What is full retirement?

Full retirement is for members who want to start accessing their pension, and are ready to leave work completely.

Can I fully retire?

Full retirement is available for all active members, but you must:

  • be over your minimum pension age (current age 55)
  • have built up some alpha pension.

Do I have to wait until my Normal Pension Age (NPA)?

No. You could retire from alpha’s minimum pension age. But if you do take it before your alpha NPA, it will be reduced because it is likely to be paid for a longer time.

How does retirement work?

After being notified of your chosen retirement date the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will send you a quote of the pension you have built up and the forms you need to complete to claim it.

You will need to complete and return the forms and documentation to confirm your chosen option. Your pension will be payable monthly in arrears and any lump sum will be paid once the correct documents are received and the scheme administrator has processed your benefits. You should not enter into any financial commitments until you have received the payment.

Find out more about claiming your pension

What if I have an EPA or a Club transfer in?

Each EPA portion of your pension is adjusted for late or early payment independently; see Sections 02E and 02F for more details on late payment and early payment. A Club transfer is adjusted this way too.

Can I exchange some alpha pension for a lump sum?

Yes. This is based on your pension that will be coming into payment. You will get the details of the maximum amount you can take with your retirement quote. This is subject to limits set by HM Revenue & Customs.

What about tax?

When your pension comes into payment it will be checked against the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) to see how much of the LTA it uses up. If your pensions go over 100% of the LTA you will have to pay a tax charge.

Pensions in payment are taxed as an income, the exact amount you pay is determined by how much you get. Any lump sum that you choose is usually tax free.

Full retirement and the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS)

This section only applies to members who were in the PCSPS (classic, classic plus, premium, or nuvos) before 01 April 2015, and then moved from that scheme into alpha.

It does not cover every aspect of the scheme; full details are set out in the scheme rules, which are the legal basis of the scheme. You can find copies of the PCSPS scheme rules on the Civil Service Pensions website.

Nothing in this guide can override the scheme rules. Every effort has been made to make this guide as accurate as possible, but in the event of any difference, the rules will apply. This guide is based on the rules current at the time of publication and there is no guarantee that any part of the rules will not change in the future. You should be aware that tax rates and limits are subject to change.

If this section applies to you, please read it carefully to understand your options at retirement from both parts of your pension.

If you have either banked benefits, or banked service, from the PCSPS your total pension will be made from two different parts; your PCSPS benefits and your alpha pension.

Can I claim my PCSPS pension at retirement?

Yes. Your pension will come into payment when you claim it at retirement.

My PCSPS minimum pension age is 50. Can I retire at that age?

Yes, but only claiming your PCSPS pension. This means when you leave employment, your alpha pension will be preserved to be claimed at a later date. If you are still employed in the Civil Service or return to Civil Service employment your pension may be reduced (abated).

My PCSPS pension was based on a final salary. When is this worked out?

This is worked out at, or close to, the date you retire, based on the rules of the relevant section of the scheme.

Do I get a lump sum from the PCSPS part of my benefits?

In premium and nuvos you get the option to exchange some of your pension for a lump sum. If you were a classic or classic plus member you will still get the automatic lump sum and you may have an option to exchange some of your pension for an additional lump sum.

I was in classic or classic plus. Can I get a refund of Widows Pension Scheme (WPS) contributions?

You can receive a refund of your WPS contributions, if you were single when you left classic / classic plus and have remained single until you claim your pension. You may also get a refund if your marriage / civil partnership ended while you were a classic / classic plus and have remained single until you claim your pension. The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will check your eligibility when working out your pension. Your refund will be paid when you claim all of your PCSPS pension.

14 December 2021
Last updated:
22 August 2022