classic plus scheme guide


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Where we have had to use technical terms, we show them in bold and explain them at the back of the guide.

The guide does not cover every aspect of classic plus. The full details are contained only in the rules which are the legal basis of the scheme. Nothing in this guide can override the rules and, in the event of any difference, the rules will apply. You should bear in mind that the guide is based on the rules in force at the time of publication; your pension and associated benefits will be worked out using rules that are relevant to your period of service.

Your pension, together with your pay, forms part of your total benefits package. This is your guide to the range of benefits to which you may be entitled as a member of classic plus.

classic plus is one of the pension schemes in the Civil Service pension (CSP) arrangements.

The arrangements cover all civil servants and certain groups of non-civil servants, subject to eligibility. For ease of reference, we use the term ‘civil servant’ in this booklet.

After 31 March 2015, with the introduction of the new scheme alpha, no person is in or is eligible to be in pensionable service under classic plus unless the person is a protected member. This is because all other members would have transitioned into the alpha scheme from 1 April 2015.

A protected member means either a full protection member or a tapered protection member.

If you have transitioned into alpha and you want to find out more about how this affects your pension, you should read the alpha scheme guide.


Overview of classic plus features

classic plus

  • A defined benefit occupational pension scheme based on final salary. The scheme allows for benefits calculated in a similar way to classic for service on and before 30 September 2002 and benefits calculated on a premium basis for service from 1 October 2002.
  • classic plus has a variable contribution rate dependent upon your pensionable earnings. Details of the amount you will pay can be found here. Your employer also makes a significant contribution to your pension.
  • classic plus was contracted out of the *State Second Pension (S2P) between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2016, when contracting out ceased. Due to the contracted out status between 1978 and 2016, members of the scheme paid lower rates of National Insurance contributions and did not build up entitlement to the S2P element of the previous two part state pension.

* The State Second Pension (S2P) was previously known as the State Earnings-Related Pension (SERPS).

  • For most members has a scheme pension age of 60. (You do not, however, have to retire at this age).
  • Gives scope for you to increase your pension by making additional payments (called ‘added pension’). Before the introduction of added pension, you could buy ‘added years’. Added years have now been withdrawn but if you opened an account before 1 March 2008, you may still be contributing.
  • Provides an income that increases in line with rises in the cost of living when you retire and benefits for your dependants after your death.
  • Gives you: – an automatic lump sum from your pre October 2002 service – a choice to give up more of your pension to get an additional lump sum. (Both the automatic and additional lump sums are tax free).
  • Includes valuable life cover before you retire and it may provide protection if you suffer serious ill health.



Up to 30 September 2002, the only pension offered to Civil Servants was the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). On 1 October 2002, Civil Service Pensions introduced a new section of the PCSPS, and existing members of PCSPS were given the choice to stay in their current section – renamed classic – or join the new section, premium, or choose a hybrid of classic and premium, called classic plus.

New entrants cannot join classic plus. Exceptionally, someone who was in classic plus may rejoin classic plus if they are re-employed by the same employer, or by another employer who participates in the CSP arrangements, within 28 days of leaving their previous Civil Service employment. This does not include people who left under compensation terms.

Part-time work and temporary absences from work

Any type of part-time service counts on the basis of the actual hours you work and the equivalent full-time pensionable earnings. However, in the past there have been various restrictions on who can join the scheme depending on the number of hours worked. If you have had part-time service in the past, the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) can tell you how these restrictions may apply to you.

Your pension may be affected if you have a temporary absence from work, depending on the type of absence. Your employer or the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will be able to advise you.

Transferring in previous pension benefits

If you have pension benefits in the scheme of a previous employer, you may transfer them into classic plus. To do so, you must apply, in writing, to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) who will guide you through making the transfer. The transfer must be completed before you leave pensionable service in classic plus.

