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Before you start

You should read:

Reason for retirement

The information and forms you will need may change depending on the reason for a member’s retirement.


The normal pension ages in the NHS Pension Scheme explained in this section.

1995 Section of the 1995 / 2008 Scheme

The normal pension age is 60, or 55 if the member has special class status.

2008 Section of the 1995 / 2008 Scheme

The normal pension age is 65.

2015 Scheme

The normal pension age is same as the member’s state pension age or age 65, whichever is later.

Members can retire earlier or later depending on the Section or Scheme they are in.

The NHS Pension Scheme overview (PDF:178 KB) provides more detail about each Scheme.


Read our factsheets for information about members retiring either:

  • in the interests of efficiency of the service
  • on redundancy

Redundancy basic overview employer guide (PDF: 437KB)

You may need to use the redundancy calculator:

Redundancy calculator (Excel: 290KB)

Redundancy calculator guide (PDF: 299KB)

Forms you may need:

Complete and return the Redundancy supplementary information checklist (Word: 132KB) with a completed retirement benefits claim form (AW8). Return by email if submitting the form on POL.

Complete the Retirement on grounds of interests of efficiency checklist (PDF: 299KB) if the reason for retirement on the AW8 is 'Early Retirement (IOE)'.

Complete the Concurrent pensionable employment (AW343) (PDF: 138KB) where the member is both:

  • leaving on grounds of compulsory redundancy
  • has concurrent pensionable employment, including Practitioner membership, in the NHS

2008 Section Optants

Read our factsheet for information about members who have elected to move from the 1995 Section to the 2008 Section, as part of the original Choice exercise.2008 Section Optants (PDF: 188KB)

Partial Retirement 

Our partial retirement factsheet explains the application process for partial retirement, sometimes referred to as drawdown, including the changes to partial retirement which will become effective from 1 October 2023:

Partial retirement employer factsheet (PDF: 236KB)

Pay increases within 12 months of Draw Down (PDF: 114KB)

When applying for partial retirement a supplementary form needs to be submitted along with the AW8:

Partial Retirement Supplementary Form (PDF: 328KB)In July 2023, we held a webinar for pension administrators and payroll providers on partial retirement. You can access copies of the presentation slides and a recording of the webinar (once available) here: 

Partial retirement employer event presentation slides (PDF: 183KB)

You can also watch a recording of the event here: 

Download the video transcript (PDF: 343KB) 

The Partial Retirement Calculator became available in December 2023.


Pension Increase

NHS pensions are fully index linked to protect them against inflation. 

NHS pensions are reviewed annually and are increased, if appropriate, to keep pace with rises in the cost of living. This indexation is commonly known as Pensions Increase.

Pension Increase is paid from April. It’s based on the rate of inflation in the 12 month period up to the end of September in the previous year.

A member’s pension may not qualify for Pensions Increase straight away. This will depend on the type of retirement.

The retirement guide contains more information about Pensions Increase.

Pension commutation

Pension commutation is an option for members with Scheme membership on or after 1 April 2008.

Members can opt to permanently exchange some of their pension for a lump sum, which is normally tax free.

Exchanging pension for a lump sum

The rate of exchange is £12 lump sum for every £1 of annual pension given up.

The amount of lump sum that can be taken is subject to limits set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).The maximum lump sum that can be taken is the lower of:

  • a lump sum of up to 25% of the capital value of the total benefits
  • 25% of the standard Lifetime Allowance

The capital value of a member’s benefits is calculated after any pension commutation has taken place.

The remaining pension must be more than the annual revalued Guaranteed Minimum Pension where applicable. This is the limit set by HMRC.

The pension commutation calculator (Excel: 20.1KB) can help members choose the amount of pension they can exchange for lump sum.

Claiming a bigger lump sum does not affect the level of  benefits payable to a  surviving adult dependent or dependent child.

Find out if you’re eligible

Members of both the 1995 and 2008 Sections are eligible to commute pension.

There are some differences to be aware of.

For the 1995 Section, members must have contributed to the Scheme for at least one day on or after 1 April 2008. They will automatically receive a lump sum that is normally tax free but can increase it by exchanging part of their pension.

For the 2008 Section, members do not have entitlement to an automatic lump sum. To receive a lump sum, they will need to exchange part of their pension.

For the 2008 Section Optants, members who elected to move from the 1995 Section to the 2008 Section under the original Choice exercise, receive an automatic lump sum. This is based on their membership up to 31 March 2008.

They have given up some pension in exchange for this. This is known as the mandatory lump sum. It can be increased by exchanging a further part of their annual.

When to apply

The application to exchange part of the pension for a lump sum should be made:

  • at the time of claiming retirement benefits
  • before any pension is put into payment

Members who wish to exchange pension for lump sum who are claiming Actuarially Reduced Early Retirement, will have the amount they are able to exchange based on the value of benefits after actuarial reduction.

Members who retire on ill health grounds can exchange the full value of their benefits, including the enhanced element, subject to the maximum amount payable.

Trivial commutation

Read our factsheet for information about the possibility of a member converting a small pension into a one off lump sum payment. Trivial commutation factsheet (PDF: 188KB)

Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)

Read our factsheets for information about GMP and how we use it.GMP factsheet (PDF: 194KB)GMP Test decision tree (PDF: 75.1KB)

Early Payment of Preserved Benefits

Read our factsheets for information about members who wish to claim their deferred benefits before normal pension age.Early Payment of Preserved Benefits decision tree (PDF: 99.9KB)Early Payment of Preserved Benefits factsheet (PDF: 254KB)

Actuarially Reduced Early Retirement (ARER)

Read our factsheets for information about members retiring early from the NHS Pension Scheme.ARER decision tree (PDF: 104KB)ARER factsheet (PDF: 147KB)ARER retirement FAQs (PDF: 237KB)

Revised retirements

If any changes are made to a member’s pension record after a retirement application has been submitted, a revised retirement may need to be calculated.

These changes could be due to one or all of the following:

  • pensionable pay (actual and / or notional whole time if part time)
  • the last day of pensionable employment and / or change to pensionable membership i.e. unpaid sick days
  • pensionable hours worked if part time

If you need to make a change to a member’s pension record where the member has already submitted their AW8 (retirement benefits application form) you need to notify us of the change by submitting the SD55E via POL, ESR or via email if you are a non-POL employer.

This will automatically trigger a revised retirement work item where the change received indicates that this is likely to affect a member’s benefits.

For any information that cannot be provided via the SD55E form, such as lump sum amendments or a change to the reason for retirement, you should email these to The request for the change will be raised by a member of our team on your behalf.

If you have a query relating to the revised retirement then please contact us using the same email address.

If the pay falls outside of the tolerance, a member of the Revised Retirements team will be in contact to check the details we hold on record / request pay if necessary.


If a member is in good health they can choose to give up part of their own pension. They can do this to provide a pension for someone when they die.  

This can be to a spouse, civil partner, qualifying partner, child or someone who is dependent on them for support. They must nominate before they retire and they cannot reverse this decision once made.

Read the Employer Allocation factsheet (PDF: 257KB) for more information.

​​​​​​How to apply for allocation

A member can apply by completing the AW8 / 11A

Form AW8 / 11A should then be attached to the retirement application form AW8 or AW8P and sent to NHS Pensions.

We’ll send the member a quote to assist them in deciding whether or not they wish to allocate.