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Partial retirement

If you're aged 55 and over and you have agreement from your employer, you can choose to take part, or all of your pension benefits while you continue working in NHS employment and build your pension benefits in the 2015 Scheme. This is called partial retirement - it may also be known as drawdown.

The pension benefits you take through partial retirement will be paid as a monthly amount.

You can take between 20% and 100% of all your pension benefits in one or two drawdown payments, without having to leave your current job.

You can find our Partial Retirement Calculator under "Plan for partial retirement with a personalised estimate".

Read more in our factsheet: 

Partial retirement factsheet (PDF: 308KB)

Download the video transcript (Word: 259KB)

 

If you’re thinking of applying

If you wish to take partial retirement, you need to agree a new working arrangement that lets you reduce your pensionable pay by at least 10%. For example, you could change your level of responsibility, work fewer hours, or move to a new role. Speak with a member of your HR team to agree an arrangement that works for both you and your employer.

This also applies if you're wanting to take partial retirement of your pension for a second time.

Your pensionable pay must stay at the reduced level for at least 12 months after you take partial retirement, or you’ll no longer be eligible for the pension you’ve taken. During this time, you may still be able to do additional work that doesn’t count towards your pension, such as overtime or bank work.

Make sure to leave enough time to discuss your suggestions with your employer, as agreement of your new working arrangement needs to be in place before your employer sends us your application for partial retirement.

Plan for partial retirement with a personalised estimate

Using the calculator

If you have any difficulties accessing the calculator, try clearing the cache and cookies in your web browser. If you're unsure how to do this, there are guides available online - this process can differ depending on the web browser you're using.

You may need to adjust the zoom in your web browser to view the calculator fully.

With partial retirement, you can take up to 100% of your pension, stay in your job, and carry on building up new pension benefits in the 2015 Scheme. To plan a partial retirement that’s right for you, use the Partial Retirement Calculator to see:

  • how much lump sum and annual pension you might want to claim when you take partial retirement
  • the amount your pension benefits will grow for every year you carry on working as a member of the 2015 Scheme, helping you to plan when might be the best time to fully retire - the calculator will show you figures for up to 8 years in the future
  • any impact on your benefits caused by ‘abatement’ in the first 12 months after your partial retirement - this refers to the effect on your pension when your pensionable pay after partial retirement increases to more than 90% of your previous pensionable pay.  Where this occurs, the pension in payment will be stopped
  • for members affected by McCloud, how much your pension is worth depending on the benefits you choose for your pensionable service between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022
  • what percentage of your pension to take at partial retirement to avoid having to repay overpaid pension when you make your McCloud choice later on - this is referenced in the calculator as your ‘safe percentage’

The information you’ll need to have to hand

To give you as accurate a picture as possible, you need to include the following information - you can find this on your Total Reward Statement (TRS) or by asking your employer.

Personal details

  • Your date of birth
  • The date you plan to take partial retirement
  • The date you joined the NHS Pension Scheme
  • The dates of any breaks in your pensionable service, for example, any breaks in employment or periods you opted out of the Scheme

Pay details

  • Your pensionable pay at retirement
  • Your new pensionable salary after you’ve agreed an arrangement with your employer to reduce it by at least 10%
  • Your new working pattern after you’ve reduced your pensionable salary by at least 10%

Pension details

  • The amount of pension and lump sum you plan to take
  • The parts of the Scheme you’re a member of (1995 Section or 2008 Section, or both)
  • Whether you have Special Class or Mental Health Officer status
  • The value of any Additional Pension you may have

Some members may need to ask us for an estimate instead

The partial retirement calculator can help the majority of members who might consider partial retirement. However, some members may have more complex circumstances that mean an estimate from NHS Pensions will be more accurate that the figures shown by the calculator.

If you're one of the following member types, you should ask us for an estimate rather than use the calculator:

  • Members affected by the McCloud remedy who moved to the 2015 Scheme before 1 April 2022
  • Members of the 2008 Section
  • Members who only have membership of the 2015 Scheme
  • Members who are currently practitioners, or have historic practitioner membership (including GPs / Dental Practitioners and Ophthalmic Practitioners)
  • Members who have had any break from the pension scheme
  • Members of the 1995 Section wanting to take partial retirement before age 55
  • Members who are male nurses
  • Members whose Added Years / Additional Pension contract payable dates are different from their normal retirement age
  • Members who have mixed service between Mental Health Officer (MHO) and Non-MHO
  • Members who have transferred in from another public service pension scheme
  • Members with over 40 years’ service before age 55
  • Members working in more than one part-time role at the same time
  • Members with Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out (ERRBO) agreements
  • Members who received no pay for more than one month due to unpaid sick leave or unauthorised absence

To request an estimate, you should use the updated Partial Retirement Member Estimate form on our website.

Applying for partial retirement

The application process for partial retirement is almost the same as when you're applying to retire.

You’ll need to complete a retirement application form called an AW8 Retirement Benefits Claim Form. Your employer will be able to provide you with a copy of the AW8 form. There's also a short additional form for your employer to complete called the Partial Retirement Supplementary Form. 

Once you’ve completed the relevant sections of the forms, you should give these to your employer to finalise their sections and they’ll send your application to us.

If you're affected by the McCloud ruling

You can check if you’re affected by the McCloud ruling by visiting our Changes to public service pensions page

Part of the McCloud remedy is that all affected members will be given a choice between taking their benefits for the remedy period from the 1995/2008 Section or taking 2015 Scheme benefits instead.

If you're affected, on 1 October 2023, your pensionable service for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022, known as the remedy period, was automatically put back into the 1995/2008 Section until it’s time to make your choice.

If you apply to take partial retirement, we’ll contact you within 12 months of taking your pension benefits, to ask you to choose the benefits that are right for you for the remedy period. 

Depending on how long you’d like to work, it may change the part of the Scheme that’s right for you for your service during the remedy period.

Your McCloud choice means there are other factors to take into account when deciding what percentage of your pension to take at partial retirement, as it could affect your tax position, or your final salary link if you have one. If you later choose to take 2015 Scheme benefits for the remedy period, you may have overpayments to pay back. If you cannot wait for the Partial Retirement Calculator, we’ve built an interim tool to help you avoid this.

The McCloud Percentage Tool cannot give you as much information as the Partial Retirement Calculator, but it allows you to see what percentage of pension you can take to avoid having overpayments to repay when you make your McCloud choice later on.

This will help you decide when to take partial retirement, how much lump sum to take when you do, and when to fully retire.

NHS Pensions Partial Retirement McCloud Percentage Tool (Excel: 59KB)

To use the McCloud Percentage Tool you’ll need to know the membership that’s been used to calculate your pension benefits. This is called your pensionable service or reckonable pay depending on the Section or Scheme. You can find it on your Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) or Total Reward Statement (TRS) or ask your employer.

If you were a fully protected member for McCloud, you can use the percentage from this tool and your ABS or TRS statement to estimate your benefits. 

If you were not a fully protected member and moved to the 2015 Scheme before 1 April 2022, use the Partial Retirement Member Estimate form on our getting an estimate of your pension webpage and we’ll produce an estimate for you.

Annual Benefit Statements (ABS) and Total Reward Statements (TRS) are updated each year in August. Statements published in late August 2023 will show your record updated to the end of March 2023.