classic scheme guide

Overview

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Classic

This is your guide to the range of benefits to which you may be entitled as a member of classic. classic 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.

classic was closed to new entrants from 1 October 2002.

After 31st March 2015, with the introduction of the new scheme alpha, no person is in or is eligible to be in pensionable service under classic 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 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 found here.

Introduction

Overview of classic features

classic

  • Is a defined benefit occupational pension scheme based on final salary. You will pay a percentage of your pensionable earnings, and your employer will also make their contribution. See the Civil Service Pensions website for current contribution rates.
  • For most members has a scheme pension age of 60.  
  • Lets you increase your pension by making additional payments (called added pension).
  • Gives you an automatic lump sum and income that is increased in line with rises in the cost of living when you retire and benefits for your dependants in the event of your death.
  • Offers you a range of flexibilities; for example, you can choose to take an additional lump sum from your pension benefits when you retire.
  • Includes valuable life cover before you retire and it may provide protection if you suffer serious ill health.

Contracting out

On 6 April 2016, the Government introduced the new State Pension for people reaching State Pension age from that point onwards. This replaced the previous two-part state pension arrangements: the Basic Pension and earnings related State Second Pension (S2P); and the predecessor to S2P, the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS).

The classic scheme was ‘contracted out’ of S2P between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2016, and as a result, members paid lower rates of National Insurance contributions and did not build up entitlement to the S2P element of the previous two-part state pension during this time.

When your new, State Pension is calculated at retirement age, it will take into account any period you were a member of a contracted out scheme. From 6 April 2016 classic is no longer contracted out of S2P.

Membership

Eligibility

Up to 30 September 2002, the only pension offered to Civil Servants was the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). On 1 October 2002, a new section of the PCSPS was introduced, and existing members 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.

From 1 October 2002, most new entrants could not join classic.

On 1 April 2015, a new scheme called alpha was introduced. This means that after 31 March 2015 no person is in or is eligible to be in classic unless they are a protected member.

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

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, prior to 1 January 1995 there were restrictions on who could join the scheme depending on the number of hours worked. If you have had part-time service before 1 January 1995, 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 Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will be able to advise you.

Making a transfer

If you have pension benefits in the scheme of a previous employer, you may be able to transfer them into classic. 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.

The transfer value will buy a credit of reckonable service in classic. 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.

Please note that most classic 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 must apply within 12 months of becoming eligible to join classic.

Opting out

You can opt out of classic or switch to partnership 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 here.

You may also wish to consult an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).

If you do decide to opt out you must complete the Opt Out form which is available here.

If you cannot access the form online, you can request one from the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). The form must be returned to your employer.

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 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.

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 pension

Your contributions

Your pension, together with your pay, forms part of your total benefits package. You must contribute a percentage 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). In addition you will pay a percentage of your pensionable earnings, towards your personal benefits and your employer will also make a contribution. See the Civil Service Pensions website for current contribution rates. 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 contributions are mandatory and apply to all members regardless of marital status. It is not possible to opt out of this arrangement unless you opt out of the scheme entirely. However, if you are single when you retire, you may be entitled to a refund of some or all of your WPS contributions. Appendix A gives more information about WPS refunds.

If you are eligible for a refund, of some or all of your WPS contributions, this will only include the contributions you have paid at the rate of 1.5%. From 1 April 2012, you may have been paying additional contributions above this rate. These, additional contributions are not refunded as part of a WPS contribution refund.

If you complete 45 years’ service, you will continue to pay the WPS contribution at a rate of 1.5%.

However, you will no longer have to pay the additional contributions above 1.5%.

The current contribution rates can be found here.

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 amount of 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. It will also provide an automatic lump sum of three times your added pension. When you retire you can choose to give up some of your added pension to take an additional lump sum.

You can find an added pension calculator, which will give you an idea of the cost of buying added pension, here.

Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS)

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

The CSAVCS can help you to build up an additional pension pot which you can use to take an income and/or lump sum from age 55 (or 50 if you had a CSAVC before 6 April 2006).

You can take up to 25% of your fund as a tax-free lump sum subject to the Lifetime Allowance. You do not have to take your CSAVCS benefits at the same time as your Civil Service pension.

Visit the dedicated CSAVCS pages for more information here.

