A Members Guide To Early Re t i r e m e n t

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1 A Members Guide To Early Re t i r e m e n t The Local Government Pension Scheme provides for early retirement in a number of circumstances. The application of the various early retirement provisions can be complex and you will need to read the terms attached to each. It is however more or less true to say that all retirements, prior to age 60, require the consent of the employer. Furthermore, with the exception of ill health, early retirement is not available prior to age 50. There are 5 early retirement provisions contained within the LGPS, these are:- Ill health retirement Redundancy Retirement in the interest of the efficiency of the service. The so called rule of 85. The cessation of a joint appointment. We will look at each of these in turn and set out the requirements attached to each one. Before we do so however, it is worth considering the basis of calculating pension benefits within the LGPS. Ill Health Re t i r e m e n t Where an employee, who has either completed 2 or more years of LGPS membership or has transferred previous nonlocal government pension rights in the LGPS, is required to retire because they are permanently incapable of performing the duties of their post, or any comparable post, by reason of ill health, they are entitled to the immediate payment of their pension and lump sum. Before such benefits can be paid the regulations governing the LGPS require that a certificate must be obtained from an approved occupational health physician confirming that the employee meets the permanent ill-health criteria. In the case of ill-health retirements, the LGPS provides for enhanced benefits to be paid, provided the person has a minimum of 5 years scheme membership. See page 5 for table. Example 1 A person aged 45 with 4 years scheme membership and pensionable earnings of 20,000 is required to retire on permanent ill-health grounds. In this example the person has less than 5 years scheme membership therefore no additional service would be granted. The pension benefits would be as follows:- Annual pension = 20,000 -:- 80 x 4 years = 1000 Lump sum = 1000 x 3 = 3000 Pension Benefits. The LGPS provides for a pension of 1/80th of your final years pensionable pay for each year of scheme membership plus a lump sum of 3 times the annual pension. Under current legislation a lump sum payable by the pension fund, on retirement, is tax-free.. A person has been a member of the LGPS for 30 years. The final years pensionable pay is 20,000. Their basic benefits would be as follows:- Annual Pension = 20,000 -:- 80 = 250 x 30 years = 7500 Lump sum = 7500 x 3 = Example 2 A person aged 40 with 8 years scheme membership and pensionable earnings of 20,000 retiring on permanent illhealth grounds. In this example the person has more than 5 years scheme membership, but less than 10, they would therefore be granted a period of enhancement equal to their period of scheme membership. The pension would therefore be calculated by reference to 8 years actual membership, plus 8 years enhancement giving 16 years in total. The pension benefits would therefore be as follows:- Annual Pension = 20,000 -:- 80 x 16 years = 4000 Lump sum = 4000 x 3 =

2 Example 3 A person aged 55 with 25 years scheme membership and pensionable earnings of 25,000 again retiring on permanent ill health grounds. In this example the person has more than 13 years 122 days of scheme membership. They would therefore qualify for 6 years 243 days of enhancement. The pension would therefore be calculated be reference to 31 years 243 days (i.e. 25 years actual membership plus 6 years 243 days enhancement). The pension benefits would therefore be as follows:- Annual Pension = :- 80 x years = 9895 Lump Sum = 9895 x 3 = Early Retirement At The Employers Instigation. The LGPS provides that where a person, aged 50 or over, is required to retire by their employer, either because of redundancy or in the interests of the efficiency of the service, or because of the cessation of a joint appointment, the person is entitled to the immediate payment of their pension and lump sum, subject to the person having completed 2 or more years scheme membership or having transferred former non- LGPS rights into the scheme. Note, joint appointments are now very rare. This provision dates back to when a husband and wife would be appointed jointly e.g. to manage a children s home. If one of the partners were to die, the other could not then continue in that employment and if they were aged 50 or over they would qualify for their pension, subject to them having completed 2 or more years of scheme membership. Where a person has more than 5 years local authority employment, during which the person was entitled to participate in the LGPS, the employer can grant a period of enhancement. The maximum period of enhancement, which the employer can grant to an LGPS member is lesser of:- A period equal to the person s membership of the LGPS. The period needed to give the person the pension scheme membership they would have enjoyed at age 65. The period needed to give the person 40 years pension scheme membership. 