Changing or Leaving Your Job

If you change jobs, the pension you have built up can remain in the Scheme or be transferred to another pension scheme but you may need to obtain independent, impartial financial advice before transferring. For transfers over £30,000 to a scheme that is not a member of the public sector pensions club you will need to obtain independent, impartial financial advice before you can transfer. We will let you know if this is the case. You can find details on independent financial advice on the Help Hub page

If you ever return to local government employment (excluding teaching) you can re-join the Scheme or the LGPS elsewhere.

Can I opt out of the Scheme?

Although membership of the Scheme is automatic in many cases, it isn't compulsory, even if you join under automatic-enrolment. You can cancel your membership at any time. You can find out more about this within the section on 'opting-out'.

Vesting period

The vesting period in the LGPS is 2 years.

Leaving before you retire

If you leave the Scheme before you retire, you can choose what to do with your pension in the Pension Scheme. The choices you have depend on how long you have been a member.

  • Less than 2 years
  • 2 years or more

Less than 2 years

On leaving, you have the following options.

- You can claim a refund of your contributions but no refund can be made if you re-join the scheme in Scotland within a month and a day of leaving or re-join before the refund has been paid

- You may be able to transfer your benefits to a new pension arrangement. You must have been a member for at least 3 months.

- You can delay your refund up to 5 years of you leaving the scheme or age 75 if earlier.  At that point a refund of contributions will automatically be paid to you.

2 years or more

On leaving, you have two options:

 

- You can choose to keep your pension in the Scheme - this is known as deferred pension and will be reviewed every year in line with the cost of living.

- You may be able to transfer your pension to a new pension arrangement, although in some circumstances you may need to receive impartial, independent financial advice before you can do so.

 

Multiple employments

If you are a Scheme member for more than one job, and leave one of them, you can choose between deferred benefits (depending on how long you've been a member) or you can transfer the membership to count in the other job.

 

Transferring your benefits out

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 within the Pension Scheme.

  • 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.

Deciding to transfer your benefits is an important decision. You may wish to take independent financial advice, although from 1 April 2015 you may need to obtain independent, impartial financial advice before being able to transfer your LGPS pension out to certain types of pension scheme. We will let you know if this was the case. You can find details on independent financial advice on the Help Hub Page.

 

Refunds

If you have not completed the 2 years vesting period you can take a refund of your contributions 

Only your own contributions are refundable, those paid by your employer are not. There will be deductions to account for tax relief and, if applicable, National Insurance.

 

 

Deferred benefits

Your pension is worked out when you leave the Scheme, based on the amount of membership you have built up and your pay during your membership, in the same way as for retirement.

It is then held in the Scheme where it is reviewed each year in line with the cost of living, until put into payment.

 

Popular Questions

Help Hub
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Keeping your pension in the Pension Scheme

    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.
  • 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. 

Forms

  • Opt Out Form

  • Join 50/50 Section Form

My Pension Online