Added years

Leaving before pension age

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

If you leave voluntarily or opt out of classic before you retire and have at least two years’ qualifying service, you will have the choice to:

  • transfer the value of your classic pension benefits to another pension scheme; or
  • preserve the benefits you have built up within classic for payment at when you retire.

Transferring your classic 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 benefits will buy before you make your decision.
  • The range and type of benefits offered may be different and perhaps less appropriate for your needs.
  • You must apply for the transfer before we start paying your pension benefits.

Preserved benefits within classic

If you do not transfer your benefits out of classic and you are entitled to preserve them, your benefits will normally be paid to you at the scheme pension age. You can, however, take your preserved benefits before scheme pension age if:

  • you are age 50 (55 in some cases) or over and you apply for immediate payment of your preserved benefits on an actuarially reduced basis
  • you suffer from poor health and would have been eligible for medical retirement had you still been working
  • you are age 50 (55 in some cases) or over and cannot work due to compelling personal reasons and you also do not have enough money to live on.

Actuarially-reduced early retirement

Most classic members who are aged 50 (55 in some cases) or over 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 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.

Redundancy and early retirement

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 the classic Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA) confirms that your ill health permanently prevents you from carrying out the duties of your grade, your employer may decide you can retire early and take your pension and lump sum immediately.

Retirement

Partial retirement

Partial retirement allows you, with the agreement of your employer, to draw some or all of your classic pension and remain in work. There are certain conditions, which you need to be aware of before you apply for partial retirement. See the booklet ‘Partial Retirement - a guide for scheme members’ on the publications page.

Preparing to fully retire

When you decide to 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 tell the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) who will send you an estimate of your pension benefits, plus a Personal Details Form – this is 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 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 or civil 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 allocation will affect your pension.

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.

We work out your pension using 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 before the age of 60 but you could build up a further five years’ reckonable service for any service from the age of 60 onwards. However, from 1 March 2008, anyone who had already reached their 40 years’ service could start to build up another 5 years’ service, regardless of their age at that time.

So, we work out your pension as follows:

(pensionable earnings x reckonable service) / 80. We work out your lump sum (which, in most cases, is tax free) as follows:

3 x your annual pension

Example:

Your pensionable earnings are £20,000, and your reckonable service is 30 years.

Pension = (£20,000 x 30) / 80 = £7,500 a year or £625 a month before deductions.

Lump sum = £7,500 (pension) x 3 = £22,500.

Important note

Please note that we will reduce the lump sum should we need to recover any scheme contributions that you owed.

Choices on retirement

When you take your pension you may be able to give up all or part of your lump sum in return for an increase in either your own pension, or in your own pension and your widow’s, widowers’ or surviving civil partner’s pension. The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) can give you more information. If you decide to exchange all or part of your lump sum, you must make your decision before your last day of service. If you left service early with preserved benefits, you must make your decision before your pension comes into payment at pension age. Once we start paying your benefits, you cannot change them.

Additional lump sum

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 on the Civil Service Pensions website (or you can ask the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) to do this for you if you do not have access to the calculator).

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 (or under age 23 if they are in full-time education).

If you are single and eligible for a partial or full refund of WPS contributions on full 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.

Please note that from 1 April 2012, you will only receive a refund of the 1.5% WPS contributions paid. You will not receive a refund of the additional contributions above 1.5% paid from that date. See Appendix A for more information about WPS refunds.

Pensions increase

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

You will also receive the cost-of-living increases if you are aged under 55 and if:

  • you retired because of ill health; or if
  • the pension is paid to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner; or if
  • the pension is paid for a child.

Example:

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.

Changes at State pension age

For people with service before 1 April 1980 their pension will be reduced at State pension age to take account of National Insurance modification. Ask the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) for more details about National Insurance modification.

Death benefits

Lump sums

A death benefit lump sum is payable 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 have not yet reached scheme pension age 60.

This lump sum is separate to the automatic lump sum that you get on taking your pension.

Nominating someone to receive benefits

You can nominate any person, including a child, and / or an organisation to receive the death benefit lump sum. The advantage of making a nomination is that we can then pay the benefit without delay.

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

You must complete a Death Benefit Nomination form to make your nomination. You can download the form from the Members Forms page of our website: www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/members/member-forms

Please make sure that you keep it up to date and that you send MyCSP a new nomination if your wishes or circumstances change.