The transfer value will buy a credit of reckonable service in classic plus and will be used to provide the equivalent of premium benefits (in other words, it will be treated as post-October 2002 service). You should note that the scheme may refuse the transfer if it does not cover the cost of your guaranteed minimum pension. Similarly, the scheme may refuse a transfer where the sending scheme does not meet certain requirements.

Public Sector Transfer Club

Most classic plus members are no longer able to transfer in pension benefits under the Public Sector Transfer Club arrangements or from a non- occupational pension scheme because you have to apply within 12 months of becoming eligible to join classic plus.

If, however, you are entitled to do so, please be aware that an expression of interest into the possibility of transferring in your pension is not considered to be an application. An application is a signed declaration that you are happy for the transfer to proceed.

Opting out

You can opt out of classic plus at any time. However, we advise you to think very carefully about what you are giving up. Before you make a decision, please look at our ‘Opting out’ fact sheet that you can find in the Member Forms section.

You may also wish to consult an Independent Financial Advisor.

If you do decide to opt out you must complete the Opt Out form which is available in the Member Forms section.

If you do not have access to the Internet then the form is also available from the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). The forms must be returned to your employer.

If you decide to opt out your contributions will be repaid:

  • if you have less than 3 months qualifying service AND you do not already have a preserved award; or
  • if you have more than 3 months but less than 2 years qualifying service AND you do not already have a preserved award AND you do not opt to take a transfer out.

You may rejoin classic plus at any time, if you are still eligible to be a member by writing to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). You will be re-entered into classic plus from the next pay period.

There is more information in the ’Leaving early’ section about what happens to the pension benefits you may have built up if you choose to opt out now.

Please note: The Pensions Act 2011 requires all employers to automatically enrol most workers who are not currently in a qualifying pension scheme periodically (usually every three years), from the employer’s staging date. However, the Civil Service applies this to all workers. Your employer will be able to tell you what their staging date is. The opting out fact sheet will give you more information.

Switching schemes

You can switch to partnership, a defined contribution pension at any time. If you want to do this you will need to complete  a Pension Switch form and return it to your employer at least two months before the date you want to switch. You can
find out more about partnership here.

Paying for your benefits

What do I pay?

Up to and including 30 September 2002, you would have contributed 1.5% of your pay towards the cost of providing benefits for your widow, widower or surviving civil partner after your death (the Widow(er)s’ Pension Scheme – WPS). These contributions were mandatory and applied to all members regardless of marital status. However, if you were single on 30 September 2002 and remain single when you retire, you may be entitled to a partial refund of WPS contributions.

From 1 October 2002, your contributions increased to 3.5% of your pensionable earnings to pay for the range of benefits that the premium part of your pension covers. On 1 April 2012 this was changed to a variable contribution rate dependent upon your pensionable earnings.

Details of the amount you will pay can be found on here.

What earnings are pensionable?

As a general rule, only permanent items of pay  are pensionable. This includes any allowances that your employer tells you are pensionable but will not include payments such as overtime.

Bonus payments do not normally count as pensionable earnings. But if you receive pensionable bonus payments, both you and your employer will pay contributions on them.

You may also have some non-cash pensionable earnings – for example, some people’s pensions will take account of a uniform allowance, and others may have an allowance for accommodation. In these circumstances, you and your employer will also pay contributions based on the equivalent cash value of these non-cash pensionable earnings.

If you are on reduced pay during maternity leave (and in certain other circumstances) your employer will make contributions based on the pay that you would have expected if you were not off work. You will make your contributions based on your reduced pay.

There are tax limits on your pension contributions and your pension benefits. You may have to pay extra tax if you exceed the limits. If you are a higher earner you also need to be aware that your pensionable earnings may be limited to the ‘earnings cap’ unless you joined the Civil Service pension arrangements before 1 June 1989.

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) can provide you with more information.

Do I get tax relief?

Your employer takes your contributions from your pay before working out the tax, so you will automatically receive full income tax relief. This is subject to HMRC limits.

Your employer’s contributions

Your employer makes significant contributions to your pension. Employer contribution rates can be found here.

