Can I transfer previous pension rights into the fund?

You may be able to transfer pension rights into the LGPS from:

  • a previous LGPS fund
  • a previous employer's pension scheme
  • a self employed pension plan
  • a pension 'buy-out' policy
  • a personal pension plan
  • a stakeholder pension scheme
  • an additional voluntary contribution (AVC) arrangement

In some cases pension benefits from an overseas pension scheme can be transferred into the LGPS.

It is not possible to transfer a pension credit into the LGPS. A pension credit is a share of an ex-spouse's, or ex-civil partner's, pension benefit that can be awarded to by a court under a pensions sharing order following a divorce of the dissolution or a civil partnership.

Transferring your pension rights is not always an easy decision to make, and you may wish to seek the help of an independent financial adviser.

Answer:

Your pension fund administrator can advise you of their process for transferring previous rights into the LGPS.

Please note: You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous pension rights, unless your employer and your administering authority allows you longer. This is a discretion and you can ask your employer and administering authority what their policy is on this matter.

Answer:

If you were previously a member of another public service pension scheme the transfer may be accepted under preferential rules known as the club transfer rules. These special terms apply provided you have not had a break in active membership of a public service pension scheme for more than 5 years.

Public service pension schemes include pension schemes for

  • civil servants
  • the armed forces
  • teachers
  • health service workers
  • fire and rescue workers
  • the police force
  • the judiciary
  • the LGPS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If the transfer is accepted under the club transfer rules the amount of extra pension which is added to your pension account will normally be broadly equal to the amount of pension you had built up in your pension account with your previous pension scheme. The amount of pension that is added to your account will be adjusted to take into account any differences between the two schemes and will, whilst you are an active member of the LGPS, be increased by the revaluation rate that applied to your previous scheme.

The extra pension will be added to your pension account in the year that the transfer payment is received.

You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous pension rights, unless your employer and your administering authority allows you longer. This is a discretion and you can ask your employer and administering authority what their policy is on this matter.

Answer:

If the transfer includes a final salary element (membership built up in a final salary scheme which in most cases is membership up to 31 March 2015) that element would buy final salary scheme membership in the LGPS, provided you have not had a continuous break in active membership of a public service pension scheme of more than 5 years.

Most public service pension schemes provided final salary pension benefits on membership up to 31 March 2015 (except the LGPS in England and Wales which is up to 31 March 2014). In a final salary scheme your pension benefits are based on your membership in the scheme and your final salary when you leave the scheme. Your final salary is usually the pensionable pay earned in the year prior to leaving the scheme. To see an example of how final salary benefits were calculated in the LGPS in England & Wales up to 31 March 2014.

A club transfer value will give you broadly equivalent benefits in the LGPS, provided you apply for the transfer within 12 months of joining the LGPS.

Transferring your pension rights is not always an easy decision to make, and you may wish to seek the help of an independent financial adviser.

Answer:

If you have paid into a non-LGPS pension scheme, you may be able to transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS. A non-LGPS arrangement must be another registered pension scheme or a European pensions institution.

You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to opt to transfer your previous pension rights, unless your employer and your administering authority allows you longer. This is a discretion and you can ask your employer and administering authority what their policy is on this matter.

If you opt to transfer pension rights from a non-LGPS pension scheme then a sum of money called a transfer value is offered to buy an amount of extra pension which is added to your pension account. If you transfer your previous pension rights into the LGPS your retirement benefits will be increased. The extra pension is added to your pension account in the scheme year that the transfer payment is received.

Any request you make to investigate a transfer will not be binding until you have been supplied with full details of the amount of extra pension the transfer payment will buy and subsequently confirm that you wish the transfer to go ahead.

You will need to carefully consider whether to transfer or not, as a transfer may not always be advantageous. For example, you should compare the amount of extra pension the transfer payment will buy in the LGPS, when that pension is normally payable from (i.e. your normal pension age) and the other LGPS benefits (e.g. the ability to retire and draw benefits earlier than normal pension age, death and survivor benefits, etc.) against the value of the package of benefits if left with your previous pension scheme provider.

Transfers from public sector schemes are treated differently if transferred in under club transfer rules.

Transferring your pension rights is not always an easy decision to make, and you may wish to seek the help of an independent financial adviser.

Your pension fund may decline to accept a transfer from a non-LGPS pension scheme.
Answer:

If you have paid AVCs to the LGPS in England or Wales, the value of your AVCs must be transferred to an AVC arrangement offered by your new administering authority if rejoin the LGPS and combine your main scheme benefits.

If you have paid AVCs to a scheme (other than to the LGPS in England or Wales) or you have paid Free-Standing AVC (FSAVCs) you can, if you wish, transfer them into the LGPS to buy extra LGPS pension.

You have only 12 months from joining the LGPS to elect to transfer your previous AVC rights to buy extra LGPS membership, unless your employer and your administering authority allows you longer. This is a discretion. You can ask your employer and the Staffordshire Pension Fund what their policy is on this matter.

Answer:

You may have lost touch with your former pension schemes but, if you have, do not worry as 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

Phone: 0800 731 0193
Answer:

If you rejoin the LGPS and you have previous pension benefits in the scheme, due to a previous period of membership, then your deferred benefit(s) can normally be joined with your new active pension account.

In most cases your deferred benefit will be automatically joined up with your active pension account, unless you elect to keep it separate within the first 12 months of re-joining the LGPS (unless your employer allows you longer, this is a discretion).

Members of the scheme before 1 April 2014

The rules can be different and you may have to make an election to join up your deferred benefit with your active pension account. If this applies to you such an election must be made within the first 12 months of re-joining the LGPS, unless your employer allows you longer.

You should inform your pension fund if you hold previous pension benefits when you join the LGPS. They will then write to you setting out the options available to you and confirm whether or not you need to make an election to combine your pension benefits.

Members without 2 years membership

If you were previously a member of the LGPS but left without building up rights to a deferred pension (normally where you have less than two years membership) and you haven't yet taken a refund of contributions, then this deferred refund must be joined with your new active pension account in the scheme.

Members with more than one employment

Where you have more than one employment and therefore more than one pension account in the LGPS you can elect which account to combine your previous LGPS pension rights with.

Opted out on or after 11 April 2015?

If you opted out and you have a deferred benefit in the LGPS you will not be allowed to combine this with your new active pension if you rejoin the scheme. Instead, you will have two separate sets of pension benefits in the scheme.

It may not always be in your interest to join up a deferred benefit with your active pension account. You should inform your pension fund when you join the LGPS if you hold any previous pension benefits. They will then write to you setting out the options available to you and provide information about the things you should think about when considering whether to combine your pension benefits.

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