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Leaving or taking a break from the scheme

We’re currently receiving high volumes of retirement applications

It's taking us longer than usual to process payment of retirement benefits. While we prioritise making payments to our members, it may take us longer than usual to process requests for estimates and transfers.

You can check our current processing times on our website.

There are a number of ways you can leave or take a break from the scheme.

Watch our video for help to understand what you would be giving up if you decide to opt out:

Download the video transcript (PDF: 146KB).

For further information read our leaving early and transferring out guide (PDF: 1.39MB).

Opting out

Use the opt out calculator (Excel: 128KB) to understand the impact on your take home pay. Depending upon your browser you may have to download the calculator to allow access.

It will also give you some information about the benefits you would lose if you decide to opt out.

Read the opting out factsheet (PDF: 162KB) for more information.

To opt out, you must complete the application to leave the NHS Pension Scheme (SD502) form (PDF: 219KB).

You and your NHS employer must complete the form. This is the only way to opt out of the NHS Pension Scheme.


You might be eligible for a refund of your scheme contributions.

Read the refund of pension contributions factsheet (PDF: 134KB) to find out if you're eligible.

If you’re eligible, complete the application for a refund of pension contributions (RF12) (PDF: 333KB).

We also have a printable version (PDF: 303KB)

Transferring out

If you opt out or leave the Scheme, we may be able to transfer your pension benefits to another provider.

If you want to transfer to another UK scheme, read and complete the transfer out guide and application pack (PDF: 898KB).

Your employer(s) should fill in a cash equivalent transfer value (FA11a) form (Word: 83.8KB) if:

  • you’re an active member
  • you left in the past year

This is for you to return with your transfer application pack.

If you're requesting a cash equivalent transfer value for divorce or dissolution purposes, these forms do not apply. Go to the divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership page for more information.

There may be a charge for this. Check the request for chargeable cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) (PDF: 218KB).

To transfer to an overseas pension scheme, complete the form in the overseas transfer out guide and application pack (PDF: 719KB)

Pension scams

The Pensions Regulator has warned that pension scams are on the increase in the UK.

Some NHS Pension Scheme members have found themselves being targeted. They're enticed by one-off pension investments, pension loans or upfront cash.

For most people, the offers will be bogus. Members taken in will lose most, if not all, of their pension savings.

They may face HMRC tax charges of more than half the transfer payment because the transfer was unauthorised.

ScamSmart is a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) campaign that provides information on how to avoid investment and pension scams. Visit the FCA website for information on pension scams, or visit The Financial Conduct Authority website.