With the recent changes to both the lifetime and annual pension allowances, it’s imperative that medics of all ages get accurate up-to-date figures of their NHS pension. These figures now have a price tag attached to them, some running into thousands of pounds.
In 2015, nearly 6%¹ of the over 1.5 million officer and practitioner members of the NHS requested estimates from the NHS Pension Scheme, and an average of 34,000¹ pension related calls were made to the NHS Business Services Authority’s contact centre every month.
It’s because of figures like these that the NHS has decided to enforce, with immediate effect, their right to charge for anything that isn’t ‘legislatively required’ information.
What is and what is not ‘legislatively required’ NHS Pension information?
Lifetime pension allowance, annual pension allowance, and individual protection
Unfortunately, lifetime pension allowance, annual pension allowance, and any individual protection 2014 or 2016 calculations are not considered legislatively required information. To get these figures, you may now have to pay £120².
Annual NHS pension benefit statement
You can still get your Annual Benefit Statement for free by accessing it online via the Total Reward Statements (TRS) portal.
If your annual benefit statement is not available on the TRS and it hasn’t been sent to you in the past 12 months, you can request one free of charge.
If you need an additional annual benefit statement and you have received a statement in the past 12 months, or your statement is available on the TRS, you will have to pay £75.
Ill-health retirement calculations are only available for free after you have formally applied to retire on the grounds of ill-health. If you have not made a claim for ill-health retirement, you will be charged £75 for the same figures.
If you’re involved in a divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, you will need to request the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) of your NHS Pension Scheme benefits.
Initially you won’t be charged for this information. However, if proceedings drag on and you need a revised CETV within 12 months of the first CETV being issued, you will be charged £408.
Going through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution also often necessitates administrative work to be done by the NHS Pension agency and/or information other than the CETV being obtained. You will now (as of April 2016) be charged for this; how much depends on what is required.
A pension sharing order will, for example, set you back £3,142³. I guess anyone with any experience of divorce will testify to the fact that they’re never cheap so no real surprises there!
Accessing your NHS Pension information: The great online push
The NHS Pension Scheme is clearly wanting more of its members to get their pension information online from the Total Reward Statements (TRS) portal and, in doing so, reduce some of the burden at the NHS Pension agency’s HQ. It is also, in our view, a much more effective way of checking your pension.
To access your annual statement and other NHS pension related figures online, simply register on the Total Reward Statements website. The TRS does have its limitations but it is a good starting point and, of course, our specialist NHS Pension financial advisers are on hand if you need any help interpreting your statement.