Pensions

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Pension transfers between nations

This information is for BMA members who have contributed to NHS pension schemes in more than one country.

There are presently three NHS pension schemes: one for individuals working in the NHS in England or Wales, one for those working in the NHS in Scotland and one for those working in the NHS in Northern Ireland.

If you have worked, for example, in England and then in Scotland you will have paid pension contributions towards both the NHS pension scheme (England & Wales) and the NHS Superannuation Scheme (Scotland).

Until recently pension transfers have been permitted between corresponding health service schemes at any time during your employment in your current jurisdiction. Time limits did not apply and you were not restricted to effecting the transfer before your normal pension age.

However, recent changes to NHS guidance have confirmed that individuals moving from a NHS post in one country to a NHS post in another country must apply to transfer their pension rights between corresponding health service schemes within twelve months of joining the new scheme for the first time (1995 section members) or within twelve months of becoming eligible to join the new scheme for the first time (2008 section and 2015 scheme members). Additionally, this must be done before your normal pension age.

If you are already working in the NHS and have pension benefits accrued in the NHS pension scheme in another country and you wish to transfer this service to your current scheme, but have not yet done so, restrictions are now being imposed which may prevent the transfer taking place where previously the transfer would have been permitted.

NHS Pensions, who administer the NHS pension scheme in England and Wales, have confirmed that they will consider an extension to the time limits where it can be shown that the member was denied access to, or information about, the prevailing NHS pension scheme rules. If you always intended to transfer previous NHS benefits into the NHS scheme you are currently in but have not yet done so you may wish to approach your current scheme administrator now to establish whether these benefits can still be transferred.

Members encountering difficulties in transferring corresponding heath service benefits can contact the BMA Pensions Department for assistance.

 

Further information and transfer request forms

Information on transferring pension rights, including the relevant transfer request forms for those who are currently contributing to the: