upload documents via our online portal ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online.  You can upload documents or send us secure messages once you are registered. If you are not already registered, please Visit My NILGOSC Pension Online.

Email
Email your documents to us at: admin1post.incomingemails@nilgosc.org.uk

Mail
We can receive documents by post or you may wish to use the document upload service available through ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online’ or the email address above to return documents or forms to us.

In person
The office is now open to visitors, however to keep everyone safe we are operating an appointment-only basis. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

The office is now open to visitors, however to keep everyone safe we are operating an appointment-only basis. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

Information on the benefits that the Scheme provides if you die can be found by clicking on the links below. The benefits can be different depending on if you are currently paying into the Scheme, if you have left the Scheme but are not yet receiving your pension or if you are currently receiving a pension from us.

This will depend on the reason for the reduction:

Sick leave
If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay.
You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

Authorised unpaid leave

If your employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made to cover the period of the absence. This mean your pension builds up as normal.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only.  After this you will not build up any pension for the period unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of pension lost.
If you choose to pay APCs to purchase the amount of pension lost and you make your election to do this within 30 days of returning to work, the cost will be split between you and your employer.
Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Coronavirus job retention scheme
If your employer is able to use the job retention scheme and you both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

If this applies to you, your employer could pay 80% of your wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500. The Government will fund your employer to do this, however its contributions to wages for hours not worked will decrease from July 2021 through to September 2021. Employers can choose to top up your pay to 100%, but if you receive less pay when you are ‘on furlough’, the amount of pension you build up during this period will also be reduced. You will continue to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to close on 31 October 2020 but was extended until 30 April 2021 and then further extended to 30 September 2021.  You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension lost during this period. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost, but they can choose to.  NILGOSC will waive the requirement for a Good Health Medical if the reason for buying additional pension is because you were on furlough.

Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.


Emergency Volunteering Leave (EVL)
The Government has introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.
If you take a period of EVL, your LGPS pension benefits will build up in the same way as if you were working normally.
You will only pay contributions on any actual pay your employer pays you during the period.

Other reasons
For information about the impact on your pension if you are away from work for any other reason, such as child related leave or reserve forces leave, please visit our Absences Page.

Possibly. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure transfer payments are paid.  Given the volatility of the markets at the moment, NILGOSC may seek approval from yourself and your IFA that a transfer at this time is still your intention.

No. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure that the retirement application process isn’t affected. NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

Yes, but you might want to consider joining the 50/50 section of the LGPS instead of opting out. If you do, you'll pay half your normal contribution rate and build up half your normal pension. You will retain full life and ill health cover and you can move back to the main section whenever you are ready.
You can use the contributions calculator to check what difference this would make to your take home pay.
If after considering the 50/50 section you decide you would like to opt out, you should complete all sections of the Opt-out Notice and return section A to your employer and section B and C directly to NILGOSC.

No, the LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme which means your pension is based on your salary and how long you've paid in. Your pension is not linked to stock market performance, so both your contributions and your pension, whether in payment or not, will be unaffected.
The only exception to this is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). If you have an AVC, it is possible the value may have reduced - this will depend on the funds you have chosen to invest in. You should contact your AVC provider for more information about this.

Yes. NILGOSC has robust processes in place to ensure that your pension will still get paid every month, when due. We have also implemented additional measures to ensure that normal service is not affected at this time.

No. Upon receipt of the relevant paperwork from your employer NILGOSC will arrange a face to face assessment with the Committee doctor.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, you may be required to complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire.  Should NILGOSC determine that ill-health benefits can be paid, claim forms will be issued promptly.  NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

In order to provide members with the most efficient service as possible, during these very trying times, there are a number of ways you can return information to NILGOSC:

Online
Go to our website and upload documents via our online portal ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online.  You can upload documents or send us secure messages once you are registered. If you are not already registered, please Visit My NILGOSC Pension Online.

Email
Email your documents to us at: admin1post.incomingemails@nilgosc.org.uk

Mail
We can receive documents by post or you may wish to use the document upload service available through ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online’ or the email address above to return documents or forms to us.

In person

The office is now open to visitors, however to keep everyone safe we are operating an appointment-only basis. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

The office is now open to visitors, however to keep everyone safe we are operating an appointment-only basis. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment.

Information on the benefits that the Scheme provides if you die can be found by clicking on the links below. The benefits can be different depending on if you are currently paying into the Scheme, if you have left the Scheme but are not yet receiving your pension or if you are currently receiving a pension from us. 

I am currently paying into the Scheme (Active Member)
I have left the Scheme but am not yet receiving my pension (Deferred Member)
I currently receive a pension from NILGOSC (Pensioner Member) 

This will depend on the reason for the reduction:

Sick leave
If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay.
You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

Authorised unpaid leave

If your employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made to cover the period of the absence. This mean your pension builds up as normal.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only.  After this you will not build up any pension for the period unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of pension lost.
If you choose to pay APCs to purchase the amount of pension lost and you make your election to do this within 30 days of returning to work, the cost will be split between you and your employer.
Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Coronavirus job retention scheme
If your employer is able to use the job retention scheme and you both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they're unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being 'on furlough'.

If this applies to you, your employer could pay 80% of your wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500. The Government will fund your employer to do this. Employers can choose to top up your pay to 100%, but if you receive less pay when you are 'on furlough', the amount of pension you build up during this period will also be reduced. You will continue to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive.  In addition, from 1 September, employers will have to start paying 10% of the employee’s wages (and can recover 70% from HMRC) and from 1 October the employer’s share will increase to 20% (and can recover 60% from HMRC).  The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to close on 31 October 2020 but has been extended until 30 April 2021.  You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension lost during this period. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost, but they can choose to.  NILGOSC will waive the requirement for a Good Health Medical if the reason for buying additional pension is because you were on furlough.

Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Emergency Volunteering Leave (EVL)
The Government has introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.
If you take a period of EVL, your LGPS pension benefits will build up in the same way as if you were working normally.
You will only pay contributions on any actual pay your employer pays you during the period.

Other reasons
For information about the impact on your pension if you are away from work for any other reason, such as child related leave or reserve forces leave, please visit our Absences Page.

Possibly. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure transfer payments are paid.  Given the volatility of the markets at the moment, NILGOSC may seek approval from yourself and your IFA that a transfer at this time is still your intention.

No. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure that the retirement application process isn’t affected. NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

No, the LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme which means your pension is based on your salary and how long you've paid in. Your pension is not linked to stock market performance, so both your contributions and your pension, whether in payment or not, will be unaffected.
The only exception to this is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). If you have an AVC, it is possible the value may have reduced - this will depend on the funds you have chosen to invest in. You should contact your AVC provider for more information about this.

Yes. NILGOSC has robust processes in place to ensure that your pension will still get paid every month, when due. We have also implemented additional measures to ensure that normal service is not affected at this time.

