Pensions

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Maximum years service

Do you have 45+ calendar years of service in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme?

We receive a number of queries from doctors who have achieved more than 45 years' service in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme and were not advised by either the Pensions Agencies or by their employer that they had achieved maximum scheme benefits. If you are contributing to the 2008 section you will also be restricted to a pension based on a maximum of 45 years’ of service.  If you are contributing to the 2015 scheme there is no limit on the amount of service which can be used to calculate your pension.

The maximum service on which pension benefits can be based in the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme is 45 calendar years.

Those doctors most vulnerable to over exceeding this limit are:

  • Doctors with MHO status who were restricted to 40 years' service at age 55, who are presently over age 58, and are still working and paying into the amended NHS pension scheme*
  • Doctors who purchased added years to achieve 40 years' service at age 60 and have continued in NHS employment beyond age 65
  • Other doctors who are over age 65, and are still working and paying into the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme

Once 45 calendar years service has been accrued members cannot accrue further benefits in the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme. The pension and lump sum are calculated up to the date that maximum benefits are achieved and will be paid to the doctor on retirement once the appropriate break (minimum of 24 hours) has been taken. These benefits can be paid without an appropriate break if the doctor attained age 70, before 1 April 2008, or once the doctor has attained age 75, after 1 April 2008. These benefits are increased annually by an amount equal to the increase in the Consumer Prices Index during the period that their benefits are deferred.

* Special arrangements apply to doctors who have MHO status; they must remain in the 1995 section of the NHS pension scheme until age 60 if they have continuous service even if they have already accrued 45 years' service.

Need help?
If you fall into one of the categories above and are seeking advice on your options regarding your NHS pension please contact the BMA Pensions Department on 020 7383 6166/6138 or at [email protected]