The nomination will remain valid unless you change or cancel it, or if the person you nominated dies. The one exception to this is when you nominate your husband, wife or civil partner and the marriage/civil partnership comes to an end, through divorce/dissolution (but not separation). The nomination is then no longer valid and you should make a new nomination.

If you separate from a partner to whom you are neither married nor in a civil partnership with and you had nominated them as a beneficiary, the nomination will remain valid. You will, however, be able to change the nomination or cancel it, if you wish.

In most circumstances HMRC regulations do not take account of the death benefit lump sum when assessing liability for inheritance tax.

Important note

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 this is the case, we will pay any remaining balance to the person you nominated (nominee) or to your personal representative.

Death while still working

If you die while still working for an employer who participates in the CSP arrangements, the death benefit lump sum is normally equal to two years’ pensionable earnings. If you are a re-employed pensioner or you have taken partial retirement, it may be reduced to take account of pension benefits you have already received. We will pay it to your nominee or to your personal representative.

Death after leaving or opting out of classic

The death benefit lump sum is equal to the preserved lump sum that would otherwise have been paid to you if you had taken your pension.

We will pay it to your nominee or to your personal representative.

We will reduce this benefit should we need to recover any scheme contributions that you owed.

Example:

You leave with five years’ reckonable service. You have preserved benefits of £1,250 a year in a pension and £3,750 as a lump sum. You die five years later, during which time the cost of living has risen by 4% a year. The death benefit lump sum will have risen to £4,562.

Death after you retire

We may pay a death benefit lump sum if you die within five years of retiring. We work it out as the difference (if any) between five times your annual pension on the date you died and the total pension and lump sum payments you have already received.

We will pay it to your nominee or your personal representative.

Example:

Your annual pension is £7,500 and the lump sum is £22,500. You die 11 months after retiring. We work out the lump sum in two parts. We work out the maximum benefit first and the benefits you have already received are taken from this.

Maximum benefit: 5 x £7,500 = £37,500

Less the benefits you have already received:

£6,875 (11 months’ pension)

+22,500 = £29,375

Lump sum to pay:

£37,500 - £29,375 = £8,125

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

Pensions for dependants

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

  • a current member
  • a retired member
  • a deferred member with preserved benefits.

Pension benefits for your widow, widower or surviving civil partner

There are two types of pension that we may pay to your widow, widower or civil partner.

Short-term increase

We will pay a short-term increase to your widow, widower or surviving civil partner for the first 91 days after your death if you die in service or in retirement. It is equal to:

  • your pensionable earnings, for death in service; or
  • your annual pension, for death after retirement.

The short-term increase is to help during the especially difficult period immediately after you die and is generally payable for 91 days (although we will extend this period if you leave dependant children).

After the short-term increase ends, it is replaced by a continuing pension.

Continuing pension

This is a proportion of:

  • the enhanced pension that would have been paid if you had been retired due to ill health (if you die in service with two or more years’ qualifying service);
  • your actual pension (if you die after retirement) or;
  • your preserved pension (if you die as a previous member with preserved benefits).

Level of 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.

Death in service

We will pay a short-term increase to your widow, widower or surviving civil partner that is equal to your pensionable earnings. It will last for 91 days, unless you leave any dependent children in the care of your husband, wife or civil partner. If you leave any children, the short-term pension can be extended to 182 days (six months). If you leave two or more children, it can be extended to nine months, but only if there is no widow, widower or surviving civil partner’s pension payable.

After the short-term increase ends, it is replaced by a continuing widow, widower or surviving civil partner pension. The continuing pension is normally equal to one half of the pension that you would have had if you had retired through ill health on the day you died (but it may be lower than this – see information under ‘Level of pension’).

Example:

You die at age 45 with pensionable earnings of £20,000 a year, having completed 11 years’ reckonable service. You leave a husband, wife or civil partner and two children.

Short-term widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s increase = £20,000 a year, (payable for six months) Continuing widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension = ½ x (£20,000 / 80) x 20 = £2,500 a year (payable after six months).

Child’s pension (for each child) = ¼ x (20,000/80) x 20 = £1,250 a year (payable after six months).

The continuing widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension and the child’s pension include a service enhancement that increases the total reckonable service to 20 years.