COVID-19 Employer FAQs

No. Pensions are not linked to stock market performance – they are based on salary and how long a member has paid in. Pensions in payment will not be affected.
The only exception is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). It is possible that the value of AVCs may have reduced. Members may wish to check the value of their Prudential AVC on the Prudential website.

Following the 2019 triennial valuation of the Scheme, the actuary set the employer contribution rates for the three years from 1 April 2020. Due to uncertainty regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the funding of the Scheme at that time the actuary and the Committee reserved the right to review and increase the employer contributions for the years 2021/22 and 2022/23. Circular 08/2020 issued on 7 October 2020 advised employers that the contribution rates set by the actuary and stated in the Rates and Adjustments Certificate will apply for 2021/22 and 2022/23.  There will be no change from the rates certified.  

Any employer in such a position should contact NILGOSC. If it appears likely that an employer may not be able to meet its obligations to the Scheme NILGOSC may seek Departmental approval to require the active members to cease future accrual. Once there are no active members, the employer will become an exiting employer, an exit valuation normally takes place and an exit payment is likely to be due. In some circumstances it may be possible to defer the exit valuation although employer contributions continue to be payable or to agree payment of the exit amount over a defined period.

No. NILGOSC’s Funding Strategy Statement (section 5.3.1) requires immediate payment of strain costs resulting from early retirements, augmentation of membership, additional pension and any other one-off strain costs.

NILGOSC may charge interest on the late payment at the rate of base rate plus one percent from the due date to the payment date with three monthly rests. If NILGOSC has reasonable cause to believe that the failure is likely to be of material significance to the Pension Regulator (tPR) then it must give a written report to tPR as soon as reasonably practicable.

No. In the Employer Guide (section 13.2) NILGOSC asks employers to pay over employer and employee contributions by the first working day of the month following the month to which the contributions relate. If a payment is received more than 10 days late then interest may be charged. By law employee contributions must be paid over by either the 22nd (where they are paid electronically) or the 19th of the month following the last day of the month in which the contributions were deducted. If an employer fails to pay over the contributions in time and NILGOSC has reasonable cause to believe that the failure is likely to be of material significance to the Pension Regulator then it is required to give notice to both the Regulator and the member.

No. Members can only make contributions to the Scheme in respect of their earnings from a Scheme employer.

No. The Scheme is contributory. A member, in normal circumstances, must either pay contributions at their rate of pensionable pay while in the main section or they can elect to be in the 50/50 section and pay half the contributions and their pension will then build up at half the rate. Some members may find the 50/50 section helpful in cases of financial hardship rather than opting out. If a member wishes to stop paying into the Scheme they would have to opt out. They can obtain an opt-out form from the NILGOSC website.

No. Once the actuary certifies the contributions for a year then they must be paid over in that year. NILGOSC provided all employers with the 2019 Valuation Report on 31 March 2020. This report included the actuary’s Rates and Adjustments Certificate that states the minimum contributions that are payable each Scheme year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2023. NILGOSC expects all employers to remit their monthly contributions as set out in the Employer Guide (Section 13.2), Pensions Administration Strategy (page 5) and Funding Strategy Statement (section 5.2.2). Any employers with financial difficulties should contact NILGOSC directly.

Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP) is used in the calculation of the death grant and any survivor benefits if a member dies in service.  APP is usually calculated using the average pensionable pay the member receives in the three months before the pay period in which they die.  If a member receiving reduced furlough pay dies in service, employers should use the provision that allows them to substitute a notional pay figure to reflect the pensionable pay the member would normally have received.

Yes. If furlough pay forms all or part of a member’s pensionable pay it should be used to determine the employee contribution rate on 1 April 2020. It is also possible for an employer to reallocate a member to a different band during the year. If they do so, they must inform the member. Employers may wish to check their policy on allocation to contribution bands. See section 2.2 of the Employers’ Guide for more information on contribution banding.

Members will build up CARE pension based on the actual pay received. If the furlough pay is 80% of what the member would normally receive then the pension they will build up will be 80% of what they would normally have built up. The member can choose to buy additional pension to make up for the pension that was ‘lost’. The employer may split the cost of this additional pension purchase with the member but is not obliged to do so. The employer could also choose to award additional pension to the member, based on the pension ‘lost’ due to the pay reduction. Employers may wish to check their policy statements regarding this discretion.
Any pension benefits that a member may have that are final salary benefits (relating to membership before 1 April 2015) are usually calculated on the final year’s pay or the best one of the last three years if an earlier pay is higher. This should prevent the final salary element of a member’s pay being affected by being on furlough.
It is also sometimes possible that where a member’s final salary pay in a continuous period of employment is reduced or restricted the average of any three consecutive years’ pay in the last 10 years may be used if that is higher.

Furlough pay arises under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is where an employer may keep an employee on the payroll even though they are unable to operate or have no work for the employee to do because of COVID-19. The employer can pay 80% of the employee’s wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500 and recover these wage costs from HMRC. Employers may top this up above 80%. This is known as being on ‘furlough’. Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employers were originally able to recover minimum employer pension contributions of 3%. As the employers’ contributions to the LGPS(NI) are generally much higher than this, employers will be unable to recover the shortfall and will have to fund the difference themselves. 

On 29 May 2020, the Government announced that, from August 2020, employers will no longer be able to reclaim any pension contributions. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to close on 31 October 2020.  It was then further extended to December 2020, then to 31 March 2021, then to 30 April 2021 and later extended to 30 September 2021.  From 1 July 2021 the level of grant will reduce and employers will have to contribute more towards the cost of their furloughed employees’ wages.  Furlough pay is pensionable under the regulations. Employee and employer contributions should be deducted based on the actual pay the furloughed employee receives. Assumed pensionable pay does not apply in these circumstances.

Section 5.6 of the Employers’ Guide sets out the administration process for those on Reserve Forces Service leave. There are no changes to this procedure.

Emergency Volunteer Leave (EVL) relates to a new volunteering scheme that allows employees to take unpaid statutory emergency voluntary leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities. If a member takes EVL then their Scheme pension benefits continue to build up as though they were working normally. The member pays contributions on the actual pay, if any, that they receive from their employer and the employer pays contributions to the Scheme based on the Assumed Pensionable Pay (APP). Effectively EVL is treated the same as Ordinary Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Leave. Employers may wish to refer to section 5.2 of the Employers’ Guide regarding Relevant child-related absences.

If a member is made redundant and aged 55 or over their pension is payable immediately and unreduced because of early payment. The cost of paying this pension early is charged to the employer as a strain cost and immediate payment is due.
If the member is made redundant and under age 55, their pension benefits are deferred and payable from their normal retirement age. There is no strain cost to the employer as the pension is not payable. Members can choose to have their pension brought into payment earlier (from they reach age 55) or later than their normal retirement age. The pensions will either be reduced in the case of early payment or increased for late payment in accordance with Government Actuary Department guidance.