Boosting your pension

Added pension

Added pension is an additional pension that you can choose to buy. It increases in line with rises in the cost of living every year both before and after it comes into payment. When you retire you can choose to give up some of your added pension to take a lump sum.

Find out more about added pension.

Our added pension calculator will give you an idea of the cost of buying added pension.

Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS)

You can pay additional voluntary contributions to the CSAVCS. The provider is Legal & General.

The CSAVCS helps you to build up an additional pension pot which you can use to take an income and/or lump sums from age 55 (or 50 if you had a CSAVCS before 6 April 2006). You do not have to take your CSAVCS benefits at the same time as your Civil Service pension.

Find out more about Civil Service Additional Voluntary Scheme.

Added years

Leaving early

Leaving or opting out – what happens to my pension benefits?

If you leave voluntarily or opt out of classic plus before you retire, you have a choice of options. You can:

  • transfer your classic plus pension rights to another pension scheme;


  • preserve the benefits you have built up within

classic plus for payment when you retire.

Transferring out your classic plus pension rights

You can ask for a transfer payment to be made to another defined benefit scheme. The transfer payment will be equal to the cash value of your benefits.

You will need to consider the following issues before making a transfer.

  • There may be a time limit in the receiving scheme’s rules (for example, if it is a member of the Public Sector Transfer Club, the time limit is 12 months from the date the member first became eligible to join the new employer’s pension scheme).
  • The transfer value may not necessarily buy the same length of service or amount of pension in the new scheme – you should receive an estimate from the new scheme of how much your classic plus benefits will buy before you make your decision.
  • The range and type of benefits offered may be different to those in classic plus. You should consider which is more appropriate for your needs. 
  • You must apply for the transfer before we start the administrative process of paying your pension benefits.

Preserved benefits within classic plus

If you do not transfer your benefits out of classic plus your benefits will normally be paid to you at the scheme pension age (60). You may be able to take your preserved benefits before scheme pension age if you are age 55 or over (or 50 or over if you joined before 6 April 2006) and you apply for immediate payment of your preserved benefits on an actuarially-reduced basis. Your pension benefits will be reduced in line with guidelines set by the scheme actuary to reflect the longer period of payment.

Actuarially-reduced early retirement

Most classic plus members who are aged 50 or over and were in post before 6 April 2006, can choose to retire and take their pension early on an actuarially-reduced basis. The only restrictions are that:

  • you must have two years’ qualifying service or have transferred pension rights into classic plus from a personal pension; and
  • you cannot have an actuarially-reduced pension if it would be less than the amount needed to pay your guaranteed minimum pension at State pension age.

We work out your pension and lump sum in the same way as if you were to retire on or after scheme pension age but reduce payments, permanently, in line with guidelines set by the scheme actuary to reflect the longer period of payment.


The CSP arrangements provide compensation under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme for civil servants who leave early because of:

  • Voluntary exit
  • Voluntary redundancy
  • Compulsory redundancy

Ill health retirement

If you have to leave the Civil Service before you are 60, and our medical advisor agrees that you cannot do your job because your health has broken down permanently, we may pay you your pension when you leave. In these circumstances, we will pay your pension without making any reduction because of early payment and, in certain circumstances, you may be eligible for enhanced reckonable service.

If our medical advisor believes that your ill health is so severe that you are unlikely to work again, we may also give you all the extra years of service you would have expected to have had if you had worked to 60.

Retiring on or after scheme pension age

Partial retirement

Partial retirement allows you, with the agreement of your employer, to draw some or all of your classic plus pension and remain in work. There are certain conditions which you need to be aware of before you apply for partial retirement.

You can find more information on partial retirement here, or ask the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) to send you a copy.

Preparing to fully retire

It will help if you agree your last day of service with your employer as far in advance as you can. Your employer will notify the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) who will send you an estimate of your pension benefits plus a Personal Details Form – this is, effectively, your pension claim form. You should check the details, complete and sign the form, and return it as quickly as possible.

