Below are some of the most frequent questions we get asked once the ABS have been issued. We would recommend you read these questions and answers before contacting the Pensions Service with a query:
1) Why does my statement look different to last year’s?
On 1 April 2014 the LGPS changed from a Final Salary Pension Scheme to a Career Average Scheme. This is the first year your ABS has included details of your Career Average (CARE) pension benefits. The notes accompanying your ABS give a section by section account of what your ABS shows and how we calculate the figures.
Also, you may have noticed a number of logos for other Pension Funds. This year we have worked collaboratively with a number of other Pension Funds, on the statements, to share ideas and costs.
2) How do I get an estimate?
Retirement estimates can be requested using the Estimate Request Form below. Following the issue of Annual Benefit Statements it is an extremely busy time for the Pensions Service. Please try to avoid requesting an estimate during this busy period if at all possible.
It should be noted that the Pensions Service restricts the number of estimates provided to two estimate types per request (e.g. retirement at age 60 and retirement at age 65) and only one request in any 12 month period.
However, if you log in to Member Self Service as per the instructions in your statement, you will be able to use this to calculate your own estimates.
3) The pay figures shown in ‘Section 3 – How your pension is calculated’ are wrong. What should I do?
The benefits shown in this statement are based on these pay figures so it is important that these are correct. These pay figures have been supplied by your employer. If you believe them to be incorrect then please contact your employer directly.
For a definition of what Pensionable Pay is click here.
4) Why is my survivor pension zero?
We will not display a survivor’s pension if your partnership status is currently ‘single’ or ‘divorced’. Please use the Update Form below to inform us of any changes to your partnership status.
5) Why is my ‘Total CARE closing balance’ more than my ‘In year build up’?
If you had already reached your Normal Pension Age (NPA) by 31 March 2016 your ‘Total CARE closing balance’ figure shown will include an actuarial increase in respect of the period from Normal Pension Age to 31 March 2016, whereas this increase is not included in the ‘In year build up’ value shown. The increase included is based on the currently applicable rate; this rate is subject to review by the Government Actuary’s Department and the rate that applies when you retire, and therefore the value of the increase, may be different.
6) How do I change my death grant expression of wish?
Please complete the Death Grant – Expression of Wish Form that can be found below.
7) Can I increase my pension contributions?
Yes, you can increase your benefits by purchasing Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) or Additional Pension Contributions (APCs). More information on how to increase your pension benefits can be read here.
8) What is the Reduced Annual Pension and Increased Lump Sum Retirement Grant (shown in Section 2 of my ABS)?
Upon retirement, you can, subject to certain limits, convert some of your pension into a tax free lump sum at a rate of £1 of pension for each £12 of tax free lump sum. You can convert up to 25% of the capital value of your pension (as determined by HMRC).
The figures shown on the statement give the reduced pension and subsequent lump sum assuming you took the full 25% conversion.
9) The percentage of my Lifetime Allowance used in Section 7 of my statement is over 100%. What does this mean?
Lifetime Allowance is the total value of all the pension benefits you can have, across all tax-registered pension arrangements, without having to pay a tax charge on the excess over the Lifetime Allowance when you take payment of your benefits.
If the percentage of Lifetime Allowance used, shown on this statement is over 100%, you may have to pay tax on the excess, when you take payment of your benefits.
When you come to retire we will provide you with more information regarding your Lifetime Allowance.
10) The Notes relating to Section 6 mention that survivors’ pensions are generally based on all membership, with some exclusions, what does this mean?
For members of LGPS, the different scenarios and the membership that would be used when calculating survivors’ pensions are set out below.
Survivors’ pensions are based on all membership in the following cases:
- All pensions payable to children,
- Pensions payable to widow or widower of a pre-leaving opposite or same sex marriage
- Pensions payable to surviving civil partner of a pre-leaving civil partnership
Survivors’ pensions are based on Post 5 April 1978 membership only in the following case:
- Pensions payable to widow of a post-leaving opposite sex marriage
Survivors’ pensions are based on Post 5 April 1988 membership only in the following cases:
- Pensions payable to widower of a pre-leaving opposite sex marriage
- Pensions payable to surviving civil partner of a post-leaving civil partnership
- Pensions payable to the widow or widower of a post-leaving same sex marriage
Survivors’ pensions are based on Post 5 April 1988 membership plus any pre 6 April 1988 membership bought by (ASBCs) only in the following case:
- Pensions payable to a cohabiting partner regardless of whether cohabitation commenced pre- or post-leaving