Up until 17 April 2022, if an employer authorises unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, employee and employer pension contributions are paid to cover the period of absence. The member’s pension will be unaffected.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only. After this the member will not build up any pension for the period unless they choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of lost pension. If a member chooses to pay APCs and they make their election within 30 days of returning to work, the cost is split between the member and employer.

From 18 April 2022, the rules were amended to say that contributions are only payable for the first 30 consecutive days of absence. Where the absence continues beyond 30 days then no contributions are payable (even for the first 30 days) other than the member wishes to cover the period on their return to work.

More information on unpaid leave is in section 5.3 of the Employer Guide.

Deferred and pensioner Scheme members who return to work in Local Government or are offered contracts of employment with the NHS as emergency staff will have access to the appropriate pension scheme e.g. LGPS (NI) Scheme for Local Government and the NHS Scheme for the NHS. If they are issued with an NHS Voluntary Agreement, it does not constitute an employment contract and they will not have access to the NHS pension scheme.

If any Scheme member is seconded to the NHS as emergency staff, then their pension benefits continue on the same basis as before the secondment on the assumption that pension contributions continue to be paid by the employer and employee.

Yes. There is nothing to prevent a pensioner or deferred member being re-employed. They should be automatically re-entered into the Scheme from the first day of employment, unless the contract is for less than three months. NILGOSC should be notified of the ‘new’ member in the normal way.

Where the contract is for less than three months, the employee is also enrolled:

  • when the contract is extended beyond three months or, if earlier,
  • if they ask to join the scheme
  • or if they hit their automatic enrolment or automatic re-enrolment date (and are an eligible jobholder under the AE legislation).

For the majority of pensioners there is no change to their existing pension payment because of the new pensionable earnings. However, a few retired Scheme members who are in receipt of additional compensatory pensions may have to have the compensatory pension reduced – they must advise NILGOSC immediately should they become re-employed.

No. Upon receipt of the relevant paperwork NILGOSC will arrange a face to face assessment for your employee with the Committee doctor.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they may be required to complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire.  Should NILGOSC determine that ill-health benefits can be paid, claim forms will be issued promptly.  NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

Yes. NILGOSC has a statutory duty to issue annual pension benefit statements and pension savings statements. We cannot do either of these without the information that you provide on annual returns. The deadline for submitting annual returns for the 2022/23 year was 29 April 2022.

We acknowledge that the next period is likely to be particularly challenging and disrupting and employers may need to prioritise their Scheme administration tasks. NILGOSC strongly recommends that employers prioritise:

  • providing NILGOSC with information on new retirees to allow us to process and pay new pensions
  • provide information on deaths so that death grants and survivor benefits can be paid as promptly as possible
  • continue to pay over employer and employee contributions promptly
  • continue to advise NILGOSC of any new members
  • complete and submit annual returns.

In addition, the Pension Regulator (tPR) has provided coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employers and pension administrators. The guidance will be updated over the coming weeks so you may wish to regularly check the link. tPR has said that it recognises that some administrative breaches of the law may occur and they will maintain a proportionate and fair approach to any action they make take.

Deferred members

If you left the Scheme before 6 April 2006, you are unable to defer drawing your deferred benefits. We will pay your pension when you reach your Normal Pension Age (NPA).

If you left the Scheme after 5 April 2006, you have the option to delay payment of your deferred benefits after your NPA. If you draw your pension after your NPA, it will be increased for each day your pension is delayed beyond your NPA to reflect the fact that it will be paid for a shorter time. Your pension has to be paid by your 75th birthday. 

If you are permanently ill before you start receiving your deferred benefits, you can apply for early payment of your deferred benefits at any time before your Normal Pension Age (NPA), without reduction.

If you left the Scheme:

  • Before 1 June 2005 and had at least one year's Scheme membership, your benefits will be payable subject to NILGOSC's Independent Registered Medical Practitioner's (IRMP) certification that the illness is permanent and you are permanently incapable of the job you were working in when you left the Scheme.
  • Between 1 June 2005 and 31 March 2009 and had at least three month's Scheme membership, your benefits will be payable subject to the IRMP's certification that the illness is permanent and you are permanently incapable of the job you were working in when you left the Scheme.
  • After 31 March 2009 and had at least one year's Scheme membership, your benefits will be payable subject to the IRMP's certification that the illness is permanent and you are permanently incapable of the job you were working in when you left the Scheme. You must also have a reduced likelihood of being capable of undertaking any gainful employment before reaching normal pension age.
  • After 31 March 2015 and had at least two years' Scheme membership, your benefits will be payable subject to the IRMP's certification that the illness is permanent and you are permanently incapable of the job you were working in when you left the Scheme. You must also have a reduced likelihood of being capable of undertaking any gainful employment before reaching normal pension age.

Gainful employment is paid employment for at least thirty hours per week for a minimum period of twelve months.

If you wish to apply for ill-health retirement, you can apply to NILGOSC in writing, accompanied by a current medical certificate stating the permanency of the illness and by completing an 'Ill-Health Medical Examination Request Form for a Deferred Member' (*PDF, 305KB) available on our website. Please also provide as much medical evidence as possible to support your application.

You can elect to retire and receive your deferred benefits from age 55 onwards.

If you retire between age 55 and your normal pension age your benefits may be reduced to take account of their early payment and the fact that your pension will be payable for longer. 

The reduction is calculated in accordance with guidance issued by the Government Actuary’s Department.  The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) between the date your benefits are paid and your Normal Pension Age.  If you joined the Scheme before 1 October 2006 you may have some protections from reductions under the Rule of 85

As a guide, the percentage reductions, for retirements up to 13 years early are shown in the table below. Where the number of years is not exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted accordingly. 

Number of Years Paid EarlyPension ReductionLump Sum Reduction
00%0%
1      5%            2%
210%5%
315%7%
419%9% 
523%11% 
626%13% 
730%15% 
833%17% 
936%19% 
1038%21% 
1142%21% *
1245%21% *
1347%21% *

 *As automatic retirement grants were removed from the Scheme on 1 April 2009 and due to the protections in place regarding NPA, a Retirement Grant is paid from age 65 without reductions i.e. the early retirement reductions cannot exceed those that apply for 10 years early.

If you are aged 55 or over and wish to claim your deferred benefits, you should contact NILGOSC for a quotation.

Each year we will upload a pension benefit statement and a copy of the Deferred Members’ News to your account on My NILGOSC Pension Online. The Deferred Members’ News describes items that we hope will be of interest and contains a brief summary of the accounts.

Your pension benefit statement will show the current value of your deferred pension benefits.  If you do not receive a pension benefit statement it may be because we do not have details of your current address.  If you think this is the case, please complete and return form LGS24 – Change in Circumstances (*PDF 235KB).

