FAQs – 2020 Annual Benefit Statements (ABS)

When will I receive my 2020 ABS?

We’ll issue statements to eligible members between 22 June and 31 August 2020.

You can find out when we’ll be sending out your statement by checking the 2020 ABS distribution schedule.

Statements are sent out by 2nd class post (unless stated otherwise on the schedule), so please allow up to five days after the final date on the distribution schedule for delivery.

How will I receive my ABS?

In 2020 we’ll send an ABS to your home address unless you’re a secure member.

As such, it’s very important that your employer always holds your up to date home address. If you’ve recently changed address or do so in the future, be sure to inform your employer as soon as possible. You can also update your home address and view your ABS online on the Pension Portal.

How accurate is my ABS?

Annual Benefit Statements are an estimate of your pension benefits earned in the Civil Service Pension Scheme(s).

They’re based on the information provided by your employer and are designed to provide an indication of the benefits earned to date.

When you come to claim pension benefits, you can expect to receive a full and accurate quotation and as such, you shouldn’t enter into financial commitments based on the figures provided in your ABS.

What should I do if I do not understand the information contained in my ABS?

Why are there two separate calculations in my ABS?

If you moved into alpha from the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme, your ABS will contain two separate calculations, one for each scheme. The rules and benefits will be different for each scheme.

Why is the percentage of benefits added to my pension this year different to my pension contribution percentage?

Each month your employer will deduct pension contributions from your pay. You will be able to view the deductions on your payslip. The pension contributions are used to cover the cost of the scheme and do not equate to how much pension you have accrued.

The amount you contribute to your pension is based on the ‘pay band’ your earnings fall into each pay period. Please remember that these contribution rates are subject to change. The employee contribution rates for the current scheme year are below (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021):

Annual Rate of pensionable earnings

Member contributions rates

£0.00 - £22,600

4.60%

£22,601 to £54,900

5.45%

£54, 901 to £150,000

7.35%

£150,001 and above

8.05%

Example of alpha contribution deductions detailed on your payslip

During the scheme year, a member had pensionable earnings of £16,000.

Based on current rates they would pay contributions at 4.60%.

Pensionable earnings x member contribution rate = amount of contributions paid during the scheme year.

£16,000.00 x 4.60% = £736.00  

alpha pension detailed on your ABS

alpha is an occupational pension scheme covered by Civil Service Pensions. alpha provides a defined benefit worked out on a Career Average basis. A Career Average pension scheme means you build up a pension based on a percentage of how much you earn each year.

You build up alpha pension by adding 2.32% of your actual pensionable earnings from each scheme year to your alpha pension. This is the amount you actually get paid (before any tax or National Insurance is deducted).

Example of alpha pension earned as shown on your ABS

During the scheme year, a member had pensionable earnings of £16,000.

2.32% of a member’s pensionable earnings is used to calculate their alpha pension.

Pensionable earnings x 2.32% = amount of alpha pension accrued up to 31 March 2020

£16,000.00 x 2.32 % = £371.20

An annual adjustment is then applied to the total pension balance at the start of the following scheme year in line with the Consumer Price Index. For 2020, the increase is 1.7%:

£371.20 x 1.7% = £6.31

£371.20 + £6.31 = £377.51

Which elements of my pay do you use to calculate the benefits on my ABS?

Members of classic, classic plus or premium

We calculate the benefit amounts on your ABS using the following:

  • Your basic salary and pensionable allowances as at 31 March 2020; and
  • Any pensionable bonuses you received in the last 12 months up to 31 March 2020.

A simple calculation to work out your pensionable earnings is:

Salary + allowances + pensionable bonuses in payment at 31 March = pensionable earnings

However, upon retirement the full scheme calculation to find your best pensionable earnings will be used.

Members of nuvos and alpha

We calculate the benefit amounts as follows:

alpha 2.32%, of your actual pensionable earnings up to 31 March each year.

nuvos 2.3% of your actual pensionable earnings up to 31 March each year.

What information do you use to calculate the benefits shown on my ABS?

It’s based on:

  • the scheme(s) that you belong to;
  • the number of years reckonable service within the final salary scheme(s);
  • the amount of your earnings and contributions; and
  • any other additional benefits you may have such as transferred-in service and added pension.