10 years. Enhancement is awarded at the employer s discretion and employees do not have a right to be granted such added years. Local authorities and statutory employers participating in the LGPS however are required to have a published policy setting out how they will apply their discretion. Please note that employers are required to keep their enhancement policies under review and policies are therefore subject to change. A person aged 52 is required to retire in the interests of the efficiency of the service he has been a member of the LGPS for 34 years and his employer grants him 6 years enhancement (i.e. the maximum enhancement available, which will make his pensionable service up to 40 years in total). His pensionable earnings are 24,000. The benefits are therefore as follows:- Annual Pension = :- 80 x 40 years = Lump Sum = x 3 = Previous Pe n s i o n Rights. An employers ability to award enhancement may be limited where a person is entitled to pension benefits from a previous job. This restriction applies where the sum of the previous pensionable service, the period of LGPS membership and the period of enhancement amount to more than 40 years in total. Where this restriction applies, the pension in relation to any enhancement must be restricted to ensure that the occupational pensions in total do not amount to more than 50% of the persons pensionable pay during the final year of local government employment. If the sum of the basic LGPS pension (i.e. the pension without enhancement) and the previous occupational pension amount to more than 50% of the last years pensionable pay no enhancement can be granted on the pension element of the LGPS package. A person aged 60 has 10 years membership of the LGPS and has pensionable earnings of 36,000. He is to be made redundant and the employer s policy would be to grant him 5 years enhancement (i.e. to make his membership up to that which he would have completed by age 65). However, prior to becoming employed in local government the person had completed 30 years in the police service and is currently in receipt of a police pension of 15,000 a year. In total his pensionable service, including enhancement, amounts to 45 years (e.g. 10 years local government, plus 5 years enhancement, plus 30 years in the police pension scheme). Without the restriction his local government pension would be based upon 15 years pensionable service (i.e. 10 years LGPS membership and 5 years enhancement) and amount to :- Annual Pension = 36,000 -:- 80 x 15 years = 6750 Lump sum = 6750 x 3 =

3 However 50% of his local government pensionable pay amounts to 36,000 x 50% = and on the basis of the above calculation his total pensions would amount to (i.e LGPS police pension) which is not allowable. In this example therefore the employer would be unable to offer any enhancement to the pension because, even with out the added years, the basic LGPS pension and the police pension amount to more than 50% of his pay. The employer could however still award enhancement on the lump sum element of the LGPS package. His award under the LGPS would therefore be as follows:- LGPS Pension = :- 80 x 10 years (actual LGPS service) = 4500 Lump sum = :- 80 x 3 x 15 years (enhanced LGPS service) = Redundancy Pa y m e n t s. Where a person is made redundant and awarded enhanced years of service, which amount to more than 6 years 243 days, the benefits relating to any enhanced years are reduced by 30% of the redundancy payment, for each year or part year by which the enhanced period exceeds 6 years 243 days. A person is to retire on redundancy grounds. He is aged 53 and has 32 years of LGPS membership. His pensionable earnings are 20,000, the employer agrees to give him maximum enhancement, which in this case is 8 years (i.e. the period needed to make his membership up to 40 years). His redundancy payment amounts to Redundancy Claw back 9972 x 30% x (8years enhancement 6years 243 days) = 3990* Annual Pension = 20,000 -:- 80 x 40 years = 10,000 Lump Sum = 10,000 x 3 = 30, * claw back = * NOTE. The redundancy claw back is applied only to the pension benefits relating to the enhanced added years. There can be circumstances where the claw back amounts to more than the lump sum relating to the added years. When this happens the balance is converted to a pension and is applied as a permanent deduction to the added years pension. Redundancy Claw back 9972 x 30% x (10 years enhancement 6 years 243 days) = 9972 Less: Enhanced Lump Sum 20,000 -:- 80 x 3 x 10 added years = 7500 Balance of claw back to be converted to a deduction from pension = 2472* Annual deduction from pension = 2472* -:- 