Deferred benefits are awarded to members if they leave the Scheme after having more than two years' membership or have transferred other pension rights into the Scheme.  You can only get a refund if you have less than two years' membership in the Scheme.

If you become ill before the date on which your deferred benefits are payable, immediate payment may be made if it is established after a medical examination by NILGOSC's Occupational Health Consultant, that the illness is permanent and would have resulted in your retirement on medical grounds had you still been in the employment to which your deferred benefits apply.

Application should be made to NILGOSC in writing, accompanied by a current medical certificate stating the permanency of the illness. 

Please use the the LGS22B Ill-Health Medical Examination Request Form for a Deferred Member (*PDF, 526KB).

You can elect to retire and receive your deferred benefits from age 55 onwards.  If you retire between age 55 and your normal pension age your benefits may be reduced to take account of their early payment and the fact that your pension will be payable for longer.  If you joined the Scheme before 1 October 2006 you may have some protections under the Rule of 85.  

If you leave the Scheme at least one year before your normal pension age, or the earliest age at which you are entitled to receive unreduced benefits, and you are entitled to deferred benefits you may transfer the cash equivalent value of your pension benefits into a new employer’s scheme (if they are willing and able to accept it), a personal or stakeholder pension scheme, or a ‘buy-out’ insurance policy. The method of valuing the cash equivalent of your pension rights complies with the requirements of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 and any value quoted is guaranteed for three months.

If you had previous employment with one of our contributing employers you may have deferred benefits in the LGPS (NI).  Please complete a past-service enquiry form and return it to us so we can check our records.  If you previously worked in the Health Service, Civil Service or as a teacher, please contact Waterside House on 028 71 319 111.  If you still cannot locate your pension the Pension Tracing Service may be able to assist you on 0800 731 0193.

You cannot assign your pension benefits to someone else nor use them as security for a loan.

If you get divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved your ex-partner is no longer entitled to survivor's benefits.

If your Scheme benefits are subject to a Pension Sharing Order or Earmarking Order your benefits will be reduced in accordance with the Court Order or Agreement.

If you remarry, enter into a new civil partnership or have an eligible cohabiting partner who will receive a survivior’s pension, any pension payable following your death will be reduced to take account of the pension share.  Benefits payable to eligible children will not be reduced because of a pension share.

While you are separated, your spouse or civil partner continue to be entitled to survivor's benefits.  You may wish to update your Expression of Wish form so that NILGOSC is aware of your wishes for payment of any death grant.

Please ensure that you keep us updated of your changes in address.

If you remain abroad until retirement we can make arrangements to pay your pension into a foreign bank account using a global transaction service. Payments made to a foreign bank account could take up to seven working days longer than domestic payments.

Deferred Pension Benefit Statement

Pensions for eligible cohabiting partners were introduced from 1 April 2009 and only apply to deferred members who were active members in the Scheme from this date. If you wish for your cohabiting partner to receive a pension if you die your relationship has to meet certain conditions laid down in the Scheme’s regulations.

If you die before receiving your benefits, dependants’ pensions may be payable along with a Lump Sum Death Grant.  The value of the death grant depends on when you left the Scheme.  

  • If you left from 1 April 2009 the death grant is five times the current value of your annual deferred pension
  • If you left before 1 April 2009 the death grant is three times the current value of your annual deferred pension

From 1 April 2015 if you are also an active member of the Scheme the death grant payable will be the higher of that from your deferred membership or your active membership.  Both death grants will not be paid.

You can advise us who you would like to receive any death grant using your My NILGOSC Pension Online account.  You can also complete a Death Grant Expression of Wish Form LGS20 (PDF, 526KB) and return it to us.

If you re-join the Scheme you will begin to build up new pension benefits in addition to your deferred benefits.  We will give you the option to join these two sets of benefits together within twelve months of re-joining the Scheme.  For more information click here.

You can only contribute to the Scheme if you are employed by a Local Government employer.  A list of the employers who participate in our Scheme can be found here.

You may be able to transfer the value of your pension to another occupational pension scheme, personal pension or stakeholder pension scheme.

If you are thinking of transferring your benefits, particularly to a personal pension or money purchase arrangement, you should take independent financial advice and beware of unauthorised companies.  More information can be found on the following websites:

MoneyHelper - Transferring your pension

The Pensions Regulator - avoid pension scams

If you have deferred benefits with the Scheme you will not be able to have a refund of the contributions you paid.

You may be able to transfer the value of your pension to another occupational pension scheme, personal pension, stakeholder pension scheme, or you can leave your benefits in the Scheme until you reach your normal retirement age.

If you are thinking of transferring your benefits, particularly to a personal pension or money purchase arrangement, you should take independent financial advice and beware of unauthorised companies.  More information can be found on the following websites:

MoneyHelper - Transferring your pension

The Pensions Regulator - Who to Contact?

Yes.  It is your responsibility to advise NILGOSC that you would like to claim your deferred benefits at least two months before the date which they become payable.

There are limits to how much pension you are allowed to give up for a bigger lump sum.  If you have registered for My NILGOSC Pension Online you can use the benefit projector to show the variations of lump sum that you can take.

No.  You must take your pension and lump sum at the same time.  

You can elect to retire and receive your deferred benefits from age 55 onwards. If you retire between age 55 and your NPA your benefits may be reduced to take account of their early payment and the fact that your pension will be payable for longer.

If you become ill before your deferred benefits are due to be paid, you may be able to access them immediately.  NILGOSC must be satisfied that your illness is permanent and would have resulted in your retirement on medical grounds if you still worked in the job which related to your deferred benefits. You may also have to have a reduced likelihood of being capable of undertaking another job before your normal retirement age.

Your benefits will be paid to you without any early retirement reductions on the date shown in the box entitled ‘The above benefits are payable from’ on your statement.  

You can choose to claim your benefits early; however they may be reduced as they will be paid for longer.  You can find more information here.

In April 2016 the government simplified the state pension by replacing the existing basic State Pension and additional State Pension with the new single-tier State Pension.

As a result the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is no longer able to supply us with details of your state pension. You can receive an estimate of your new State Pension by contacting the Future Pension Centre on 0800 731 0175 for a statement or get one online at: www.gov.uk/check-state-pension.

The deferred benefits you have in the Scheme are reviewed annually and increased to keep up with the cost of living.

Pension increases are based on the increase in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the year to the previous September. The CPI change to September 2021 was 3.1%.

If any of your personal details have changed or are shown incorrectly you can update them via your My NILGOSC Pension Online account. If you have chosen not to sign up to this service you can complete a Change of Circumstances Form or telephone us on 0345 3197 325. 

Deferred annual benefit statements for 2022 have now been issued.  Active annual benefit statements will be issued before 31 August 2022.  If you have not received your active benefit statement by the middle of September please contact us.

