classic plus is a Defined Benefit scheme, with benefits based on final salary combining elements from the classic and premium schemes. Under this option, service up to 30 September 2002 is calculated like classic (subject to minor changes). Service from 1 October 2002 is calculated like premium.


  • Members contribute a percentage of their pensionable earnings. For service up to 30 September 2002, this contribution was specifically for a widow’s/widower’s/surviving civil partner’s pension. From 1 October 2002, the contribution is towards all scheme benefits. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 pension based on 1/60th of final pensionable earnings for each year of reckonable service from 1 October 2002. Plus a pension based on 1/80th of final pensionable earnings for service up to 30 September 2002. 
  • Members will receive a lump sum of 3/80th of their final pensionable earnings for each year of reckonable service up to   30 September 2002. 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 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. 
  • Payments to unmarried partners, subject to qualifying conditions, are available for service from 1 October 2002. The booklet ‘Pensions for partners’ gives more information.


Most civil servants in post on 30 September 2002 were eligible to join classic plus. From 1 October 2002 classic plus became a closed scheme and no new members could join.

Pension age

The current classic plus 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*. They and you will continue to contribute towards their classic plus pension in the normal way.

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

Switching from  classic plus 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