Providing benefits for someone else (allocation)

When you take your pension, you have the option to give up part of it 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.

You need to remember a number of points about allocating part of your pension.

  • You must be eligible
  • You give up part of your pension permanently
  • You can only allocate at final retirement; it is not possible to allocate when you take partial retirement.
  • You must make your allocation decision before we start to pay your final pension.
  • You cannot change or cancel the allocation, even if the person who would have received the benefits dies first.
  • 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, you must contact the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). They will tell you how your pension will be affected and what to do next.

Getting your pension


You will receive an annual pension and a one-off lump sum. Your lump sum will be paid direct to your bank or building society account, whichever you indicate on your Personal Details Form.

Your pension will be paid every month, in arrears, directly into your bank or building society account. Your pension will be treated as earned income for tax purposes; any tax that is due is taken off before the pension is paid.

The amount of your pension will depend on your pensionable earnings and length of reckonable service.

You should be aware that there is a maximum number of reckonable service years we can use, and that is 45.

Before 1 March 2008, the number of years was restricted to 40. However, from 1 March 2008, anyone who had already reached their 40 years’ service could start to build up further service to the maximum of 45.

Refund of widow(er)s’ pension (WPS) contributions (The contributions you paid up to and including 30 September 2002)

If you are unmarried throughout your service you are entitled to a refund of WPS contributions when your pension comes into payment. If you partially retire and claim your pension then the refund of WPS contributions will not be paid until you take full retirement.

If you have been married or in a civil partnership for only part of your service on or prior to 30 September 2002, you are entitled to a refund of the contributions you have paid since your marriage or civil partnership ended. These contributions will be refunded with interest. A deduction of a single, non-returnable payment will be made to cover the cost to the scheme of providing a pension to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner if you marry or enter a civil partnership after claiming your pension and die before your wife, husband or civil partner.

We work out your pension in two parts. You earn 1/80 of your final pensionable earnings for each year of reckonable service in the scheme before 1 October 2002 and 1/60 of your final pensionable earnings for every year of reckonable service in the scheme from 1 October 2002.

Pension at scheme pension age (60)


Lloyd retires after 30 years’ service of which 20 years were before 1 October 2002 and 10 years were from 1 October 2002. Lloyd’s final pensionable earnings are £20,000 a year.


Lloyd’s pension is made up of two elements, worked out as follows:

For service before 1 October 2002 (1/80 x 20) x £20,000 = £5,000

For service from 1 October 2002 (1/60 x 10) x £20,000 = £3,333.32

Total = £8,333.32

Automatic lump sum

Lloyd will get an automatic lump sum relating to his service before 1 October 2002 of 3/80 x 20 x £20,000 = £15,000. (This will be tax free, subject to the Lifetime Allowance.)

Choices on retirement

Additional lump sums

You will be able to choose to give up part of your pension for an additional lump sum. You can choose how much extra lump sum you want up to a maximum set by HMRC. You must give up £1 of annual pension for each £12 of additional lump sum you take. You can find out how much additional lump sum you can take, and the effect it will have on your pension by using the calculator here.

Additional Lump sums - example

Using the information from the example above, the maximum amount of additional lump sum Lloyd can take is £26,071.37.

If Lloyd chooses to take the additional lump sum, he has to give up £1 of pension for every £12 of total lump sum. This means that his pension will permanently reduce by £2,172.61 (£26,071.37÷12).

Pension choice

If Lloyd:

  • takes no additional lump sum he will have a pension of £8,333.32 (£5,000 + £3,333.32) with an automatic lump sum of £15,000; or
  • takes the maximum additional lump sum he will have a pension of £6,160.71 (£8,333.32 - £2,172.61) with a total lump sum of £41,071.37 (made up of his automatic lump sum of £15,000 and maximum additional lump sum of £26,071.37).

He can choose to take any combination of pension and lump sum within the maximum allowed.

