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Act now to make your Choice 2 decision

2015 NHS pension scheme

Read the monthly updates written by the BMA Head of Pensions over the last year to help you familiarise yourself with the new 2015 NHS Pension Scheme which launched on 1 April 2015.

Start with our general overview of the scheme:

1  Stay one step ahead - get the basics of the scheme
2  When can I draw my pension benefits?
3  Auto-enrolment and National Insurance rebates
4  Opting out of the NHS Pension Scheme
5  Choice 2 exercise
6  Contributions
7  Are you ready for Choice 2?
8  What happens to my Mental Health Officer status?
9  BMA response to the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme draft regulations
10  Have you received your 'Choice 2' letter?
11  Act now to make your choice 2 decision
12  A recap on the basics of the 2015 NHSPS


The deadline is approaching

The deadline for Choice 2 is fast approaching so make sure you know what the decision means for you, don’t bury your head in the sand!

If you are eligible, you will have received a letter from NHS Pensions regarding your option to convert your 1995 section benefits to 2008 section benefits under the Choice 2 exercise.

You have received the letter because you will become a member of the 2015 Scheme on 1 April 2015 (or later for those with tapered protection) and you are currently a member of the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme.

The deadline for NHS Pensions to receive your Choice 2 decision is Monday 16 March 2015.


A reminder of what your decision is about

Remember, your decision is what you do with your accrued benefits, not your future benefits.

You can either:

  • Do nothing, in which case your 1995 section benefits will remain as they are
  • Take up the option to transfer your accrued 1995 section benefits in to the 2008 section

You can see the key differences between the two sections here.


Potential advantages and disadvantages of taking up the option to transfer

Generally speaking, taking up the option to move your benefits under Choice 2 may be beneficial if:

  • You are planning to retire at or around age 64
  • You want to have the option of drawing your 2008 benefits and continuing to work, accruing further 2015 benefits
  • You want more flexibility around the amount of lump sum you receive when you retire
  • You are female, in a civil partnership or have a nominated partner and joined the Scheme before 6 April 1988 then death benefits payable to your partner are higher if you take Choice 2
  • You have tapering protection and do not wish to commute pension for lump sum, or only wish to commute a small amount

It may not be beneficial if:

  • You have Mental Health Officer (MHO) status
  • You are buying added years
  • You wish to retain the option to retire before age 55 (with actuarial reduction)
  • You have have tapering protection and do not wish to lose it
  • You have tapering protection and expect to enjoy further salary growth (i.e through promotion or pay awards).

Remember, you need to make your decision by Monday 16 March 2015! Refer to your Choice 2 letter for instructions on what to do next.


What's next?

Read the final update in the series for March which is a recap of the 2015 NHSPS.

If you have any other questions or points to make then please contact the Pensions team