FAQs

If the member renews their Added Pension option each year, does this mean that the contract remains current? If the member renews their Added Pension option each year, does this mean that the contract remains current?

If a member is paying monthly contributions to purchase an Added Pension option in PCSPS, when the member moves into alpha, they can continue to make the Added Pension contributions and continue building up Added Pension in PCSPS.

Is Added Pension in the alpha scheme the same as in nuvos?

Added Pension in alpha works in the same way as nuvos, so members can purchase Added Pension by lump sum, or contributions. The age at which the Added Pension can be paid will be linked to the alpha NPA and the overall Added Pension limit may be different in alpha.

Can a member transfer their Added Years/Added Pension from PCSPS to the alpha scheme?

No, but members can apply to take out a separate Added Pension option in alpha, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions.

Where can I find forms and supporting documentation for EPA / alpha Added Pension?

You can find the documentation here.

What is the maximum amount of alpha added pension a member can buy?

This is currently, £6,500. This is subject to review in the future.

Will the annual benefit statements show all schemes the member has contributed to?

Yes.

Can you tell us more about phase 2 of the Data Cleanse Programme?

Cabinet Office are working on a business case and the approach to the exercise. As soon as we have further information, we will engage with you.

How will Employers know if new joiners are eligible for tapered enrolment?

For members who took part in the Options Exercise, the Programme told Employers in January 2015 of the member’s decision or whether they retained their tapered enrolment by default. This information will be refreshed monthly and communicated to Employers in the form of a tapered enrolment report until the end of the options exercise.

For new joiners coming into the PCSPS after 30 September 2014, employers will need to determine the members tapered enrolment date, dependent on their NPA. Employers will use the joiner calculator and joiners questionnaire to understand the tapered enrolment date.

If a member returns to service within 5 years, do they continue to contribute to their existing alpha pension?

Yes.

Are there clear guidelines regarding qualifying breaks?

Yes, please refer to the Employer Impact Documents on Eligibility and Enrolment.

If a member opts out of their original scheme, which scheme will they opt back into?

The member will re-join the scheme they would have been eligible to join, had they not opted out as long as they opt back in 5 years or less after their original decision. When re-assessing rejoiners, Employers should take into account the alpha enrolment date.

Can a member contribute by lump sum to EPA?

No.

Can the member make changes to EPA contributions during the scheme year?

No.

Are EPA back payments allowed?

Back payments may be allowed, if a member's EPA application was lost and the member can provide adequate evidence for this. Otherwise, a member can not open an EPA option mid year, and retrospectively pay contributions unless they are a new joiner.

The value of accrued EPA counts towards the total added pension limit – where will this be recorded so the Employer knows if the member has reached their total added pension limit?

MyCSP will carry out the headroom check and advise the member if their application is accepted.

Where a member’s tapered enrolment was delayed because of an ill heath retirement (IHR) application what date should I enrol them in alpha if they are unsuccessful?

Refer to section 1 in the ill health retirement employer impact document.

What is the process for IHR for those in the tapered enrolment group?

Refer to section 2 in the ill health retirement employer impact document.

Who is available to help resolve Data Validation warnings / rejections?

MyCSP has a dedicated Systems team who will be available to provide assistance to employers in resolving their data errors and warnings. Please eMail systemsservicedesk@mycsp.co.uk 

How can an Employer add additional email addresses to warnings / rejects distribution lists?

Employers should contact the MyCSP systems team to add additional members.

Where is the new manual interface that incorporates the additional data validations?

The revised manual interface has been released and communicated to Employers. Please contact systemsservicedesk@mycsp.co.uk if you have any questions about the manual interface

Refund contributions – Why are Employers receiving rejects / warnings for a negative value?

Contributions should be provided to MyCSP on a cumulative year-to-date basis so should increase with each interface submission. Where a refund is made to an employee, the corrected year-to-date contribution figure must be supplied, not the refunded amount. As a consequence, any negative (refunded) figures will be rejected with the expectation that the employer resubmits the corrected year-to-date contribution figure. Where a refund results in a zero contribution balance then a figure of £0.00 should be provided.

Who sends the Data validation warnings / rejections to Employer? When does the Employer get informed? What are the deadlines for resubmission?

Error and warning reports will be sent to employers by the MyCSP Systems team after each HR interface submission.

In the first instance data errors should be fixed on the employer's HR/Payroll system and resubmitted in the following months interface. However, should changes not be possible on the HR/payroll, an ad-hoc interface containing the corrected data should be provided using the MyCSP Spreadsheet interface. This must be provided before the next month's regular interface submission.

How often will the reject / warning reports be run and sent to Employers?

The errors and warnings reports will be provided after every employer interface submission, if there are data issues.

If a member changes employment, how will the new employer know their tapered end date?

For members who have moved from one Civil Service pension employer to another, the OGD transfer form has been extended to capture the tapered enrolment date. Where employers do not know the tapered enrolment date, and the member meets the eligibility criteria, we can find their tapered enrolment date here.

Why was it decided that arrears of earnings will be allocated to the year earned and not paid? This is a change from nuvos.

During policy definition it was decided that it was fairer for the member to have earnings allocated in the year earned, as opposed to the year paid. Therefore, payroll should remain open. MyCSP will allocate the earnings to the year earned to calculate the pension built up.  Employers should deduct contribution as set out in EPN 403.

