FAQs

Will I have enough money in retirement?

Are you saving enough for a comfortable retirement?

Even if you have been saving for your retirement for most of your working life, your pension may not be big enough for you to live on comfortably when you do retire or provide enough for your dependants.

The Scheme is considered to provide a reasonable benefit for many of its members in retirement but, depending on your circumstances, this may not be the case for you.

Your pension may not be enough to live comfortably on if you:

  • had a career break
  • joined the fund later in life
  • opted out previously
  • want to retire early
  • want to provide more for your dependants or
  • have moved jobs a few times
What can you do?

One option is to make extra contributions to boost your pension. Whatever you do you should make sure you get financial advice before making any decisions.

Retirement Living Standards

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published a set of ‘Retirement Living Standards’ to help us all picture what kind of lifestyle we might have in retirement and what it might cost. Please visit www.retirementlivingstandards.org.uk for more information.

Can I boost my pension?

All of us look forward to a happy and comfortable retirement. 

To have that little bit extra during your retirement years you may wish to consider paying extra contributions, which can be a tax efficient way of topping up your income when you retire.

There are a number of ways you can top up your retirement income, on top of the benefits you are already looking forward to as a member of the Scheme:

  • Buy extra fund pension
  • Make in-house additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)
  • Employer awards of additional pension
  • Free standing additional voluntary contributions (FSAVCs)
  • Personal pension plan or stakeholder pension

Please visit the 'Increase my payments' page in Help & support to learn more. For any further information, feel free to contact us.

What is the state pension?

The state pension changed on 6 April 2016 for people who reach state pension age on or after that date. This is men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953. The old rules (which include basic State Pension and Additional State Pension) were complicated, making it difficult to know how much you'd get until you were close to State Pension age. Not everyone will get the full new State Pension though, as it will depend on your National Insurance record.

Assuming you had made full National Insurance contributions the State Pension for a single person in 2021/22 is currently around £778 a month. To put this in perspective, if you earn £22,000 now, your monthly income before tax and National Insurance deductions is £1,833, so your Basic State Pension will only make up around 40% of your current income. You may also be entitled to additional benefits through the State Second Pension.

If you have questions relating to State pensions visit www.gov.uk.

You can find out your State Pension age using the State Pension age calculator.

The Scheme is 'contracted out' of the State Second Pension (see relevant section below).

What does being "contracted out" mean?

Background

From the 6 April 1978 to 5 April 2016 members of the LGPS paid a reduced rate of national insurance contribution by virtue of being "contracted out" of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme SERPS - later known  as the State Second Pension or S2P.

This means that instead of paying full national insurance contributions and getting both the basic state pension and the 2nd state pension LGPS members paid a reduced rate but only get the basic state pension.

However; The government decided to change the way state pensions are earned. From 6 April 2016 there has been a single flat rate pension for everyone. Although to get the full amount you will have had to pay the full national insurance amount for some time. For details please see the link to the state pension website.

Going forward

As a result of this change to the state pension the government announced that it was ending the option for pension schemes to be contracted out of the state pension scheme. This means that from 6 April 2016, members of the LGPS have been paying the full rate of national insurance contributions. The amount extra that you have had to pay will depend on your salary.

It is important that you understand how much state pension that you will receive and when you will receive it. Please look at the government website using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension/overview.

Can I have my contributions back?

If you have less than 2 years Scheme membership and have not transferred pension rights in from another pension scheme you can apply to  get 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.

What are the tax benefits?

Paying in members

To encourage people to pay into a pension there are special rules on how contributions and some benefits are taxed.

Most people will be able to save as much as they want with full tax relief as their pension savings will be significantly less than the allowances.

There is an annual allowance that limits the amount your pension can increase by each year. This limit is set by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and can change each year.

The limit for 2021/22 is £40,000, although there are now special rules for those higher earners earning in excess of £200,000 per annum. Please contact us if you believe you might be impacted by the annual allowance.

There is also a lifetime allowance which limits the amount you can accumulate free of tax in all your pension arrangements when you come to take your benefits. The allowance for 2021/22 is £1,073,100.

You can get more information from the HMRC about the annual allowance here and the lifetime allowance here

Pensioners

You may still have to pay tax on your income when you start to take your pension.

We deduct this via Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

What happens if I have a question about the amount of income tax I am paying?

It is Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that works out how much income tax you should pay and provides us with the tax code to be applied to your pension. You will need to speak directly to HMRC. You can contact them on 0300 200 3300 (or 0300 200 3319 for textphone) or +44135 535 9022 if you are outside of the UK.

You will need your National Insurance number (you can find this on your P60)

What happens if I go back to work after retiring?

You may need to contact us if you are going back to work in Local Government, or an employer where you could become a member of the LGPS. In most cases further employment will not affect your pension. But you must tell us if you take up further employment.

What happens if I die?

The death in retirement section has details about what the person who is looking after your affairs should do when you die and what further benefits might be payable from the Scheme.

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