Reducing your annual pension in this way generally has no impact on your dependants’ pensions as these are based on your pension before you give any up for a higher lump sum.

However, if you are aged 75 or over when you die, the tax rules on pensions may restrict the total of any dependants’ pensions payable to a maximum of the amount of your pension at the date of your death.

If you take a higher lump sum, your dependants’ pensions may reduce if you die after reaching 75 and leave two or more children under age 18 (or under age 23 if they are in full-time education).

If you are single and eligible to receive a refund of WPS contributions on retirement, you will have less scope to give up pension for an additional lump sum. This is because the total of any WPS refund plus any additional lump sum you choose to take cannot exceed the maximum permitted lump sum.

Pensions increase

Pensions in payment may increase every year in line with the cost of living. All pensioners aged 55 or over get these increases. Preserved benefits are also increased up to the date they become payable.

You will also receive the ‘cost of living’ increases if you are under 55 and if you are retired because of ill health.

Cost of living increases are also added if:

  • a pension is paid to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner; or if
  • a pension is paid to, or in respect of, a child.


Pensions increase

You retire in mid-October with an annual pension of £7,500.

The following April, the cost of living increase is 3.5%.

As you retired exactly halfway through the relevant 12-month period, the pension is increased proportionately (that is, by one half of the total increase – 1.75%).

During the second year, the cost of living increase is 4.2%. Your annual pension becomes £7,631.25 after six months and £7,951.76 a year later.

Death Benefits

Lump sums

A lump sum is payable to the person(s) or organisation you have nominated when you die depending on whether you:

  • were still working for an employer who participates in the CSP arrangements;
  • had retired; or
  • had left with preserved benefits but had not yet reached scheme pension age.

This lump sum is separate to the automatic lump sum that is paid when you take your pension.

As well as the death benefit lump sum, your widow, widower, surviving civil partner or partner and dependent children may also receive a pension.

Nominating someone to receive benefits

You can nominate any person(s), including a child, and/or an organisation (such as a bank, a trust, a firm of solicitors or accountants) to receive the death benefit lump sum. The advantage of making a nomination is that we can pay the benefit without delay.

If you do not nominate anyone, we will pay the death benefit lump sum to your personal representative.

You can add or amend your death benefit nomination on the Pension Portal or by completing a death benefit nomination form. You can download the form from the Members Forms page.

Please make sure that you keep your nomination up to date and that you update it if your wishes or circumstances change.

You should be aware that if you nominated your husband, wife or civil partner and the marriage/civil partnership comes to an end through divorce/dissolution (but not separation), it will no longer be valid and you will have to make a new nomination.

If you separate from a partner to whom you were neither married nor in a civil partnership with and you had nominated them as a beneficiary, the nomination will remain valid. You will need to change or cancel your nomination, if you wish to remove the previous nominee.

Please note that at the time of a divorce or dissolution, a court may order that when a scheme member or a previous member dies, all or part of the death benefit must be paid to the ex-husband, ex-wife or ex-civil partner. If only part of the benefit is paid to that person we will pay any balance to your nominee or personal representative.

The Pension Portal and your Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) show your current nominee(s).

What happens if I die in service?

We may pay a sum of three times your pay to the person (or people) you have named. Your annual benefit statement shows your nominated beneficiary.

If you have not nominated anyone or your nomination is invalid (see above), we may pay it to your personal representative.

If you are receiving a Civil Service pension (for example, following partial retirement or re-employment), your death in service lump sum will be lower to take account of the pension and lump sum you have received.

What if I die after I leave the scheme?

If you leave the scheme and then die before receiving your pension, we usually pay the person or people a lump sum of:

  • your preserved (frozen) lump sum plus five times your preserved (frozen) pension; or
  • twice your final pensionable earnings when you left the scheme, whichever is smaller.

