Leaving options

Leaving options - refund, transfer out and deferred pension

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my options if I leave with less than two years’ membership? 
What are my options if I leave with more than two years' membership, hold other LGPS pension rights or transferred in membership?
Can I get a refund?
How do I claim my refund?  
How long does it take to be paid my refund? 
What happens to my employer contributions if I take a refund? 
Can I leave my pension benefits and take a pension? 
Transferring your benefits out to a new Scheme
Taking financial advice
Keeping your pension in the Pension Scheme
Can I keep paying into the Scheme once I have left my job
What is my reference/ policy number? 

If you still have questions after reading the information provide on the Member Section of our website and in the Help Hub, visit the Contact Us section.




What are my options if I leave with less than two years’ membership

You can:
• take a refund of the contributions you have paid less tax
• transfer your pension to a new pension arrangement, you may need independent financial advice before you can do this if the transfer is over £30,000.

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What are my options if I leave with more than two years' membership, hold other LGPS pension rights or transferred in membership

If you have more than 2 years’ membership, you won't be able to get a refund.  Instead, when you leave the Scheme, you have two options:
• You can choose to keep your pension in the Scheme until your pension is due for payment - this is known as deferred pension 
• You can transfer your pension to a new pension arrangement, you may need independent financial advice before you can do this if the transfer is over £30,000.

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Can I get a refund?

If you leave the scheme with less than two years' membership, don't hold LGPS pension rights in any other Scottish Fund and didn't transfer membership into the Scheme, you can be refunded your contributions or can transfer them to another pension scheme.  If you opt for a refund, this is the contributions you paid only and will be less tax.
Your employer will provide details of the contributions paid to for us to refund or defer your benefits. If you choose a refund, we'll send a form to complete and provide us with your bank details.

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How do I claim my refund?

Your employer will give us details of the contributions paid by you so we can refund or defer your benefits. We'll send a form a month after you leave to complete and, if you choose to take a refund, all you need to do is provide us with your bank details. The options and forms will be available on My Pension Online and you can upload your completed form via the service using the document upload facility.  Please make sure we have the correct address and email address.

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How long does it take to be paid my refund?

Our Regulations mean we can't make payment until one month after the date you left of the scheme. We'll send details of your options at that point or when we receive the information from your employer, if later. Once you return the forms, payment will be normally made within ten working days.

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What happens to my employer contributions if I take a refund?

If you take a refund, only your own contributions are refundable, those paid by your employer are not. You also pay tax on these contributions.

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Can I leave my pension benefits and take a pension?

If you are eligible for a refund, your options are to take a refund, transfer your benefits to a new provider or, if you rejoin an employer, aggregate your old and new benefits. 

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Transferring your benefits out to a new Scheme

You can transfer your pension to any other pension scheme as long as the new scheme is one approved by HMRC and willing to accept the transfer. If you want to transfer your pension you should tell your new scheme that you hold benefits with us. They will approach us for a transfer value and let you know what the benefits are worth in their scheme. Your new employer or pension scheme will then work with you regarding whether or not you wish to go ahead with the transfer. If you decide that you want to go ahead with the transfer they will ask us to pay the transfer payment over to your new pension scheme. We’ll make payment when you return the forms from you and other scheme have been completed and returned along with any certificates requested.
 
 Deciding to transfer your benefits is an important decision. You may wish to take independent financial advice, but for transfers over £30,000 you will need to obtain independent, impartial financial advice before being able to transfer to certain types of pension scheme. You can find details on independent financial advice on Unbiased.co.uk, but make sure they understand the LGPS.

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If you are entitled to a deferred pension, when you leave the Scheme, your pension is worked out on the amount of membership built up and your pay during your membership. It is then held in the Scheme with Pension Increase added each year in line with the cost of living, until you take payment.  Payment can be made from age 55 but is reduced for early payment.

You won't be able to keep paying in if you have left the Scheme unless you rejoin in another qualifying employment or if you opted out.

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What is my reference/ policy number?

We use your National Insurance number as the unique identifier for each member and you should give this to your new provider if asked for a reference or policy number. 

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