Please note that your ABS can only give an indication of the likely amount you can expect to receive when you retire. It isn’t a guarantee of the actual amount that you’ll receive - this must be calculated at the time of your retirement.

How much are pension contributions?

The amount you contribute to your pension is based on the ‘pay band’ your earnings fall into each pay period. Please remember that these contribution rates are subject to change. The employee contribution rates for the current scheme year are below (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)

Annual Rate of   pensionable earnings

Member contributions rates

£0.00 - £22,600

4.60%

£22,601 to £54,900

5.45%

£54,901 to £150,000

7.35%

£150,001 and above

8.05%

Why does my ABS not have future projections in it?

Members of the alpha scheme

The earliest age that you can take your full unreduced pension benefits, is your State Pension age. Because this is different for each member, we can’t project what your benefits might be at a single Normal Pension Age.

Members of alpha with banked service in one of the Principal Civil Service Pension Schemes (PCSPS), which include classic, classic plus, nuvos and premium.

We can’t project what your benefits might be because Normal Pension Age is different for the alpha and PCSPS portions of your pension.

However, we’ve now introduced a pre-populated retirement modeller which enables you to compare up to five ‘personalised’ estimates based on different retirement options.

You can use the retirement modeller by logging into the Pension Portal. This will use the information we hold on you, such as length of service, date of birth, etc. and will no longer require you to input your details from your ABS.

I haven't received my 2020 ABS can I request one?

Please check the 2020 ABS distribution schedule to see when you should receive your statement.

Statements are sent out by 2nd class post (unless stated otherwise on the schedule), so please allow up to five days after the final date on the distribution schedule for delivery.

You can request a 2020 ABS if you’re an active scheme member. If you’re a deferred or pension credit member, then you can request a deferred benefit statement.

What do I need to do with my ABS?

It’s important that you check all the information in your statement carefully and make sure that both the personal details and pension scheme information are correct.

How is my service, shown on the ABS, calculated?

Members of final salary schemes (classic, classic plus and premium)

In your ABS, your service will be counted in two ways:

1. Reckonable service – this is the service that counts towards your pension benefits. The following circumstances don’t count as reckonable service:

  • unpaid leave
  • career breaks
  • strike days
  • sick pay at pension rate

If you need to know if any of these have been applied to your pension record, please contact your employer.

2. Qualifying service - this is usually the length of time you have been in employment.

However, for some members this may not be as straight forward. For example where transferred in service has been agreed to count as qualifying but non-reckonable.

Members of nuvos and alpha

Your pension benefits are accrued based on the pensionable earnings you receive, as such if you work part-time hours you’ll receive pro-rated pensionable earnings.

If you have part-time service:

Final salary schemes (classic, classic plus, premium)

Part-time reckonable service is calculated on a pro-rata basis, so reckonable service accrues in line with the hours you have worked. This is calculated as follows:

Part-time hours/full time hours X reckonable service

If you are partially retired:

Your ABS only provides the details of your active service. Reckonable service and pension is calculated from the day after you take partial retirement. 

If you have deferred service:

Any deferred service will not show on your statement. Your ABS only provides the details of your active service.

If you would like a current value for your deferred service, please contact us.

If you have casual service:

Casual employment is not reckonable for pension purposes apart from in the specific circumstances below.

Between 1 April 1993 and 30 September 2002, if you were in a casual post and fulfilled either of the following conditions:

a)      You transferred directly from a casual to permanent pensionable appointment.

b)      You were still in post on or after 20 July 1995.

If either occurred, a proportion of that period of casual service is reckonable.

Proportion of classic casual service calculation

The proportion of casual service that counts after 1 April 1993 is dependent upon the employee’s age at the point the permanent employment was taken up and is as follows:

Age

Proportion

Under 30

70% of casual service is pensionable

30 - 39

60% of casual service is pensionable

40 - 44

55% of casual service is pensionable

45 - 49

50% of casual service is pensionable

50 - 54

40% of casual service is pensionable

55 and over

35% of casual service is pensionable

I need to update my death benefit nomination, how do I do it?

Is my previous service included on my ABS?

Your ABS only includes your most recent period of active service. This includes any previous service that you may have aggregated (classic to classic, classic to classic plus or classic to premium) or linked service (alpha or nuvos to any final salary scheme) to your current, active service.

