Am I eligible to join the LGPS as a doctor?
The LGPS is generally available to local authority employees who are unable to contribute to another pension scheme.
For example, if you are public health doctor employed directly by the local authority you may retain the right to continue to contribute to the NHS pension scheme via direction arrangements. If this is the case you will not be able to contribute to the LGPS instead. If you are not eligible for membership of the NHS pension scheme you would be eligible to join the LGPS.
Your membership of the LGPS will commence if you hold a contract for three months, are under 75 and satisfy the above criteria.
How your pension is calculated
Membership accrued up to 2008
Annual pension based on pensionable service X final pensionable pay / 80 plus a pension commencement lump sum of three times this amount.
Membership accrued 1 April 2008 - 1 April 2014:
Annual pension based on pensionable service X final pensionable pay / 60.
From 1 April 2014 benefits are calculated on a career average revalued earnings basis with a 1/49th accrual.
The average employer contribution to the LGPS is around 19%.
Your final pensionable pay
- Your final pensionable pay is the pay on which your benefits are calculated.
- It is based on your pensionable pay during the year ending with the day that you cease to be an active member of the scheme, or one of the best of the last three years.
- If your pay has been reduced you can request that your employer looks at the best consecutive three year average during the last thirteen years of your pensionable employment.
- In this calculation the pensionable earnings which are considered are in respect of the scheme year up to 31 March.
- Final pensionable pay is calculated with reference to your earnings from a single comparable whole-time employment.
When can I retire?
- Your normal pension age is 65.
- You can retire from age 60 onwards with a deferred benefit payable at 65.
- You may be able to retire from age 55 onwards - this is available only with your employer’s consent.
- If your benefits are paid early as a result of voluntary early retirement they will be reduced to reflect the fact that they will be in payment for longer.
- If you delay your retirement beyond 65 your pension will be increased by a late retirement factor.
Transferring benefits in and out of the LGPS
The LGPS can accept transfers of pension rights from other LGPS pension funds, other pension schemes who use the public sector transfer club (like the NHS pension scheme) and from other registered pension schemes who do not operate the public sector transfer club.
Transfers of pension rights must be requested within 12 months of joining the scheme. Your employer has the discretion to extend this time limit.
You cannot transfer a pension credit (as a result of a divorce settlement) into the LGPS.
If you leave the scheme at least one year before age 65 with entitlement to deferred benefits you can transfer your pension rights to another pension scheme.
If you die in service
A surviving spouse, registered civil partner or, subject to certain qualifying conditions, a co-habiting partner will qualify for a pension. The benefit for widows and widowers is calculated using the following formula:
Membership X final pensionable pay / 160 = dependant’s pension
The benefits for registered civil partners and qualifying co-habiting partners is calculated using the same formula but only using membership accrued after 5 April 1988.
This pension is payable from the day after your death.
The membership used to calculate this pension will include the membership which you would have accrued had you remained in the LGPS until age 65.
If you die after retirement
- If you are under age 75 at the time of death a death grant will be payable – this is ten times your pension less any pension that has already been paid.
- Your dependant’s pension will be calculated using the same formula as above.
- Your pension can go to an eligible child if they are dependent on you at the time of your death and they are under 18, in full time education up to age 23 or are disabled.
Holding multiple local authority roles
In pension terms, each period of membership is treated separately.
If you terminate one concurrent post while continuing to contribute to the scheme in respect of another post or posts, you can elect to combine the periods of membership. The membership credited to the active account will be adjusted to reflect any differential in pensionable pay between the concurrent posts.
Can I increase my pension?
The LGPS includes a facility to enable you to pay additional regular contributions. These contributions will provide additional pension, for you or for you and a dependent.
This means you are able to purchase blocks of additional scheme pension by regular contributions or in a lump sum, up to the value of £7,026.
Alternatively you could pay into an additional voluntary contribution arrangement, or personal pension, stakeholder or free standing AVC.