Limitations and allowances
Limit on Added Pension
For purchases before 01 April 2020, the maximum amount of added pension that members can buy is as follows:
- classic £5,700 (plus lump sum of £17,100).
- premium, classic plus, nuvos and alpha £7,000.
The limit will increase in 2020-21 to:
- classic £5,800 (plus lump sum of £17,400).
- premium, classic plus, nuvos and alpha £7,200.
For alpha members, the limit may be reduced if you are also buying EPA (see below).
The Scheme Administrator will check that any application to buy added pension falls within the relevant maximum limit.
Limit on EPA
An alpha member cannot buy EPA if they have bought the maximum amount of added pension. Otherwise, there is no limit on the amount of EPA a member can buy. However, the amount of EPA bought counts towards the limit of added pension that a member can buy.
If you make a contribution through your payroll, tax relief is given at source. If you buy added pension by cheque, you will need to tell HM Revenue & Customs about your contribution and explain you did not receive any tax relief from the pension scheme in relation to the added pension purchase if you wish to receive tax relief.
Please note that buying added pension, particularly with a lump sum, will increase the value of your pension from one year to the next and you could potentially become liable for an Annual Allowance tax charge.
The standard Annual Allowance amount for the tax year 2019/20 is £40,000.
The Annual Allowance is a personal tax responsibility and your employer or pension administrator cannot provide financial advice.
Defined benefit pension schemes such as classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos and alpha are valued by multiplying the pension built up in the year by 16 and adding the increase in any automatic lump sum over the year.
The calculation includes a measure to adjust for the effect of inflation. The Annual Allowance tax charge will normally only affect higher earners, but buying added pension directly affects the amount by which your benefits increase from one year to the next.
You should therefore ensure that you are aware of the potential for an Annual Allowance tax charge before applying.You should also note that, if you are in one of the final salary sections of the Civil Service Pension scheme or have linked final salary service and receive a promotion or large pay rise above the level of inflation, then this will increase the value of your pension in that year and so may limit the amount of added pension you can buy without incurring a tax charge.
If you do exceed the Annual Allowance, you can offset the excess against unused Annual Allowance from the previous three years (if you have bought added pension with a lump sum, or received a large pay increase in previous years this will reduce the amount of unused Annual Allowance you have from previous years).
For more information on the Annual Allowance, please see the HM Revenue & Customs website:
and the Civil Service Pensions and Tax webpage at
How much added pension can I afford?
Please see the added pension calculators on the member calculators page.
The amount of added pension you buy will be adjusted each year in line with prices until you take your pension.
If you have joined your organisation in the last three months, you are able to purchase added pension and/or EPA via monthly contributions from your start date in the scheme. You will not be eligible to make a lump sum contribution towards added pension until you have been in the pension scheme for 12 months.
If an application to purchase added pension via monthly contributions is received by the Scheme Administrator within three months of joining, your contract for added pension will be backdated to your start date.
Scheme Administrator - contact details
Visit the contact us section of the website.