How regularly will the Government assess the contribution rates based on salary banding?

This is an annual task and is subject to consultation with Trades Unions and The Treasury.

What happens if the Employer migrates members into alpha at the wrong time?

If a member is incorrectly enrolled into alpha then once the mistake is discovered their employer must retrospectively amend their record to show them migrating at the right time.

Will the 2015 contributions changes apply to all members?

Yes, all members will move to the 2015 contribution arrangements regardless of what scheme they are in.

What are the impacts of TUPE transfers on enrolling members into alpha?

This will depend on the terms of the transfer.  If you have a TUPE transfer please contact The Pension Schemes Executive at least 3 months before it is due to happen at pcspsadmissions@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Why are employers being asked to capture service from other public service Employers?

To determine if a member has full protection or tapered protection from another public service pension scheme. MyCSP require this information to establish if there is a final salary link.

 

Are seasonal staff treated differently in terms of enrolling members into alpha?

No.

What is the relevance of a qualifying break for assessing Tapered Enrolment eligibility?

In order to assess eligibility for tapered enrolment, in relation to a qualifying break, the following conditions must be met:

  • Member was on a qualifying break from the PCSPS scheme, or another public service scheme
  • between 31 March 2007 and 31 March 2012 inclusive

Who is responsible for the migration process?

The Employer, or shared service, if this has been agreed.

Will MyCSP notify employers when data has been loaded to the database?

Currently, MyCSP notifies Employers if there are any data issues once the interface has been loaded. However, if there are no errors MyCSP does not notify the Employer.

Can employers have access to Compendia to validate records?

No, Employers will not have direct access to Compendia due to data protection and information security reasons.

Are the tapered protection and full protection rules the same across all the civil service and public sector pension schemes?

In the main yes. Any difference in treatment comes down to the NPAs for each scheme. There are some Local Government Pension Scheme members who are not entitled to tapered enrolment. 

What is the Options Exercise?

The options exercise is where members who are eligible for Tapered Enrolment are asked to make their decision about whether to move into the 2015 Scheme at their tapered enrolment end date, or on 1 April 2015. The main exercise that ran from October 2014 has now closed. A very small, exceptional number of members may be entitled to an Option outside of the main exercise.

Will MyCSP confirm members decisions from the Options Exercise?

Yes. MyCSP regularly updates employers, where applicable, about the member’s options preference.

What should employers do if their payroll provider was incorrect or if they are moving payroll providers?

What is the deadline for members to return their options preference?

Members have two months after their pack is generated.

What is Tapered Enrolment?

‘Tapered Enrolment’ is a sliding scale where members who are more than 10 years and 13.5 years from Normal Pension Age, as of 1 April 2012, will remain in their existing scheme between 2 months and 6 years 10 months, depending on their age, before moving to alpha.

If a member receives an options pack late, will they have an extension on the response deadline?

At the Cabinet Office's discretion.

What do we do if we find a member may be eligible for tapered enrolment after October 2014?

Inform MyCSP as soon as possible. It will then be up to Cabinet Office to decide if the member receives an options pack.

When will the revised joiner tool and new starter questionnaire be available?

The revised joiner questionnaire and joiner calculator are now available here.

Can Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) continue in alpha?

Yes, AVCs are separate to alpha and PCSPS.

What do Employers / Payroll providers need to consider in relation to new joiners / re-joiners?

It is the Employer’s responsibility to ensure members are in the right scheme. Employers should use the Pension Questionnaire and the Joiner Tool to help decide which scheme a member should be enrolled into.

Does the Employer need to collect Public Service History if the member falls into the tapered or protected groups?

Employers need to collect Public Service Pension History from all members who join them from 31 March 2007.

What do Employers do with the Public Service History once collected?

Two exercises are required for the collection of Public Service History:

  1. Collection of Public Service History from 31 March 2007 to the adoption of the alpha joiner questionnaire/joiner tool.
  2. Collection of Public Service History for new joiners since Employers started using the alpha joiner questionnaire/joiner tool.

To provide MyCSP with Public Service History for the first part of the exercise we provided instructions at EPN 397.

Do we need to ask non-members for their Public Service History for future eligibility?

No, if member joins or rejoins the PCSPS, members will be asked questions regarding Public Service History.

A protected member has a gap in public service and begins contributing to a private pension. The member then goes back to public service and wants to transfer the private pension. Which scheme would the Employer transfer the private pension to?

For transfers in of non-public service pension the rights go into the scheme that the member belongs.  So PCSPS pre-migration alpha post migration.

Can a member take their alpha pension later than their original (classic/premium/nuvos) pension if the member has two or more pension pots in different schemes?

Yes but only if they leave alpha or partially retire.

What training will be available for employers?

For a discussion on tailored training requirements, please contact your Service Delivery Manager.

Are there any late payment additions to classic/premium benefits if taken after NPA?

No.

Is there a list of other public services pension schemes and the relating NPA’s?

Yes, this will be available on the web in due course.

Is the alpha scheme NPA in line with SPA?

Yes, if a member's SPA goes up, so will the alpha NPA.

Can a member take their classic pension at 60 and keep contributing to alpha?

Only if they partially retire.

What sort of training is available?

You can contact MyCSP for more information about additional support available: training@mycsp.co.uk.