If you die within five years of starting to receive your pension, we may pay the person or people you have named a lump sum representing:

  • five years’ pension based on your service before 1 October 2002 less any lump sum paid to you in respect of this service; plus
  • five years’ pension based on your service from 1 October 2002 less any pension you have already received.

If you choose to take the maximum lump sum on retiring, it will impact on this ‘death after retirement’ lump sum. The maximum lump sum will reduce (or possibly cancel out) any potential death benefit lump sum payment.

If you are over age 75 when you die, we will pay any outstanding balance annually, in arrears, to your nominee(s):

  • for any pension based on service before 1 October 2002, until the two- year period has expired; and
  • for any pension based on service on or after 1 October 2002, until the five-year period has expired.

Dependants’ benefits

We pay pension benefits to your widow, widower, surviving civil partner or partner and dependent children when you die depending on whether, at the date of your death, you were:

  • a current member with two or more years’ qualifying service;
  • a retired member;
  • a deferred member with preserved benefits.

Pension benefits for your widow, widower or surviving civil partner

As long as you have been in the scheme for at least two years, we will pay your surviving husband, wife or civil partner a pension based on the years you have paid full pension contributions.

We will work this out in two parts:

  • 1/2 of your pension based on your service before 1 October 2002 for which you have paid contributions*, plus;
  • 3/8 of your pension based on your service from 1 October 2002.

*A pension paid to a surviving civil partner will be based on your service from 6 April 1988.

If you die in service, we may grant some extra years of reckonable service, up to 10 years. The extra years will all count as service from 1 October 2002.

If you die after you have left the scheme, your husband, wife or civil partner will usually get a pension, again worked out in two parts:

  • 1/2 of your pension based on your service before 1 October 2002 for which you have paid contributions*, plus;
  • 3/8 of your pension based on your service from 1 October 2002 and taking the full amount of pension – in other words, before any reduction for using part of your pension to buy a lump sum.

*A pension paid to a surviving civil partner will be based on your service from 6 April 1988.

If you retired with an ill-health pension, and with your reckonable service enhanced through to pension age, we will base the pension for your husband, wife or civil partner on the extra years that we would have given if you had still been in service when you died.

If you have a civil partner, they will receive a pension based on your service from 6 April 1988.

We may increase your husband’s, wife’s or civil partner’s pension every year in line with rises in the cost of living.

Will my husband’s, wife’s or civil partner’s pension carry on if they remarry or enter into another civil partnership?

If your husband, wife or civil partner should remarry, enter into another civil partnership or live with someone as a partner, we will stop paying the part of the pension that is based on your service before 1 October 2002. But if their new relationship comes to an end, we may then restore that part of their pension.


Sandra dies in service, aged 45. She has 20 years’ service in total (10 years before 1 October 2002 and 10 years from 1 October 2002) and final pensionable earnings of £20,000 a year. Sandra leaves a husband, Iain.

We base Iain’s pension on 30 years’ service – that is, Sandra’s 20 years’ service plus an enhancement of an extra 10 years.

Iain’s pension = 3/8 x 1/60 x 20 x £20,000 + 1/2 x 1/80 x 10 x £20,000 = £3,750 a year.

If Iain were to remarry, his pension will be reduced to £2,500 (3/80 x 1/60 x 20 x £20,000).


When Gordon retired he was awarded a pension of £11,000 (£5,000 based on his service before 1 October 2002 and £6,000 based on his service from 1 October 2002) plus an automatic lump sum of £15,000.

Gordon decided to commute (give up) £1,125 of his annual pension so he can have an additional lump sum of £13,500 (subject to the Lifetime Allowance).

When Gordon dies, although his pension was £9,875 a year, his widow gets a pension of £4,750 a year (3/8 x £6,000 + 1/2 x £5,000).

I am not married or in a civil partnership, but I have a partner

If neither you nor your partner is married to, or in a civil partnership with, anyone else, we may pay your partner a pension. We work this pension out in the same way as the pension for a husband, wife or civil partner but it will be based only on your service from 1 October 2002. For more information, see the booklet ‘Pensions for partners’.