Once you become a deferred member it is not possible to combine your pension records together to produce one annual benefit statement, as we are required to produce a statement for each record you have with NILGOSC.  However, if you re-join the Scheme you may have the option to combine your deferred benefits with your new active pension record within the first twelve months.

Freedom of choice

You can pay for additional pension either by regular contributions or by lump sum.  The cost depends on:

  • your age at the date the lump sum is paid or the contributions start
  • the period you wish to pay over
  • your normal pension age

You can calculate the cost of buying additional pension using the APC calculator.  This calculator allows you to consider the cost over various payment periods.  

If you decide to pay by regular contributions the contract must be for at least one full year or a full number of years.  Contracts may be subject to a minimum monthly contribution rate set by NILGOSC.

You cannot start to buy additional pension with regular contributions if you are within one year of your normal pension age.  However, you could still pay by lump sum.

Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)

If your employer chooses to contribute towards the cost when you are buying additional pension to increase your benefits, this is known as a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC) contract.  This is an employer discretion and you can ask your employer about its policy on Shared Cost APCs.

General

The NILGOSC tax reference is 916/G82576. 

Joining

The Pension Tracing Service can help.  It holds details of almost 200,000 UK pension schemes and provides a tracing service free of charge.

You can contact them at:

The Pension Tracing Service
The Pension Service 9
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LU

Telephone:  0800 731 0193
Website:  www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

McCloud Court Case

You do not need to take any action. Members who qualify for protection do not need to make a claim for the changes to apply to them.

We will know more about when the changes are likely to take effect when the Department of Finance and the Department for Communities publish their responses to the consultations on removing the discrimination. We do not expect any changes to be introduced before April 2022.

Most members are unlikely to see an increase to their pension, and where an increase is applied, it is likely to be small. This is because most members will build up a higher pension in the career average pension scheme than they would have under the final salary scheme.

In the Department for Communities consultation it is proposed that revised protections are extended to cover all members who were in active scheme membership on or before 31 March 2012 and have membership in the CARE schemes (without a 5 year break) after 31 March 2015.  

If you left the scheme before 1 April 2015 you built up benefits in the final salary scheme only. These changes will not affect your pension.

If you joined the scheme after 31 March 2015 you will have built up benefits in the CARE scheme only.  These changes will not affect your pension.

When the LGPS (NI) changed from a final salary to a career average pension scheme in 2015, members who were within 10 years of their Normal Pension Age (usually age 65) on 1 April 2012 were provided with a protection called the 'underpin'. When a protected member takes their pension, the benefits payable under the career average (CARE) and final salary schemes are compared and the higher amount is paid.

The Department for Communities will need to provide younger members with a protection equal to the underpin protection provided to older members to remove the discrimination. The outcome of the recent consultation is awaited.

My NILGOSC Pension Online FAQs

Only you can access your data through My NILGOSC Pension Online. It is therefore very important that you keep your login details safe and secure. If you think someone has obtained your login details, please change your password immediately and notify us on 0345 3197 325. For more information please refer to our Privacy Notice.

You can request further information and send queries by asking a question in the contact us section.

Alternatively you contact us by;

Post: Templeton House, 411 Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 2LP
Tel: 0345 3197 325
E-mail:  info@nilgosc.org.uk

Information from monthly payslips and P60 End of Year details can be printed off by selecting the applicable pay period and clicking the Print button on the page.

Scheme Pays are included in the voluntary retirement calculator, however they are not automatically included in the other calculators at this time.

No. If a pension sharing order debit has been applied to your record, this adjustment will not be reflected on the benefits shown on My NILGOSC Pension Online benefit calculators. Consequently the estimated benefits may be overstated. If this is applicable, please request an estimate from us by submitting a benefit request from the contact us section of My NILGOSC Pension Online or contacting the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

No. We do not hold current fund values for any AVCs. If you wish to have a benefit projection with your AVC value included please request an estimate from us by submitting a benefit request from the contact us section of My NILGOSC Pension Online or by contacting the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

Between April and June each year NILGOSC is notified of your annual pensionable pay figure for the previous year (1 April – 31 March).

Therefore, if you recently joined the Scheme, your pensionable pay will be zero until your employer submits your annual pay figures.

If you wish to use your current salary when using the Benefit Calculators, replace the pre-populated pay value in the pay data fields and input your amended salary figure. If you are contemplating retiring within the next twelve months, please request an estimate from us by submitting a benefit request from the contact us section of my NILGOSC Pension Online or contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

Between April and June each year NILGOSC is notified of your annual pensionable pay for the previous financial year (1 April – 31 March).

Therefore, if you recently joined the Scheme, your pensionable pay will be zero until your employer submits its annual pay figures.

If you wish to use your current salary when using the Benefit Projectors, replace the pre-populated pay value in the pay data fields and input your amended salary figure.  If you are contemplating retiring within the next twelve months, please request an estimate from us by submitting a benefit request from the contact us section of My NILGOSC Pension Online or contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

The Membership Details page displays current and any previous employment information. In this section when referring to employments this includes any changes to your contract which has occurred during your membership.

A change in contract may refer to a change in your hours, whole-time equivalent hours, contracted weeks and any other contractual changes.

Any membership built up from pension benefits transferred into the Scheme and from periods of concurrent membership that have been added to this record from a previous LGPS(NI) pension record which have now ceased are also displayed. We will have previously notified you of such amendments.

The membership (years/days) shown on this page is displayed as the whole-time equivalent service accrued during the period of employment. Therefore for a period of part-time employment your membership is reduced to its whole-time equivalent length. For example, if you work half-time for ten years, your benefits would be calculated on five years membership, but the pay used would be scaled up to a whole-time equivalent.

Note: From 01 April 2015, we no longer require employers to update us on changes to your employment contract as from this point we entered the Career Average (CARE) Scheme. Therefore, current details may not reflect any changes after this date.

If you still have concerns regarding your membership, please submit a query from the contact us section of My NILGOSC Pension Online or contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

There have been multiple changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme (NI) which may directly affect the benefits you have accrued in the Scheme. The following table outlines some key changes which occurred when the Scheme changed on 1st April 2009 and again on 1st April 2015.

Pre 31st March 2009 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2015 Post 1st April 2015
Type of SchemeFinal SalaryFinal SalaryCareer Average Revalued Earnings
PensionService X FRE* Pensionable Pay X 1/80thService X FTE* Pensionable Pay X 1/60thActual Pensionable Pay X 1/49th + Inflation per annum
Lump Sum3 X Annual PensionNo Automatic Lump Sum (Option to convert pension to Lump Sum)No Automatic Lump Sum (Option to convert pension to Lump Sum)
Normal Pension Age6565The higher of 65 or New State Pension Age

FTE* – Full-time equivalent pensionable pay, for the 12 months prior to date of leaving. Whether you were a member of the Scheme during one, two or all three tranches, the benefits that you accrued during that specific period will be fully protected and will remain as they were during that tranche.

