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.
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.
Do I still need to pay National Insurance Contributions after I take voluntary redundancy to keep my State Pension entitlements?
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.
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.
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 I accept the voluntary redundancy with a date of leaving in 3 months time, can I pay anything now into the Scheme to increase my benefits?
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.
My employer has issued a letter asking for expressions of interest for voluntary redundancy. Do I need to contact NILGOSC?
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.
We all accepted voluntary redundancy and everyone else has got their retirement pack – why haven’t I?
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.
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.
What is the earliest age I can take voluntary redundancy and be entitled to immediate payment of my pension benefits?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.