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Pensioners FAQs

Can my pension be paid if I move abroad?

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.

How will my pension be affected if I become separated or divorced or my civil partnership is dissolved?

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.


I have a query regarding Income Tax. Who should I contact?

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.

Can I assign my benefits to someone else?

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

Can I cash in my pension for a lump sum?

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. 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 £18,000. 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. 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 Dependants 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.

What is the NILGOSC Tax Reference?

The NILGOSC tax reference is 916/G82576.