classic is a Defined Benefit scheme, with benefits based on final salary.


  • Members contribute a percentage of pay towards a widow’s/widower’s/surviving civil partner’s pension, as well as   towards their own pension. 
  • Members receive tax relief on contributions subject to HMRC limits. 
  • You make a monthly contribution (ASLC) to the Cabinet Office Civil Superannuation Vote for each member. It is the equivalent of the employer’s contribution to a funded scheme. 
  • Members may buy added pension or contribute to a money-purchase top-up arrangement. They can buy amounts of extra pension either through regular payments or by lump sum (see section 5 (‘Your responsibilities when staff are in service’)).









  • A retirement pension based on 1/80th of final pensionable earnings for each year of reckonable service and a lump sum equivalent to 3/80ths of final pensionable earnings for each year of reckonable service. 
  • As above, members will receive an automatic lump sum on retirement. They can exchange some or all of their lump sum for additional pension for themselves, or for themselves and their   widow/widower/surviving civil partner. They can also choose to take a higher lump sum, giving up £1 of annual pension for every £12 of lump sum. There are restrictions, set by HM Revenue and Customs, on the total amount of the lump sum. Taking a higher lump sum, however, will impact on the ‘death after retirement’ guarantee. 
  • The pension will be index linked annually. 
  • Ill-health retirement benefits. 
  • Lump sum death benefits. 
  • Family benefits for members’ dependants.


Most staff in post before 1 October 2002 were eligible for membership. From 1 October 2002 classic became a closed scheme and no new members could join. Some rejoiners may be able to join classic subject to their eligibility.

See section 4 (‘Your responsibilities when staff join’) for eligibility.

Members in post on 30 September 2002 could choose whether to stay in classic or transfer to classic plus or premium.

Pension age

The current classic pension age is 60. However, members can draw their benefits earlier, subject to an early payment (actuarial) reduction.

If members choose to work past age 60, they can build up pension benefits to the age of 75*. You and the member will continue to contribute towards their classic pension in the normal way up to the member’s 75th birthday (see Section 7 (Members reaching age 75 (classic, classic plus, premium or nuvos)).

*Subject to the maximum number of years’ service. See section 3.5 (‘Paying for Civil Service pensions’) for details.

Switching from  classic to partnership and vice versa

Switching can occur at any point, but only once during a 12 month period. Members will need to complete the switch form and send it to their HR department two months before the switch date.

21 December 2021
Last updated:
21 December 2021