You can draw your deferred Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pension benefits at the following times:
- When you reach your normal pension age
- Between age 55 and your normal pension age at a date chosen by you. Normally, taking your pension early means that it will be paid at a reduced level.
- After your normal pension age, but before your 75th birthday, at a date chosen by you. Normally, taking your pension late means that it will be paid at an increased level. However, if you left before 1 April 1998 you cannot defer past your normal pension age.
- At any age if your former employer agrees that you have permanent ill health which means you can’t work
Reaching normal pension age
Your deferred LGPS pension benefits are normally payable in full without reduction at your normal pension age.
Your own normal pension age will depend on when you left the LGPS.
For those who left after 1 April 1998
From 1 April 2014 your Normal Pension Age is linked to your State Pension Age (but with a minimum age of 65). The normal pension age for benefits built up in the LGPS before 1 April 2014 is, in most cases, 65.
That means if you apply for your pension at 65, all of your membership that you built up before 1 April 2014 would be paid at an unreduced level, but if you had some membership after 1 April 2014, a small reduction may apply just for that part.
For those who left before 1 April 1998
If you left the LGPS before 1 April 1998, your Normal Retirement Date (NRD) could be 60, may still be 65, or fall somewhere in-between. It is determined by when you joined the scheme, and when, if you had stayed in the scheme, you would have built up 25 years membership. This is how it’s worked out:
- Your NRD will be age 60, if by that age you would have built up 25 years membership if you had remained in the scheme until then, or
- Your NRD will be the date you would have achieved 25 years membership if you had remained in the scheme, if that date falls between your 60th and 65th birthday, or
- Your NRD will be age 65 if, by that age, you would not have had built up 25 years membership if you had remained in the scheme until then.
Taking your deferred pension early
Before a change in regulations in May 2018, only deferred members who had membership in the LGPS since 1 April 2014 could decide to draw their pension from the age of 55.
All deferred members who qualify for an LGPS pension can now decide to draw their pension from 55.
When you decide to apply for your pension earlier than your normal retirement date, your benefits are usually paid at a reduced level. The amount of reduction will depend on how early you decide to draw your deferred pension.
If you joined the LGPS before 1 October 2006 you may have rule of 85 protection, which protects some or all of your benefits from reduction. Please see our factsheet ‘when can I retire with unreduced benefits?’ attached to this page.
Early payment on compassionate grounds
Normally you don’t need your former employer’s approval to draw your deferred pension benefits, but if you are 55+ and have difficult personal circumstances, you can ask your former employer if they will waive any reduction to your pension. This may generate a cost for your former employer.
Each employer has its own policy on applications for the release of deferred pension benefits on compassionate grounds, so please contact your former employer if you wish to apply for this.
If your former employer will not waive the reduction to your pension, you can still apply to draw your pension early at the reduced level.
The reduction factors
There's a list of reduction factors which may apply if you draw your pension early on the national LGPS members' website.
Taking your deferred pension late
If you left on or after 1 April 1998, you can choose to take your deferred benefits after your normal pension age but you must take them before you are 75.
If you take your benefits after your normal pension age, your benefits will be increased because you are starting to draw them later than expected.
Your pension will be increased by 0.01% for each day you delay applying for your deferred pension beyond your normal pension age.
If you are due an automatic lump sum for any membership before 1 April 2008, your lump sum will be increased by 0.001% for each day that you delay applying later than your 65th birthday.
If you left before 1 April 1998, you cannot defer your pension past normal pension age.
Early payment on the grounds of ill health
If you have permanent ill health you can apply to your former employer for the release of your deferred benefits at any age, without any reduction.
Your former employer will ask an independent occupational health physician to give an opinion before they decide whether they can approve your application.
For your application to be approved, you must be permanently incapable of undertaking the job you were in when you left the LGPS.
If you left that job on or since 1 April 2008 there is a further requirement that you are unlikely to be capable of undertaking any gainful employment within 3 years of applying, or by your normal pension age, whichever is earlier.
For this purpose, gainful employment means paid employment for at least 30 hours per week for a period of not less than 12 months.
If you think you meet the criteria and wish to apply, please contact us and we'll ask your former employer to consider your application.
Deferred members with LGPS membership before 1 April 2008 will have an automatic tax free lump sum payable with their pension benefits. All deferred members, however, have the options to convert some pension to lump sum when taking payment of their pension benefits.
See our information about lump sums for more details.
Keeping in touch
It's important that we know where to write to you, so please make sure you tell us if you change your address by completing the form attached to this page and returning it to us at County Hall.
Links to useful documents