Death after leaving but before getting your pension

We will pay continuing pension to your widow, widower or surviving civil partner if you have preserved benefits in classic. It is normally equal to one half of your preserved pension and will take account of the cost of living increases granted since you left the scheme. However, it may be lower than this because:

  • you chose to contribute for lower benefits (see information under ‘Level of pension’ on page 16);

or

  • you married after you left the scheme, in which case the continuing pension is based on service from 6 April 1978 (men) or 6 April 1988 (women);

or

  • you have a civil partner, in which case the continuing pension is based on service from 6 April 1988 (men and women).

Also, we will pay child pensions until the children are no longer eligible. To be eligible for a children’s pension the children must have been conceived or born before your employment with a Civil Service pension employer ends.

Your widow, widower or civil partner will not receive a short-term increase.

Example:

You were a member with preserved benefits of £1,250 a year and you die five years after leaving. During this time, the cost of living has risen by 4% a year. The preserved pension will have risen to £1,520 a year.

Continuing widow’s, widower’s or civil partner’s pension = ½ x £1,520 = £760 a year (payable immediately).

Death after you retire continued

We will pay a short-term increase to your widow, widower or surviving civil partner that is equal to your pension at the time of your death. It will last for 91 days, unless you leave any dependent children in the care of your husband, wife or civil partner, in which case it is extended to six months.

After the short-term increase ends, it is replaced by a continuing pension for your widow, widower or surviving civil partner, and children’s pensions (if payable).

The continuing pension is normally equal to one half of the pension that you received at the time of your death. It may be lower than this because:

  • you chose to contribute for lower benefits (see information under ‘Level of pension’ on page 15); or
  • you married after you retired, in which case the continuing pension is based on service from 6 April 1978 (men) or 6 April 1988 (women) or
  • you have a civil partner, in which case the continuing pension is based on service from 6 April 1988 (men and women).

Example:

You die with an annual pension of £7,500, leaving a husband, wife or civil partner but no dependent children.

Short-term widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s increase = £7,500 a year (payable for three months).

Continuing widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension = ½ x £7,500 = £3,750 a year (payable after 91 days).

Effect of remarrying, entering a (new) civil partnership or living with someone as husband and wife or as civil partners

If your widow, widower or surviving civil partner remarries or enters a (new) civil partnership or lives with someone as husband and wife or as civil partner, the pension will either stop or reduce. It may be restored if:

  • the second marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation has come to an end and your widow, widower or surviving civil partner is left financially worse off than he or she was at the end of the marriage/civil partnership that gave rise to the civil service pension, or
  • there are exceptional compassionate reasons for restoring the pension.

Children’s pensions

We work out children’s pensions as a proportion of:

  • the enhanced pension that you would have had if you had been retired due to ill health (if you die in service with two or more years’ qualifying service)
  • your actual pension (if you die after retirement)
  • your preserved benefits (if you die as a previous member with preserved benefits).

Unlike the continuing pension for your widow, widower or surviving civil partner, children’s pensions do not depend on a minimum length of your qualifying service.

Level of children’s pensions

The level of the pension we will pay depends on the number of dependent children you leave and whether you leave them in the care of your widow, widower, surviving civil partner or in the care of another person. We will pay:

  • 1/4 of your pension for each child in the care of your widow, widower or surviving civil partner
  • 1/3 of your pension for each child in the care of another person.

Usually we will not pay more than half of your pension in total as children’s pension although it is higher when a continuing pension for a widow, widower or surviving civil partner is not payable and/or when more than one child is in the care of another person.

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.

We pay children’s pensions for children up to age 17.

We also pay for children over 17 and under 23 while they are in full-time education or vocational training. In these cases, the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will need to see a letter from the school, college or university where they are studying, confirming the start and end dates of the course.

On the advice of the Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA), we will pay a life pension for any child who has a permanent physical or mental impairment.

Other information

Disagreements and complaints procedures

If you have any concerns you should raise them with the Scheme Administrator (MyCSP). Often, a phone call or an email will be enough. 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 available 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 may contact TPAS at any time during the IDR procedures. TPAS is a voluntary organisation which helps members and beneficiaries of occupational pension schemes with difficulties they may have with the trustees or administrators of their scheme. You can contact TPAS at:

11 Belgrave Road
LONDON 
SW1V 1RB

www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk

Pensions Ombudsman

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

www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk

You can write to the Pensions Ombudsman at:

10 South Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 4PU

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
Wolverhampton
WV98 1LU

www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details

Re-employment if you are a pensioner

If you are re-employed by an organisation covered by Civil Service Pensions, after you have taken your classic pension, your pension may be reduced or stopped. This is known as abatement. This is because scheme rules require that your new salary and your pension, when added together, may not normally be more than your salary when you retired.