For more Information for how your benefits are calculated please visit the How are my benefits calculated? section of our website.

This is the age at which you are able to draw your pension benefits without any reductions or enhancements.

Prior to the introduction of the CARE Scheme on 01/04/2015, the Local Government Pension Scheme (NI) had a Normal Retirement Age of 65 years, however since this transition, the normal pension age is now in line with your New State Pension Age (with a minimum of 65 years old). If you left the Scheme before 01/04/2015 you will have a Normal Retirement Age of 65.

You can find out your State Pension Age by visiting the .gov.uk website.

Early Retirement

If you voluntarily retire before your Normal Pension Age, your benefits will normally be reduced as your pension will be paid for longer.

The reduction is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you retire early i.e. the period between the date your benefits are paid and your Normal Pension Age, meaning that the earlier you retire, the greater the reduction.

As a guide, the current percentage reductions for retirements up to 13 years early are shown on our Early Retirement webpage. Where the number of years is not exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted accordingly.

My NILGOSC Pension Online displays the information that is currently held on your pension record(s). Some amendments may take up to 10 working days from the day we receive notification of a change.

If it has been beyond this timeframe, please submit a query through the contact us section of My NILGOSC Pension Online, or contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

You can amend contact and bank details through: Your Details > Contact Details > Edit. Please DO NOT use punctuation marks in your address as this can cause problems when we run certain programs.  Other personal details that are not available to edit on this page can be amended by completing and returning an LGS24 - Change in Circumstances form.

For any other amendments please contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325

No. My NILGOSC Pension Online allows you to access all of your LGPS(NI) pension records. Once you have successfully registered and logged into my NILGOSC Pension Online, a notification will appear on the top right hand section of your screen if you have other employments. These can be accessed by clicking on the green arrow button and selecting the applicable employment from the drop down menu.

For security reasons your session will time out if left unattended for more than 5 minutes. If this occurs, you must log in again to continue viewing your account. To sign out correctly, please go to the Your Account tab (located at the top right corner of your screen), choose the logout option then wait for the message; “you have successfully logged off,” before closing your browser.

Once logged on to your My NILGOSC Pension Online account you can change your email address through: Your Details > Contact Details > Edit.

If you have entered an invalid password or security response on three consecutive occasions, your account will be disabled. In order to re-enable your account for use, you must return to the Login page and select the ‘Forgotten your password?’ link. You will then be prompted to input your Username, Surname, NI Number and Date of Birth. Once your information has been validated, you will be displayed with both a Password hint and the option to reset your password. You must select reset your password, a secure password rest link will then be sent to the email address we hold for you on record.

If you forget your security response, you can use the ‘Forgotten your response?’  link on the Login Page. You will then be prompted to input your Username, Surname, NI Number and Date of Birth. Once your information has been validated, an email will be sent to the email address we hold for you on record. The email will contain a secure link for you to reset your security questions and responses.

If you forget your password, you can use the ‘Forgotten your password?’  link on the Login Page. You will then be prompted to input your Username, Surname, NI Number and Date of Birth. Once your information has been validated, you will be shown both a Password hint, which gives you an option to return to the login page if the hint has helped you to remember your password, or the option to reset your password. If you select to reset your password a secure password rest link will then be sent to the email address we hold for you on record.

If you forget your username, you can use the ‘Forgotten your username?’  link on the Login Page. You will then be prompted to input your Surname, NI Number and Date of Birth. Once your information has been validated, an email will be sent to the email address recorded on our database. This email will display your username, no personal information will be included.

If you have lost your activation key you can complete the Sign Up form again to issue you with a new activation key letter, or alternatively contact a NILGOSC administrator on 0345 3197 325 to have this issued. Please note once a new activation key has been generated any previous activation keys issued to you will no longer work.

If you have previously completed the sign up section and received a success notification that your email address is not currently held on our system and that an activation code will be issued to your postal address by letter, this should have been issued within 3-5 working days of your request. If after 5 working days you have not received this letter please contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

If you have received an Activation Key from us, complete the register with activation key section.  You will be asked to provide your Surname, National Insurance number, Date of Birth and your Activation Key. For further guidance please refer to our registration guide located on the homepage of the My NILGOSC Pension Online site.

Registration links are only valid for 24 hours before they expire. Therefore the link will no longer be valid and you will need to complete the register without activation key section, Sign Up form again to issue you with a new registration link. Registration links become redundant once a new sign up form has been submitted. Therefore if you submit the form more than once, any new registration link emailed makes a previous link redundant.

If you have previously completed the sign up section and received a success notification, a registration link will be issued to you automatically via email. Please check your Junk/Spam folder to ensure the email has not been directed there. If after 30 minutes you have still not received an email please contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

This message will appear on your screen if the information you have provided for Sign Up cannot be validated with our internal records. Please check the information you have provided. Boxes will turn green if information has been entered in the correct format. It does not indicate that the information is correct or matches what is on our records. If the box is red you need to ensure you have entered the details in the correct format.  E.g. 9 digit NI Number, DOB as DD/MM/YYYY. If the information is being entered correctly and you are still unable to progress, this would suggest that either your Surname, NI Number or DOB is held incorrectly on our records, therefore please contact the NILGOSC administration team on 0345 3197 325.

To start the registration process, if you have not received an Activation Key from us, complete the register without activation key section.  You will be asked to provide your Surname, National Insurance number, Date of Birth and a valid email address. If you have received an Activation Key from us, complete the register with activation key section.  You will be asked to provide your Surname, National Insurance number, Date of Birth and your Activation Key.

My NILGOSC Pension Online is only available to Active, Deferred, Pensioner and Dependant members of the LGPS (NI).  Previous members, who have transferred out or received a refund of contributions from the scheme, will not be able to register.

Pensioners

Basic State Pension does not fall under the Pensions Increase rules. The Government's 'triple lock' commitment increases State Pensions by the greater of either prices, earnings or 2.5%.
State Pensions are not paid by NILGOSC. They are paid by the Social Security Agency who can be contacted at 0845 601 8821 if you have any queries, or you may visit www.nidirect.gov.uk for more information.

At present when your GMP comes into force, the National Insurance Contributions Office (NICO) tells NILGOSC the amount of your GMP. If you reached State Pension Age (SPA) before 6 April 2016 NILGOSC then adjusts its records to reflect the fact that the Government now pays some of the annual pensions increase on the GMP element of your Scheme pension along with your State Pension. Depending on whether you have pre-April 1988 GMP, post-April1988 GMP or a mixture of both types of GMPs, the increases must be paid by either NILGOSC or the Government or a split between both NILGOSC and the Government. However, the overall increase in your total pension i.e. Scheme pension plus State Pension should be the annual pensions increase amount.

