When can I retire?
When you leave your job, your Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) benefits may be paid in the following circumstances:
- at normal pension age, which is your new state pension age subject to a minimum age of 65 (find your state pension age (opens in a new window))
- on voluntarily leaving from aged 55 up to normal pension age, but your benefits may be reduced
- on retiring from normal pension age up to age 75, however if you draw your pension after normal pension age, some or all of it may be paid at an increased rate
- on taking early retirement because of permanent ill health and are unlikely to be capable of gainful employment within a reasonable time after you leave
- on taking early retirement at 55 or older on the grounds of redundancy or efficiency measures
- on taking flexible retirement with the agreement of your employer at age 55 or over.
However if you left the LGPS on or before 31 March 2014, some or all of the above may not apply, for example being able to voluntarily receive your LGPS benefits from age 55 is a feature only available to people who have paid into the LGPS on or after 1 April 2014.
If you have decided to retire, you need to discuss this with your employer as soon as possible. Please read the document attached to this page which explains what you need to know if you plan to retire soon.
Voluntary retirement and the '85 year rule'
The normal pension age for taking unreduced benefits in the Local Government Pension Scheme is your new state pension age (SPA) subject to a minimum age of 65. Find your state pension age (opens in a new window). If you choose to retire before then, your pension benefits may be reduced.
Any reductions depend on when you joined the scheme, how old you are and how much membership you have.
If you joined before 1 October 2006 a test is carried out on retirement to see if you meet the '85 year rule'.
Your age and length of membership (both in whole years) are added together and depending on if these two elements total 85 and if you are over 60 determines whether any of your benefits are reduced.
Please note that even if your age and membership totals 85 or more before age 60, you are not entitled to some or all unreduced benefits until at least age 60. This is because the 85 year rule started to be phased out from 1st October 2006 at which time you could only voluntarily retire from age 60. Voluntarily retiring before age 60 is a new feature of the LGPS from 1 April 2014 and therefore the rule of 85 protection cannot apply until age 60 as it impossible to protect what was not available before 1 October 2006 when the rule of 85 started to be phased out.
The exception to this would be if your employer decided to 'switch on' the rule of 85 before age 60 for you. This however does come at a cost to your employer and for this reason employers have the discretion whether or not to allow it.
The point at which you satisfy the 85 year rule between ages 60 and 65 is often referred to as Critical Retirement Age (CRA).
Pension benefit reductions
If you voluntarily retire before normal pension age, some or all of your pension benefits may be subject to a reduction, this is to reflect the fact that you are taking the pension early and therefore will be in receipt of it for longer.
Your pension benefits are broken down into different elements or parts, depending on what period of membership they were earned in, as follows:
- membership before 1 April 2008 (i.e. 1/80ths including Lump Sum) = Part A
- membership 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2014 (i.e. 1/60ths) = Part B1
- membership 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 (i.e. new LGPS 2014 scheme) = Part B2
- membership 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 (i.e. new LGPS 2014 scheme) = Part C
- membership 1 April 2020 onwards (i.e. new LGPS 2014 scheme) = Part D1
If you have an added years contract, any augmented membership, an Additional Regular Contribution (ARC) contract or have transferred in any other pension rights, these may fall outside of the elements or parts listed above.
These different elements or parts become unreduced at different points in time, depending on various factors, but mainly depending on what "Group" you fall into, there are four groups as follows:
- joined the scheme for the pension record in question before 1 October 2006 and born before 1 April 1956 = Group 1
- joined the scheme for the pension record in question before 1 October 2006 and born between 1 April 1956 to 31 March 1960 and meets the Rule of 85 before 01/04/2020 = Group 2
- joined the scheme for the pension record in question before 1 October 2006 and does not meet the criteria for Group 1 or 2 = Group 3
- joined the scheme for the pension record in question on or after 1 October 2006 (date of birth is not applicable) = Group 4
Please see the following table and/or the Rule of 85 Flowchart (see related documents section) to see when the different elements become unreduced for the different groups:
Joined before 1 October 2006
Born before 1 April 1956
Joined before 1 October 2006
Born 1 April 1956 to 31 March 1960
and meets rule 85 before 1 April 2020
Joined before 1 October 2006
but not a Group 1 or 2
Joined after 1 October 2006
|Part A membership
Before 1 April 2008 ie 1/80ths
|CRA (between ages 60 and 65)||CRA (between ages 60 and 65)||CRA (between ages 60 and 65)||65|
|Part B1 membership
1 April 2008 to 31 March 2014 ie 1/60ths
|CRA (between ages 60 and 65)||Taper (proportion of normal percentage reduction to 65)||65||65|
|Part B2 membership
1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 ie LGSP 2014 1/49ths
|CRA (between ages 60 and 65)||Taper (proportion of normal percentage reduction to 65)||SPA (minimum 65)||SPA (minimum 65)|
|Part C membership
1 April 2016 to 31 March 2020 ie LGSP 2014 1/49ths
|SPA (minimum 65)||Taper (proportion of normal percentage reduction to 65)||SPA (minimum 65)||SPA (minimum 65)|
|Part D1 membership
1 April 2020 onwards ie LGPS 2014 1/49ths
|SPA (minimum 65)||SPA (minimum 65)||SPA (minimum 65)||SPA (minimum 65)|
Each element is then reduced depending on how far before (or early) the retirement date is, compared to the unreduced date for that element (for example if a group one member retires on their 59th birthday and their CRA is 60, then this is one year early).
You can then refer to the reductions table below to look up the relevant reduction for each element based on the years paid early and gender for pension (lump sum reductions are the same for males and females).
First, please note the following important points:
- for part years, every day makes a small difference to the reduction, the reductions do not suddenly change on any given date of the year (i.e. a reduction for a male retiring three and a half years early would be 18 per cent as it is half way between the three year reduction of 16 per cent and the four year reduction of 20 per cent), this is known as 'interpolation'
- the "taper" reduction is more complicated and is dependent on a number of different factors, if you are a group 2 member with a taper reduction, are within two years of retirement and require an estimate, please complete the benefit estimate request form found on our factsheets and leaflets page.
- you must take all your pension benefits at the same time, i.e. you cannot just take an unreduced element and leave the other reduced elements until they reach their unreduced date.
|Years paid early||Pension reduction percentage
|Percentage reduction percentage
|Lump sum reduction percentage
Pension benefit increases
If you voluntarily retire after normal pension age, all of your pension benefits will be subject to an increase, this is to reflect the fact that you are taking the pension late and therefore will not be in receipt of it for as long. You must draw your pension by no later than age 75. Find out about late retirement payment rates.
Pension benefit estimates
If you require an estimate of your pension benefits, you can calculate your benefits. Alternatively if you are within two years of retirement and require an official pension benefit estimate, then please complete the provisional quote - estimate of pension form on our Factsheets and leaflets page. Due to the complexity of the calculations and current high workloads, these are taking a significant amount of time to complete, therefore you may experience a delay in receiving your estimate and as such, may wish to use the online calculator instead.
The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)