I am leaving after I have built up two years’ qualifying service, what do I get?

You will get a pension if you either have two or more years’ qualifying service or have brought a transfer in from another pension arrangement.

If you are leaving before you are old enough to claim your pension (the minimum pension age in alpha is currently age 55) or just do not want to claim it yet, you will get a preserved pension.

Do I have to leave my job?

No. Your pension will be preserved when you leave the pension scheme. This can happen when you resign from your current job, but also if you choose to opt out of the pension scheme.

What is a preserved pension?

This is the pension you have built up to the date you leave alpha. This pension is then adjusted in line with prices each year.

Can I have a refund of contributions or a transfer out instead?

As you have qualified for a pension, you cannot have a refund of your contributions. However, you may be able to transfer out your preserved pension (to a qualifying scheme) at a later date. We are unable to transfer benefits to a defined contribution arrangement if you have qualified for a pension.

I transferred in a pension from another pension scheme. Does this affect anything?

The transfer in will have bought you some additional alpha pension, and this will make up part of your preserved pension.

Generally if you bring in a transfer from a personal pension you will be eligible for a preserved pension.

How is the preserved award worked out?

Each year 2.32% of your pensionable earnings is added to your alpha pension, and at the start of every scheme year the total pension you have built up is adjusted in line with prices. Section 01B - Building up your benefits has more detail on this.

When your pension is preserved 2.32% of your current year’s earnings are added to the benefits you have built up to date. The total forms the basis of your preserved pension. From this point each year your preserved alpha pension is adjusted in line with prices.

I was buying an EPA. Does this affect anything?

Your preserved pension will include the EPA portion of your alpha pension that you were buying.

I was buying added pension. Does this affect anything?

Your preserved pension will include your added pension.

Does my preserved pension increase in value?

Each year your pension is adjusted in line with prices.

When can I claim my preserved pension?

If you want to claim your alpha pension in full, without any early payment reduction, you must wait until your alpha Normal Pension Age (NPA).

If you have bought an EPA, the portion of your alpha pension attributable to the EPA option can be claimed unreduced from your selected EPA date; any amount of normal alpha pension brought in to payment will be reduced.

Does claiming before my NPA affect my pension?

Yes. Your pension will be reduced for early payment if you claim it before your NPA because it is likely to be paid for a longer period of time.

The exact amount of reduction can vary, but in general the earlier you claim your pension, the greater the reduction will be.

This reduction is permanent. Your pension will not return to its full value once you reach your NPA.

EPA portions of your pension can be paid in full one, two or three years earlier than your alpha NPA depending on the EPA option you chose.

Does claiming it after my alpha NPA affect my pension?

Yes. Your pension will be increased for late payment if it is claimed after your NPA, because it is likely to be paid for a shorter period of time.

The exact amount of increase can vary. Every year after your NPA that you do not claim it, you get an additional increase added to your preserved pension.

These increases stop once you have claimed your pension.

How do I claim my preserved pension?

You will need to contact Civil Service Pensions to start the process of claiming your pension. You should give at least four months’ notice to ensure that everything is in place in time for your first payment date.

You will get a quote and claim forms to complete and return to the Scheme Administrator confirming your chosen options and personal details.

Leaving with two or more years’ service, including 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 what happens to both parts of your pension if you leave.

I was in the PCSPS before moving into alpha. How does this affect me?

If you have more than two years’ total qualifying service, we will preserve your benefits. You will have two preserved pensions, one for your benefits in the PCSPS and one for your benefits in alpha.

I was in alpha for less than two years. Do I get a refund of my contributions?

You are eligible for a refund only if your total qualifying service is under two years. If your combined qualifying service in the PCSPS and alpha is two or more years, you will get a preserved pension in each scheme.

I am leaving before my alpha NPA, but after my PCSPS NPA.

If you leave employment as well as alpha, and you are over your PCSPS NPA (usually age 60, or age 65 for nuvos), you can get your PCSPS pension paid immediately. Your alpha pension will still be preserved

unless you are over the minimum pension age and you claim it early. The alpha pension will be reduced for early payment.

I am leaving before both my alpha NPA and PCSPS NPA.

You will get a preserved pension based on both schemes.

If you are over the scheme’s minimum pension age you can look into claiming the pension on early payment terms. Each part of your pension could have a different minimum pension age and would be reduced for early payment.

I am leaving after both my alpha NPA and PCSPS NPA.

You will have the option to take both of your pensions paid immediately.

I was in classic, classic plus, premium. Are there any special considerations?

You will still be able to claim the classic, classic plus or premium parts of your pension in full from that scheme’s NPA. For most people this is age 60.

The final salary we will use to calculate this part of your pension will be your pensionable earnings or final pensionable earnings worked out under the rules for that scheme.

I was in nuvos. Are there any special considerations?

You will still be able to claim the nuvos part of your pension in full from the nuvos scheme’s NPA, for most people this is age 65.

If you have any final salary elements to this pension, from a Club scheme or you have linked service from a previous classic, classic plus, or premium pension, we will use your pensionable earnings worked out under the nuvos rules.

My classic or classic plus pension had an automatic lump sum. Will I still get this?

Yes. You will get the automatic lump sum from the classic or classic plus part of your pension when you claim your preserved pension.

Published:
14 December 2021
Last updated:
29 June 2022