Coronavirus/COVID-19 – continuing to provide our services to you

Being prepared

Given the situation with the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, working with the Scheme Manager Cabinet Office, we wanted to provide you with some detail on the steps we’ve taken to minimise the risk of Coronavirus affecting our day-to-day pensions administration - both pensions in payment and those preparing to move into payment.

All pension administration activities have been reviewed and prioritised to ensure we focus on the most critical, including setting up pension payments and ensuring pensions are paid on time.

We’re also following all of the guidelines provided by the government on how best to protect ourselves during the pandemic such as regularly washing hands and encouraging staff to self-isolate if they or the people they live with, show symptoms.

Below are some of the questions you may have in mind at the moment:

I’m due to claim my pension soon, will it still be paid?

We’ve put in place several steps to minimise the risk of any pension not being brought into payment. These include, but not limited to, redeployment of staff, remote working, alternative site working and travel bans.

I am already in receipt of my pension, will it still be paid?

We’ll continue to provide a business-as-usual service as you come to claim your benefits. The steps taken listed above will ensure that we can provide continuity of service to our members.

Will I still be able to contact the Scheme Administrator?

Visit the Contact Us page for details.

I have applied to take my pension early under Medical grounds, will I still be able to be assessed by the Schemes Medical Advisor?

Just as with the administration services, the Schemes Medical Advisor has contingency plans in place to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible to services. A proportion of the clinical team are already homeworkers. However, should the need change then, more of the clinical team and SMA administration team will also be able to work from home. Some disruption may occur should Government Legislation be put into place where healthcare providers need to be redirected to assist NHS activities.

Read more about the Scheme Medical Advisor's service during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Temporary changes to how we accept documents, certificates and wet signatures

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve temporarily changed the process for sending forms and supporting documents to ensure that we’ll be able to process important member requests.

As a result, from 20 April:

  • You have the option to return your form and any supporting documentation to us by email
  • We no longer require your signature or a witnesses’ signature
  • You have the option to complete the following forms electronically and return them to us by email;
    • Death Benefit Nomination (DBN) Form
    • Death Benefit Claim Form (one off payments)
    • Dependant Pension Claim Form
    • Partial Retirement Application Form (CSP15)

Please note:

  • You MUST provide consent in your email for us to process your form
  • You MUST provide a scanned copy or photograph of two forms of ID, plus proof of your address. A full list of acceptable documents can be found here
  • Utility bills must be less than three months old and must not be a mobile phone bill
  • If you’re employed in the Civil Service and use your gov.uk email address to send us the information above, you don’t need to provide a form of ID
  • Please ensure that scanned copies or photographs of forms and documents are clear and can be easily read
  • Please email your form to contactcentre@mycsp.co.uk

An update for members of the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme (CSAVCS), Partnership and Concord schemes

Your pension pot is likely to be invested in a range of investments.  These could include shares (UK and overseas), corporate and government bonds and commercial property. The value of your pension pot changes as market prices go up and down. These fluctuations are known as volatility.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, investments have generally fallen in value and shown greater than normal volatility.  You may have seen a drop in the value of your pension pot.  If you held your pension in 2008 you may remember that investments were also very volatile during the 2008 financial crisis.  Periods of economic and financial uncertainty generally lead to greater volatility.

Historically, investments have risen in value, when looked at over the long-term (periods of 10 years and more) and generally those who have invested for longer periods have seen the value of their investments go up.  However the value of your investments isn’t guaranteed and you can get back less than you paid in.

If you are thinking about taking your pension in the near future, you may want to pay particular attention to the value of your pot if you wish to avoid taking it when prices are low.  Additionally, do take the opportunity to talk to the Government’s Pension Wise service, which provides guidance to those over age 50 on the different ways you can access your pot.  You can access the service via this link: Pension Wise | 50 or over? | Get to know your options

Further information about the impact that COVID-19 is having and about how to contact our provider, Legal and General, is provided at:

https://www.legalandgeneral.com/workplace/campaigns/covid-19/

If you want to see which funds you’re invested in and check the value of your pot, you can follow the link to Legal And General's online account management facility, Manage Your Account.

Information from our former providers, Scottish Widows and Standard Life , including how to check the value of your pot, can be found at:

https://www.scottishwidows.co.uk/global/market_update.html

https://www.standardlife.co.uk/c1/covid-19-service-update.page

If you had With Profits investments under the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contribution Scheme with Equitable Life, they were transferred to Utmost Life and Pensions on 1 January 2020 and are now invested in the Investing By Age fund.  Further details can be found at:

https://www.utmost.co.uk/investment-funds/fund-information-heritage-equitable-life-joining-utmost-1-january-2020/investing/

If you want to find out the value of your Investing By Age pot, you must write to MyCSP at Civil Service Pensions, PO Box 2017, Liverpool, L69 2BU, or send an email to contactcentre@mycsp.co.uk, giving your member number or National Insurance number as a reference. 

Your enquiry will then be passed to Utmost Life and Pensions to action.