When you start a career in the Civil Service, you you have the option of joining either the alpha or partnership pension scheme. More information about partnership can also be found on the provider’s website: www.legalandgeneral.com/csp.

You can register your choice by filling in the Pension Choices form enclosed in your New Starter Pack and send it to the return address shown on the form.

What kind of pension scheme is it?

alpha

Defined benefit scheme. It offers a pension income based on your earnings over your career and your years of membership in the scheme.

partnership

Defined contribution scheme. A type of pension where benefits are dependent on contributions and the growth of the pension fund.

How much will I pay?

alpha

You will contribute a percentage of your pensionable earnings. The percentage you contribute will depend on how much you earn.

partnership

You do not have to pay anything. You can pay as much as you like up to 100% of your pensionable earnings. Your employer will match your contributions, up to 3%.

How much will my employer pay?

alpha

Your employer will contribute a percentage of your pensionable earnings. Please
see the contribution rates page for more information.

partnership

Your employer will contribute a percentage of your pensionable earnings. Please
see the partnership page for more information.

Will I get tax relief on my contributions?

alpha

You get tax relief on contributions, subject to HM Revenue & Customs rules.

partnership

You get tax relief on contributions, subject to HM Revenue & Customs rules.

How does my pension build up?

alpha

You build up alpha pension at a rate of 2.32% of your pensionable pay each year.

partnership

Contributions are invested in a fund of your choice by your partnership pension provider.

Retirement pension

alpha

This will be made up of the 2.32% of your pensionable earnings each year, adjusted in line with prices.

partnership

Contributions are invested to build up a pension pot.

Lump sum

alpha

You can choose to exchange 25% of the total value of your pension benefits for a tax-free lump sum, subject to limits set by HM Revenue & Customs.

partnership

You can choose to exchange some, or all of your pension pot for a lump sum, subject to limits set by HM Revenue & Customs.

When can I take my pension?

alpha

In alpha, you have a Normal Pension Age (NPA), which is the same as your State Pension age or age 65 if later. You can take your pension before your NPA, although your benefits will be reduced to take account of early payment. The minimum pension age in alpha is age 55.

partnership

You can take your pension from age 55.

You don’t have to retire to take your pension.

Ill-health benefits

alpha

You can apply for ill-health retirement.

If the Scheme Medical Adviser confirms your health will permanently prevent you from being able to do your current job, you can have your alpha pension paid early. Your pension can be increased if you are unlikely to be able to return to any sort of employment.

partnership

You can apply for an ill-health payment.

If the Scheme Medical Adviser confirms your health will permanently prevent
you from being able to do your current job, you could receive a lump sum
when you leave. This is separate from the partnership pension account. You may also be able to access your pension pot before age 55 if you become seriously ill or incapacitated and are unable to carry out your normal
occupation.

What benefits are there for my family?

alpha

If you die with at least one year of service, alpha will provide a pension for either: your spouse, civil partner, or partner, plus any dependent children you may have.

If you die in service, alpha also provides a lump sum that can be paid to people or an organisation that you nominate.

partnership

If you die before taking your benefits, your beneficiaries will receive the benefits you have built up in partnership. You will be asked to nominate who you wish to receive this. The provider will choose how these benefits are paid depending on the circumstances of your dependants. The provider will take your nomination into consideration when doing this

If you die in service a lump sum can be paid to people or organisations that you nominate. This is separate from the partnership pension account.

On retirement, you can choose whether or not to provide a pension for your dependants as well as for yourself.

Published:
30 November 2021
Last updated:
22 February 2022