Please note: If you’ve chosen not to aggregate your previous service, it won’t be included on your ABS. 

If you have previous service in the Civil Service Pension arrangements that you haven’t aggregated with your current active service, you may have a deferred pension. This would entitle you to a deferred benefit statement. Upon request, members can receive a deferred benefit statement each scheme year. This will provide up to date details of your deferred benefits, including any relevant pension increases. 

To request a deferred benefit statement, please contact us.

Why does my ABS only cover part of the year?

This could be because either:

  • your employer was unable to provide us with all the information we needed to produce a full statement for you; or
  • you joined after 1 April 2019, in which case, your statement will only show the benefits you have built up from the date you joined until 31 March 2020.

Why isn’t my spouse’s pension half of my classic pension?

The level of the continuing pension will depend on the contributions you have paid. If you joined classic after 1 June 1972 (men) or 1 July 1987 (women), the continuing pension for your widow or widower is normally one half of your pension, though it may be less if you were married after leaving the Civil Service. If you die leaving a surviving civil partner, their continuing pension will be based on your service from 6 April 1988 only.

If you are a man and were in post before 1 June 1972, your service before that date will normally provide a widow’s pension of 1/3rd of your pension. This is unless: in 1972 you chose to pay increased contributions to provide a one half pension; or you were in service on 14 July 1949 and opted not to provide a widow’s pension.

If you are a woman and were in post before 1 June 1987, you were only able to provide a widower’s pension if your husband was dependent on you.

The contribution rate was the same as for men and the pension payable the same as for a widow.

If I ask you to update my pension record, will I automatically receive an updated ABS?

No. We’ll update your pension record and you will be able to view your new ABS online on the Pension Portal.

If you would like us to post a copy of your new ABS, please contact us to request this.

Why is my alpha death benefit lump sum on my ABS not based on my pensionable earnings?

Your death-in-service lump sum is payable based on your pensionable pay at the ABS statement date (31 March 2020).

For example, your salary and open allowances in payment on this date and any bonuses that you received in the 12 months preceding this date will have been included.

This differs from the calculation of your total actual pensionable earnings for your alpha pension.

How do you calculate the death-in-service lump sum shown on my ABS?

The amount shown is an estimate based on when your ABS was produced. Please see below for information on how your death in service lump sum has been calculated:

classic:

2 x pensionable earnings (if you are part time we will have used your actual pensionable earnings)

classic plus and premium:

3 x pensionable earnings (if you are part time we will have used your actual pensionable earnings)

nuvos:

The greater of:

  • Two years final pay; or
  • Five times your pension that you had built up in the scheme.

alpha:

The greater of:

  • Five times the pension built up, less any payments already made from the Civil Service Pension arrangements.
  • Two times final pay less any lump sum payments due (or already paid) from the Civil Service Pension arrangements.

Please note, most transition members with continuity of service will qualify for a lump sum in accordance with the above rules.

Members who joined alpha with continuity of service from the PCSPS classic plus or premium schemes also qualify for an additional payment. If a member dies between 1 April 2015 and 31

March 2025, then they receive between 1 and 0.1 of their final pay in addition to their alpha benefits.

What is an Annual Benefit Statement (ABS)?

Your ABS is a summary of your Civil Service pension benefits up to 31 March 2020.

We produce your ABS using information provided by your employer.

In it, you’ll find details about your pension such as:

  • your benefits at a glance including what you’ve built up so far and the earnings we use to calculate your benefits;

  • your scheme member number;

  • your pension and tax including percentage of Lifetime Allowance used;

  • any Death Benefit Nominee(s); and

  • any additional service or benefits you may have added.

You’ll also find personal details including your:

  • full name;

  • date of birth;

  • NI number; and

  • home address (unless you work for a secure employer).

Does my ABS take into account Pension Sharing Orders or Earmarking Orders?

The amount shown on your statement takes into account Pension Sharing Orders, which have been received and processed by the Scheme Administrator. However, Earmarking Orders aren’t included on your ABS as they’re based on the value of your benefits when you come to retire.

How do you calculate benefits for pre-fresh start prison officers with reserved rights?

If you’re a pre-fresh start prison officer with reserved rights, your reckonable service is doubled after you’ve served more than 20 years. Your qualifying service may therefore appear lower than your reckonable service on your Annual Benefit Statement.