Will my children get a pension?

We will pay a pension to your eligible children (and to any other eligible children who rely on you financially) when you die. We pay children’s pensions to children under the age of 18, or up to 23 if they are in full-time education.

We may pay a pension for life to an eligible child who is dependent on you due to a physical or mental impairment; ask the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) for more information about this.

We work out a child’s pension as 30% of your pension entitlement if we pay a pension to your surviving husband, wife or civil partner, or 50% if you did not leave a surviving husband, wife or civil partner. If we pay a pension to your partner, we will work a child’s pension out as 30% of your pension entitlement based on your service from 1 October 2002 plus 50% of your pension entitlement based on your service before 1 October 2002.

This reflects the fact that your partner’s pension only relates to service from 1 October 2002. If you leave more than two children who qualify for a pension, we will reduce each child’s pension so they each get an equal share.

Other Information

Disagreements and complaints procedures

If you have any concerns you should raise them with the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). If you are dissatisfied with the way your concerns have been handled you may decide to complain to the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). There is further information here.

If the problem is not sorted out to your satisfaction, you can raise your concerns under the Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) procedure. This is a statutory process that all occupational pension schemes must have in place. The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will investigate under Stage 1, and if you remain dissatisfied you can raise your concerns to the scheme manager, Cabinet Office, under Stage 2.

The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)

You can contact The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) at any stage during the IDR procedure.

TPAS is an independent organisation set up to help with sorting out disagreements between scheme members and the administrators or trustees of their scheme.

You can write to TPAS at:

11 Belgrave Road

For further information see their website:

Loss of benefits

If you become bankrupt, your pension will be paid in line with relevant legislation.

Pension Tracing Service

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) operates a central tracing agency to help people keep track of any pension arrangements they had in the past.

You can contact ‘The Pensions Tracing Service’ by writing to them at:

The Pension Service
9 Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1LU

Scheme amendments

Cabinet Office may amend the scheme’s provisions from time to time.

State benefits

From 6 April 2016 the new State Pension replaced the previous two part state pension arrangements – basic and earnings related (S2P). Your membership of classic plus does not affect your entitlement to the basic State pension.

However because classic plus was contracted- out up to 6 April 2016 you did not build up rights to S2P during the period of your classic plus membership to that date. In return you paid a lower rate of National Insurance contributions.

Therefore your State Pension entitlement will be calculated in consideration of this.

The Pensions Regulator

This organisation is the statutory regulator for occupational pension schemes. Their task is to make sure that pension schemes operate legally. They also educate and inform and work with others to raise standards.

For further information see their website:

Transferring your rights to benefits (assignment)

You cannot give anyone else the right to your entitlement from the scheme.

Other information

Pensions Ombudsman

If you have gone through IDR and your complaint has still not been resolved satisfactorily, you can contact the Pensions Ombudsman. For more information see their website:

You can write to the Pensions Ombudsman at:

10 South Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 4PU


If you leave and, at some point in the future, are re-employed by an organisation that offers the Civil Service pension arrangements, you should ask your prospective employer how re- employment affects your pension choices.

If you are re-employed after you started taking your pension by an organisation that offers the Civil Service pension arrangements, your pension may be reduced.

If you are re-employed having previously left with a compensation payment, you may have to pay this back depending on the length of time between employments.

You should discuss how re-employment affects your compensation payment with your prospective employer before accepting the post.

Finding out more


The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) holds your classic plus pension details and can, therefore, give you information which is specific to you.

They can only give you information about classic plus and other associated information about the Civil Service pension arrangements. They do not have the authority to advise you on financial matters relating to pension decisions you may have to make. If you want help in making such decisions, we suggest you contact an Independent Financial Advisor.


We have a range of booklets and leaflets covering all aspects of the Civil Service pension arrangements and associated benefits, all of which appear on this website. Alternatively, you can ask the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) for hard copies.

