Caring responsibilities and your pension

This page is for pension scheme members with caring responsibilities.

Information on this page

Caring and your pension

Your pension is one of the most important benefits you have as a civil servant.

As a carer, it’s important that you understand your options if your responsibilities impact on your pension.

Carers are more likely to:

  • take unpaid leave and career breaks
  • work part-time
  • retire early.

Changing your working pattern

If you have caring responsibilities, you may need to change your working pattern.

Whether you take unpaid leave, work seasonally, or begin to work part-time, this could impact on your pension.

Our Life Events video contains information on changing working patterns and the impact on your pension of:

  • part-time service
  • unpaid absences and breaks

Further details can be found in our Changing Working Patterns booklet, which covers:

  • how your pension is calculated
  • how part-time work is calculated
  • career breaks
  • maternity/paternity breaks and special leave, and ways to increase your pension.

Early and partial retirement

If your circumstances change, you may think about taking early or partial retirement.

Early retirement

You can claim your full pension benefits when you reach normal pension age, which is usually 60 for classic, classic plus and premium members, 65 for nuvos members, and 65 or State Pension age (whichever is higher) for alpha members.

If you leave the Civil Service after reaching age 50 (55 if you joined after 01/04/06) but before your normal pension age, you can claim your benefits early, but they will be reduced because they will be paid for longer. The Early Retirement Calculator can provide an estimate of the benefits you might receive if you elect to retire before normal pension age.

More information about early retirement can be found in Thinking about retirement - A brief guide to the benefits available.

Partial retirement

With the agreement of your employer, you can draw some or all of your pension and remain in work.

Your employer has to consider the needs of the business first, so you will not have an automatic right to partial retirement. You must also be prepared to have your job reshaped to reduce your earnings by at least 20%.

You can find more information on the dedicated partial retirement page.

Benefits for your loved ones

The Civil Service pension scheme provides benefits for your loved ones in the event of your death.

If you die with at least two years’ service (one year’s service in alpha), Civil Service Pensions may provide your spouse, civil partner, or partner and any dependent children with a pension.

Depending on the circumstances when you die, a lump sum may also be paid to people or an organisation that you nominate. You can view, amend and make a new death benefit nomination in the Pension Portal.

Registering a Power of Attorney

If you look after an ex-civil servant, you may be required to manage their pension affairs.

If so, you’ll need a Power of Attorney in order for us to accept any forms signed on the member’s behalf.

If a member has lost the capacity to manage their financial affairs, the courts can grant a Court of Protection Order. A Power of Attorney can be set up by the member when they are in good mental health.

You may wish to contact a solicitor for help in setting up Power of Attorney or gaining a Court of Protection order. Some guidance on Power of Attorney is available on the Gov.uk website.

Increase your pension 

If your pension has been affected by changing your working patterns or periods of unpaid absence, there are options available to help increase your pension.

Making Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS) or buying Added Pension can be a good way to increase an overall retirement fund, especially if you’ve reduced your working hours or had to take career breaks. 

Reduce your pension contributions

To reduce your pension contributions, you can choose to switch to a defined contribution scheme, the partnership pension account. In partnership, your employer will contribute on your behalf and you may choose to contribute too if you wish, although you don’t have to.  

Your employer will contribute between 8% - 14.75% of your pay depending on your age, even if you do not contribute anything. If you decide to contribute, your employer will match the contribution you make up to an additional 3%

Allocate pension to the person you care for when you die

If the individual you care for is your spouse, civil partner or partner (not applicable to classic scheme members) then a pension will be provided to them from the pension scheme.

You also have the option to give up part of your pension to provide benefits for another person. This is known as ‘allocation’ of pension. You may choose to add to the benefits you have already provided for your husband, wife, civil partner or partner, or to provide for another person who is dependent on you.

To allocate part of your pension you:

  • must be eligible
  • give up part of your pension permanently
  • can only allocate at final retirement; it is not possible to allocate when you take partial retirement.
  • must make your allocation decision before we start to pay your final pension.
  • cannot change or cancel the allocation, even if the person who would have received the benefits dies first.
  • note that the pension you allocate is payable for life and is not affected if you get married again or enter into a civil partnership.

If you are interested in allocating your pension, contact the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). They will tell you how your pension will be affected and what to do next. 

Manage your pension in the Pension Portal

The Pension Portal is the easy way to manage your pension. It allows you to:

  • view your most recent Annual Benefit Statements
  • view and amend your personal details
  • make or update a death benefit nomination
  • use the pre-populated retirement modeller to estimate what your pension could be when you retire

If you've already registered, log in to use the Pension Portal.

To register, follow our step by step guide to registering for the Pension Portal.

Other useful information