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Leaving the Scheme before Retirement

If you leave the Scheme before you can retire, the benefits available to you depend on whether or not you have at least two years' membership in the Scheme.  This includes any pension you have transferred into the Scheme which takes you over the two year limit.

If you leave the Scheme and meet the two year qualifying period you will be entitled to a pension when you retire. Until then you will have two options:

  • you can choose to leave your benefits in the Scheme, or 
  • you may be able to transfer your deferred benefits to another pension arrangement. 

If you leave your benefits in the Scheme they are known as deferred benefits and will be revalued every year in line with the cost of living until they are due to be paid.  Your deferred benefits are normally payable at your Normal Pension Age. Your Normal Pension Age is the same as your State Pension Age (but with a minimum of age 65). Your benefits can be paid earlier at your request or due to ill-health.  They can also be paid later than your Normal Pension Age.

For more information please visit the Deferred Members' section

If you leave the Scheme and have not met the two year qualifying period you will have three options:

  • a refund of contributions, less deductions
  • transfer your benefits to a new pension arrangement - providing you have been a member of the Scheme for at least three months
  • delay your decision

If you claim a refund of your contributions then this is paid less a deduction for tax and the cost, if any, of buying you back into the State Second Pension (S2P). Interest is paid if the refund is not made within one year of leaving. 

No refund can be made if you:

  • rejoin the Scheme within a month and a day of leaving, or
  • rejoin before the refund has been paid, or
  • continue to hold another job which you held at the same time as the post you have left, or
  • have a qualifying period in the Scheme of two years.

If you delay your decision to re-join the Scheme, transfer your benefits to a new pension arrangement, or ask for a refund of contributions, you will have what is known as a deferred refund pension account. This type of deferred refund account can only be held in the Scheme for a maximum of 5 years or until age 75, whichever is earlier. If you have not transferred your benefits to a new pension arrangement or rejoined the Scheme by that time a refund of contributions will automatically be paid to you.  Please remember to keep us informed of any address changes. 


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