If you reached SPA after 6 April 2016 then NILGOSC will pay the full normal pensions increase on your pension even if you have a GMP component.

Every year NILGOSC will calculate the increase relating to your pension, however, we may have to do so before NICO has notified us of your GMP details. If this happens we may have to increase or reduce later pension payments to adjust for any overpayment or underpayment. We shall of course notify you in advance before doing so.

The LGPS (NI) (the Scheme) is contracted out of the State Second Pension Scheme, previously known as the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). As a condition of contracting out for service before 1997, the Scheme had to guarantee that the pension benefits payable would be no less than a GMP. If you, or your deceased spouse, participated in the Scheme between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997 you will have earned a GMP. This GMP is not a separate benefit paid in addition to your Scheme pension but the pension we pay you must equal or exceed your GMP. HM Revenue and Customs work out the level of your GMP. Your GMP comes into force normally when you ask for your State Pension to be paid to you. (There are circumstances when the GMP comes into force at a later date but the effect on your Scheme pension is the same).

Should you wish to discuss any item relating to your pension increase please contact the Payroll Team on our Direct Line 0345 3197 326 or email us at payroll@nilgosc.org.uk. Please remember that our busiest times are on pay days and the days that follow when we deal with very high volumes of calls. You may find it easier to speak to us later on in the week when the number of incoming calls decreases.

Before April 2011, Pensions Increase was based on the increase in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) during the twelve months to the September of the previous year. However the Budget Statement of 22 June 2010 announced that from April 2011, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) replaced RPI as the measure of inflation used to apply cost of living increases. The CPI has been used from April 2011.

The table below details recent Pensions Increase rates.

YearPension Increase
20223.1%
20210.5%
20201.7%
20192.4%
20183%
20171%
20160%
20151.2%
20142.7%
20132.2%
20125.2%
20113.1%
20100%
20095% 
20083.9%

If you only went on to pension during the previous tax year then you are entitled to a proportionate percentage increase depending on the number of months it has been in payment.

A pensioner may request that their annual pension benefit is compounded and paid as a one off lump sum payment.  There are two tests to determine if a compounded lump sum can be paid.

Test one for trivial commutation

  • A pension can only be commuted from age 55 or earlier if the ill-health condition is met.  The ill-health condition is that NILGOSC has received evidence from a registered medical practitioner that the member is and will continue to be incapable of carrying out their job because of physical or mental impairment and they have ceased to carry out their job. A male pensioner with a GMP will not be eligible to commute until 65.  A female with a GMP will not be eligible to commute until 60. Dependant’s pensions have no age restriction.
  • The pensioner must have available lifetime allowance and the total value of all the pension rights held in all pension arrangements including the LGPS (NI) must not exceed £30,000.
  • A dependant’s pension can only be commuted if the total value of each dependant’s pension must not exceed £30,000. All NILGOSC pensions must be commuted (not including pensions in their own right in payment).
  • All commuted payments made, from any scheme, must be made within a 12 month period.
  • The payment of commuted benefits extinguishes the rights to all benefits in the scheme, including contingent death benefits.

Test two for trivial commutation – ‘De minimis rule for pension schemes’

  • A pension can only be commuted from age 55 or earlier if the ill-health condition is met.  The ill-health condition is that NILGOSC has received evidence from a registered medical practitioner that the member is and will continue to be incapable of carrying out their job because of physical or mental impairment and they have ceased to carry out their job. A male pensioner with a GMP will not be eligible to commute until 65.  A female with a GMP will not be eligible to commute until 60. Dependant’s pensions have no age restriction.
  • The member is not a controlling director of a sponsoring employer of the scheme or of any related scheme, and is not a person connected to such a person.
  • The payment does not exceed £10,000
  • The payment does not exceed £10,000, for all NILGOSC benefits that are post 09 leavers (not including dependant's pensions in payment). If you have a mix of pre and post 09 leaver pensions, small pot does not apply.
  • The payment extinguishes the member’s entitlement to benefits under this scheme.
  • No recognised transfer was made out of this or any related scheme in respect of this member during the 3 years preceding the date of the payment.

You cannot assign your pension benefits to someone else nor use them as security for a loan.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) informs NILGOSC of the tax codes which must be applied to pensioners' records.  

If you have any tax related queries, including queries on your tax code, you should contact the tax office directly on 0300 200 3300 (0044 135 535 9022 if overseas). 

We know that tax rules can sometimes be unclear, particularly for members who have just started to receive their pension.

The HMRC website has a section on National Insurance and Tax after State Pension Age which gives help on what happens once at State Pension Age and the tax allowances you may be entitled to.

If you become legally separated your widow, widower or civil partner will continue to be entitled to receive a survivor’s pension should you die before them.

If you become divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved your ex-wife, ex-husband or ex-civil partner will cease to be entitled to a survivor’s pension should you die before them.  Any children’s pension paid to an eligible child in the event of your death will not be affected by your divorce or dissolution

If you have nominated your ex-wife, ex-husband or ex-civil partner to receive any lump sum death grant payable on your death, this will remain in place unless you change it.  If your wishes have changed you should complete and return an updated Expression of Wish Form LGS20 (*PDF, 273KB).

If your Scheme benefits are subject to a Pension Sharing Order or Earmarking Order issued by the Court following either divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, your benefits will be reduced in accordance with the Court Order or agreement.  In consequence, if you remarry, enter into a new civil partnership or nominate a cohabiting partner to receive a survivor’s pension, any spouse’s pension, civil partner’s pension or nominated cohabiting partner’s pension payable following your death will be reduced. Any children’s pensions payable to an eligible child will not be reduced because of a pension share.

Your pension will still continue if you move abroad. Pension payments are currently made directly into a bank, building society or credit union account in your name. If you move abroad, similar arrangements can be made to pay your pension into a foreign bank account using a global transaction service. Payments made to a foreign bank account could take up to seven working days longer than domestic payments.

NILGOSC will issue a Life Certificate to all pensioners living abroad on an annual basis. This certificate verifies that you are alive and it must be signed and returned to NILGOSC.

Retirement

If your employer agrees to flexible retirement then you would have to draw:

  • all of the benefits that you built up before 1 April 2009, plus
  • all, some or none of the benefits that you built up between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2015, plus
  • all, some or none of the benefits that you have built up after 1 April 2015.

Transfers

Providing you have not had a break of more than five years between leaving another public service pension scheme and joining the Scheme and the election to transfer is made within 12 months of joining the Scheme, the transfer may be dealt with under Club Transfer rules.

The amount of extra pension which is added to your pension account will be equal to the amount of pension you had built up in your pension account in the previous scheme.  The extra pension is added to your pension account in the year it is received. 

