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Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are a way of topping up your NILGOSC pension and can be paid through the in-house AVC provider, Prudential.

Looking after your Pension Video Transcript (90KB, PDF)

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) are a way of topping up your NILGOSC pension and can be paid through the in-house AVC provider, Prudential.  You will have your own personal account that, over time, builds up with your contributions and the returns on your investment.  You may contribute up to the level of your pay, less employer deductions, in any pay period. At retirement, you can use this AVC fund to buy an additional pension or to increase your lump sum, subject to Scheme and tax limits.

NILGOSC cannot provide advice on investments and it should be noted that the return on these AVC investments depends on the contributions paid, the performance of the investments and on interest rates at retirement. There is no guarantee that any particular level of benefit will be available at retirement.

Deciding how to use your AVC plan is one of the most important financial decisions that you will make, so it is important when you come to take your pension or you decide to transfer out that you get guidance from Pension Wise to help you decide on the best option. Pension Wise is a service from MoneyHelper. It is a free, impartial service sponsored by the Government. As it is such an important decision NILGOSC is not allowed to proceed with your application until you tell us that you have either taken guidance from Pension Wise or you have chosen to opt out of that guidance. We will tell you when you need to consider taking this advice.

When you reach retirement you may use your in-house AVC fund in the following ways:

Buying an annuity

You can use your AVC fund to buy one or more annuities from an insurance company, bank or building society of your choice.  An annuity is a regular guaranteed income that is paid to you for life.  Your chosen provider will take the AVC plan and pay you a pension in return.  The amount of pension you are paid depends on your age, interest rates and whether you choose to include dependant’s benefits.

Annuities have different features which may be of interest to you such as a guaranteed minimum payment period, improved terms if you are in poor health and annual increases.  When you buy an annuity you can usually take some of your AVC fund as a tax-free lump sum at the same time.

Buying a top-up Scheme Pension

If you retire with immediate payment of your benefits you may be able to use some or all of your AVC fund to buy a top-up pension from the Scheme for yourself and any dependants.

Taking your AVCs as cash

Current Scheme regulations allow you to take your AVC fund at retirement, subject to tax limits, in whole or in part as tax-free cash.  If you left the Scheme before 1 April 2015 you may defer drawing your AVC until after retirement however, then you can only have up to 25% of your AVC fund as a lump sum.

Transfer your AVC fund to another arrangement

You can transfer your AVC fund to another pension scheme or arrangement.

Leaving the Scheme before retirement

If you leave before retirement, your AVC contributions will cease. The value of your AVC fund will continue to be invested until it is paid out. Your in-house AVC scheme is similar to your main Scheme benefits: it can be transferred to another arrangement along with or independently from your main Scheme benefits, drawn at the same time as your Scheme benefits.

How do I contribute to an AVC?

Should you wish to explore this option you should visit Local Government AVCs – Prudential.

Follow this link for information on Investment Performance of Prudential AVC’s

More information

NILGOSC maintains an AVC Policy which is reviewed on an annual basis.

If you require any further information in relation to your AVC fund, the Pensions Administration Team at NILGOSC is happy to help with your questions, but please be advised that NILGOSC staff cannot give you financial advice about your investments. The Pensions Administration Team can be contacted on 0345 3197 325 or by email at

Further information about NILGOSC’s AVC Scheme with Prudential, how to set up AVCs and the fund options available can be accessed using the Useful links below.