Technical terms

Annual Allowance

Annual Allowance is the maximum growth in the value of your pension savings each year that can benefit from tax relief. The Annual Allowance applies to your entire pension savings with UK registered pension schemes. So, if you have any other pension savings apart from your Civil Service pension, you must also take those into account to determine if you have a tax charge to pay.

Annual Benefit Statement (ABS)

ABSs provide members with a summary of their Civil Service pension benefits, up to the date of the statement each year.


The Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme is a defined contribution scheme where you pay contributions to the pension provider for investment in a fund or selection of funds. You  can then use the accumulated investment fund to provide you with an income and/or lump sum in retirement

Deferred member

Someone who has left classic plus, having qualified for a pension, but has not yet claimed their pension.

Defined benefit

A defined benefit pension scheme provides a pension based on set criteria, usually related to the members’ length of service and/or pensionable earnings (including any transferred in pension benefits).

Dependant child

Any child who is dependent on you and who is;

  • under 18, or;
  • under 23 and receiving full-time education or training or is permanently incapacitated and unable to earn a living. Dependency means that you are providing financial support to the child.


If you retire early because of ill health or die in service we may increase the number of years you have in the scheme when we work out your (or your dependants’) pension benefits.

Earnings cap

The maximum level of pay we will use when working out pension benefits and contributions. It applies to classic plus members who joined the Scheme on or after 1 June 1989.

Final pensionable earnings

These are the earnings on which we base your classic plus pension. Your final pensionable earnings will be whichever is the best of:

  • your last 12 months’ pensionable earnings; or
  • your highest pensionable earnings in any of the last four complete scheme years; or
  • your highest average pensionable earnings in any period of three complete scheme years during the last 13 years ending on your last day of service.

A scheme year is the period from 1 April to 31 March. We will take account of rises in the cost of living in making the comparison.

Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)

The Civil Service pension scheme was contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) prior to 6 April 2016. If you were a member of the Civil Service pension scheme between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997, GMP is the minimum amount that the scheme must provide for you at State Pension age (SPA).

Lifetime Allowance

Lifetime Allowance is the limit on the amount of pension benefit(s) that you can take from all of your registered pension arrangements before you incur a tax charge.

These benefits include:

  • lump sums; and
  • retirement income.

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP)

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) holds your pension records and administers your pension on your employer’s behalf, including working out and arranging pension payments.

Partnership Pension Account

The partnership pension account is a defined contribution pension arrangement. Members of the partnership scheme do not have to contribute but their employer will.

Pension age

This is the earliest age at which you can choose  to receive immediate payment of your classic plus pension without reduction. (In most cases, this is 60).

Pensionable earnings

All earnings that could count towards your pension. They can include non-cash items, for example, uniforms or accommodation.

Pensionable service

Pensionable service is service in employment which qualifies you for classic plus benefits.

Preserved benefits

We will hold (preserve) the pension benefits you have built up if you leave the scheme before pension age and have decided not to transfer them to another pension scheme. (We will only do this is you have built up more than two years’ qualifying service).

Public Sector Transfer Club

A group of defined benefit occupational pension schemes, mainly within the public sector. The Club assists easier movement of staff between its members by providing broadly equivalent benefits when they transfer.

Qualifying service

Generally, this is the number of years and days you have been a member of the scheme, and it qualifies you for certain benefits.

Reckonable service

The service that counts towards a pension. Part- time service counts on the basis of the hours you have worked. Unpaid absences such as strike days or career breaks do not count towards your pension.

Scheme actuary

The scheme actuary provides actuarial advice to the scheme.

State pension age

The age at which you can receive your State pension.

State Second Pension S2P

The additional State pension on top of the basic State Pension (previously known as the State Earnings-Related Pension – SERPS). The amount you get depends on your National Insurance contributions. Please note – this ended on 5 April 2016.

Transfer value

The value of accumulated pension rights within a pension scheme that may be used to transfer benefits from that scheme to another pension scheme.