You should also be aware that you will not be able to rejoin and continue to contribute to your classic pension. You may, however, be eligible to join another scheme.

Scheme amendments

classic was set up under the Superannuation Act 1972. The Scheme Manager (Cabinet Office) may amend the Scheme’s provisions from time to time.

State benefits

The new State Pension was introduced on 6 April 2016, for people reaching State Pension age from that point onwards, replacing the previous two part state pension arrangements – Basic Pension and earnings related *State Second Pension (S2P).

Members of the scheme were contracted out of 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.

Your new State Pension amount will take into account any period you were contracted out of S2P, plus your National Insurance record between 6 April 2016 and your State Pension age.

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

State Pension and tax

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 including how to contact the Pensions Regulator see their website: www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

Transferring your rights to benefits (assignment)

You are not allowed to assign any of your benefits. This means you cannot give anyone else the right to your entitlement from the Scheme.

Finding out more

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP)

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) holds your classic pension details on behalf of your employer and can, therefore, give you information which is specific to you. 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 Adviser.

Publications

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

Technical terms

55 in some cases

The earliest age at which most members can choose to take their classic pension benefits is from age 50. However, for a small group of members, the earliest age is 55. These members will have joined classic from a by analogy organisation on or after 6 April 2006.

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.

CSAVCS (Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme)

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

By-Analogy

These are schemes that use the same rules as the Civil Service pension scheme for their own arrangements.

Deferred member

Someone who left classic and has preserved benefits.

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 children

Children who are financially dependent on you and who are:

  • under 17;
  • receiving full-time education or training (up to age 23); or
  • permanently incapacitated and unlikely to be able to earn a living.

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)

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 pension without reduction. (In most cases, this is 60.)

Pensionable earnings

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

Pensionable service

Same as reckonable service (see below).

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.

Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA)

Offers guidance to employers on medical issues relating to ill health retirement applications.

Scheme Actuary

The Scheme Actuary provides actuarial advice to the scheme.

State Pension age

The age at which you can receive your State pension. www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

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.

Annex A - Refund of widow(er)s’ pension contributions

Men

Men who have been unmarried throughout their service are entitled to a refund of all their widows’ pension contributions. From 1 April 2012, you will only receive a refund of the 1.5% WPS contributions paid. You will not receive a refund of the additional contributions above 1.5% paid from that date. If you have been married or in a civil partnership for only part of your service, you are entitled to a refund of the contributions you have paid since your marriage or civil partnership ended. Contributions are refunded as follows:

Contributions paid for service before 6 April 1978 will be refunded with interest and paid when you take your pension.

Contributions paid for service on or after 6 April 1978 (including any contributions paid towards family benefits as part of an added years option made on or after that date). will be refunded when you retire. They will be refunded with interest and the deduction of a single, non-returnable payment. That payment is to cover the cost to the scheme of providing a post-retirement widow’s pension if you marry or enter a civil partnership after leaving and die before your wife or civil partner. We will not ask you to repay the refund if you do marry or enter a civil partnership.

Women

Women who have been unmarried throughout their service are entitled to a refund of all their widowers’ pension contributions. From 1 April 2012, you will only receive a refund of the 1.5% WPS contributions paid. You will not receive a refund of the additional contributions above 1.5% paid from that date. If you have been married or in a civil partnership for only part of your service, you are entitled to a refund of the contributions you have paid since your marriage or civil partnership ended. Contributions are refunded as follows:

Contributions paid for service before 6 April 1988 will be refunded with interest and paid when you take your pension.

Contributions paid for service on or after 6 April 1988 (including any contributions paid towards family benefits as part of an added years option made on or after that date). will be refunded when you retire. They will be refunded with interest and the deduction of a single, non-returnable payment to cover the cost to the scheme of providing a post-retirement widower’s pension if you marry or enter a civil partnership after age 60 and die before your husband or civil partner. We will not ask you to repay the refund if you do marry or enter a civil partnership.

Important note

There may be circumstances in which we cannot pay your refund as a cash lump sum. If that is the case, The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will convert some or all of it into extra pension and a smaller lump sum.