If the transfer from the other public service pension scheme also includes a final salary element (usually in respect of membership up to 31 March 2015) that element will buy final salary scheme membership in the Scheme, providing you have not had a continuous break in active membership of a public service pension scheme of more than five years.  The transfer value will give you broadly equivalent benefits in the Scheme providing you apply for the transfer within 12 months of the joining the Scheme.

Transfers from other public service pension schemes that operate in the Public Sector Transfer Club can result in service credits that are of greater value in the LGPS (NI) than they were in the previous scheme. The increase in the value of benefits is likely to be significant if there is a large increase in your salary when you left your old employer compared to your salary with your new employer. This growth in benefits must be tested against the annual allowance for pension savings purposes. It is your personal responsibility to declare any tax liability arising from this on your self-assessment form.

If you have paid into another pension scheme you may be able to transfer these benefits into the Scheme.  The other pension scheme must be another registered pension scheme or from a European pensions institution.

You have only 12 months from joining the Scheme to elect to transfer your previous pension rights or such longer period as NILGOSC may allow.
If you elect to transfer your pension rights from a non-LGPS arrangement then a sum of money called a transfer value is offered to buy you an amount of extra pension that is added to your pension account.  The extra pension is added to your pension account in the year that the transfer payment is received.

You will need to consider carefully whether to transfer or not as a transfer may not always be in your best interests.  You may wish to seek the help of an independent financial adviser.

NILGOSC does not have to accept a transfer in and can decline it.

A transfer request form, LGS8, and a Public Service Pensions History Form, LGS10, can be found in the Document Library.  These forms should be completed and returned to NILGOSC within one month of receiving your membership letter.  NILGOSC will then contact your previous pension provider for a transfer quotation.  On receipt of this, NILGOSC will provide you with a transfer acceptance form stating the benefits that we will provide you with if the transfer proceeds.  If you wish to transfer you should complete the transfer acceptance form and return it to NILGOSC.  It is important that this form is returned within 12 months of your date of joining the Scheme.  NILGOSC will then request payment from your previous provider.  We will write to you to confirm the benefits the transfer payment has brought. 

Please contact NILGOSC directly if you need more information.

You can transfer AVCs or Free-Standing AVCs into the Scheme to buy extra Scheme pension.  You have only 12 months to opt to transfer your AVC benefits unless NILGOSC allows you longer.

Voluntary redundancy

There may be a cost to your employer depending on a number of factors:

  • Your age at the date of retirement. In the event of redundancy, although you are retiring early, you are entitled to the immediate and unreduced payment of your Scheme benefits. Your employer will be required to pay to the Scheme any cost arising due to your benefits being paid earlier than your normal pension age.
  • Whether or not you hold Rule of 85 protections and meet the Rule of 85 conditions at the date of retirement.
  • Whether or not you are awarded additional pension by your employer.

The method to calculate any costs to your employer, due to redundancy, is complex and therefore your employer should request a quotation from our Pensions Administration Section. Requests for bulk redundancy quotations must come from your employer.

No, but your employer may award additional pension in certain circumstances and you should discuss this with them if you are interested in finding out if this could apply to you.

NILGOSC does not calculate statutory redundancy amounts and your employer will advise you of your entitlement to statutory redundancy. More information on entitlement to redundancy pay is available at the **Directgov website.  A statutory redundancy calculator is available at **http://www.direct.gov.uk/redundancy.dsb.

The contributions you have paid during your working life will determine your level of State Pension. If you retire before the State Pension age you may want to think about making some top-up contributions either to boost the amount of your State Pension or to make sure that you will get bereavement payments for widows and widowers or bereaved civil partners.

NILGOSC does not deal with National Insurance matters and you should direct any queries on this to the National Insurance Enquiries Helpline on 0300 200 3500.

Your pension will be classed as taxable income and you should check with the relevant benefit agencies if this income will affect your entitlements. You should always declare the pension payments you receive when applying for benefits.

There are a number of reasons why your retirement pack has not been issued. NILGOSC may not have received the paperwork from your employer or NILGOSC may require further information from your employer. A member's record is thoroughly checked before final payment of benefits is made and sometimes queries arise which may delay issuing the retirement pack.

It is your employer’s responsibility to provide us with your final pay details and to inform us of changes in your contractual conditions throughout your membership. If we believe that any information we have received is incorrect or if information is missing, we will need to contact your employer to check this, thus ensuring that you receive accurate information on which to base your decisions.

Each year, we issue you with an estimate of your accrued benefits to 31 March of that year, based on the pensionable salary your employer has provided at 31 March and the membership history we hold for you.

If we subsequently discover that any of this information is incorrect, we must correct it on our system. NILGOSC is only permitted to pay the benefits which are due to you.

You will not be able to make regular Additional Pension Contributions to the Scheme to purchase additional pension, as the minimum term permitted is one year.  However, you could make a lump sum payment. 

In addition, you may be able to make Additional Voluntary Contributions through our current AVC provider, Prudential, provided that the contributions are made through your payroll and do not exceed your pay less employer deductions.

Should you wish to explore this option you should visit www.pru.co.uk/localgov.

No. The Local Government Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland) is an occupational scheme administered by NILGOSC on behalf of your employer, so when you cease to be employed by that authority, you are no longer eligible to pay into the Scheme.

Your pension is classed as taxable income and the rate of tax you pay will depend on other income and allowances you have. NILGOSC will tax your pension at basic rate, currently 20 per cent, until we receive official notification of the rate that applies to you from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

If you get a job outside of Local Government with an employer that does not participate in the Scheme, your Scheme pension will not be affected.

Please note that a compensatory pension awarded under the Local Government Compensation Regulations can be abated and it is essential that you advise NILGOSC of your re-employment irrespective of whether you have re-joined the Scheme.

If you are unsure whether or not your employer is in the LGPS (NI), please contact us or visit Contributing Employing Authorities where you will find a list of employers that currently contribute to the Scheme.

We aim to pay any lump sum within ten working days of receipt of all relevant documentation. Your employer needs to forward us information about your pay and employment and you need to complete and return forms relating to your retirement benefits. If you have paid AVC contributions there may be a slight delay as we cannot request return of your fund until your final AVC payment has reached the in-house AVC provider.  Pension payments are paid monthly in arrears on the last banking day of every month.

If you are in receipt of a redundancy or efficiency pension it will be increased each year  in April in line with the Pensions Increase Orders.

If you are aged 55 or over and you have met the two year qualifying period at the date of the redundancy, you will be entitled to receive your pension benefits immediately.

If you are under age 55 and you have met the two year qualifying period at the date of the redundancy, your benefits will be deferred to your normal pension age, usually your state pension age.

No. At this stage, there is no obligation for you to request voluntary redundancy and your employer has no obligation to make you redundant if you put in a request.

If you make a request and your employer is considering the redundancy, it will ask for quotations on your behalf.