100 x 6.31# = 155 # Note these factors are determined by age on an individual basis. Annual pension = 20,000 -:- 80 x 40 years = 10,000 Less: Redundancy payment claw back - pension = 155 Annual pension Payable after claw back = 9845 Lump Sum 10,000 x 3 = 30,000 Less: Redundancy payment claw back lump sum = 7500 Net lump sum payable = The Rule Of 85 What is the rule of 85? The rule of 85 is not a retirement condition. It is a test to establish whether or not a person s benefits, both pension and lump sum, can be paid without actuarial reductions. The test is; does the sum of the person s age and length of scheme membership, both expressed in completed years, amount to 85 or more? If the total does amount to 85 or more, the person can receive unreduced benefits. If the sum of the persons age and scheme membership amount to less than 85, both the pension and lump sum would be due at a reduced rate. However before benefits could be paid the person would have to satisfy one of the payment conditions, these are:- That the person has attained age 60 and completed 2 or more years of scheme membership or transferred nonlocal government rights into the LGPS, or That the person has attained age 50 and completed 2 or more years of scheme membership or transferred nonlocal government rights into the LGPS and has obtained their employers consent to retire early. In other words, under the rule of 85, retirement prior to age 60 can only take place with the employers consent. All employers participating in the LGPS must have a published policy stating how they will apply their discretion, should an employee request early retirement prior to age 60, under the rule of 85. In the previous calculation we assumed 8 years enhancement. If however the person had only completed 30 years scheme membership and the employer had agreed to grant 10 years enhancement the figures would have been as follows:- An employee, who had attained age 55 and completed 30 years scheme membership could be allowed to retire with unreduced benefits under the rule of 85 (i.e. age years = 85). A person aged 55 with 29 years service could still apply 3

4 s A person who has attained age 60 and completed 5 years service is 10 years away from meeting the 85 test (i.e. age years = 85), however they are only 5 years away from age 65, the reductions would therefore be based upon 5 years. As this person has attained age 60 she does not require her employers permission to retire. If her pensionable earning are her pension benefits would be as follows:- Annual pension = 15,000 -:- 80 x 5 years membership = 937 Less: Early payment reduction of 27% = 253 Pension payable after reductions applied = 684 Lump sum = 937 x 3 = 2811 Less: Early payment reduction 11% = 309 Lump sum payable after reductions applied = 2502 (2) A person, aged 59 with 24 years scheme membership, would satisfy the rule of 85 in one years time (i.e. age 60 with 25 years membership = 85). Therefore if the employer agreed to the person retiring at age 59 i.e. before age 60, the benefits would be reduced on the basis that he is one year away from meeting the 85 test. If his pensionable pay is 15,000 the pension benefits would be:- Annual pension = 15,000 -:- 80 x 24 years membership = 4500 Less: Early payment reduction of 8% = 360 Pension after early payment reduction = 4140 Lump sum = 4500 x 3 = Less : early payment reduction of 2% = 270 Lump sum after early payment reduction = The factors issued by the Government Actuary s Department, specify the reductions applicable to benefits in these circumstances. Please note that reductions are based upon the period, in years and days, by which a persons pension benefits are paid early. Other Factors for c o n s i d e r a t i o n E n h a n c e m e n t / A u g m e n t a t i o n There are two routes by which an employer may grant added years. These are either by way of enhancement or augmentation. For the most part the main differences between these provisions lies in how the employer would meet the cost of financing the added years. In the case of enhancement the employer meets the cost on a pay as you go basis i.e. the additional benefits are not a charge on the pension fund, but are met by the employer at the point of payment. In the case of augmentation the costs are a charge on the pension fund and the employer meets these costs via their contributions to the pension fund. There are however the following to retire under this provision however because the sum of their age and service amount to less than 85 (i.e. age 55 = 29 years = 84) reductions may apply to their pension benefits. In short, your age and service do not have to amount to 85 before you can retire under this provision, however if you do retire before you meet the 85 test your benefits may be subject to reduction. Where reductions do apply to benefits they are calculated on the basis of the lesser of the following periods:- The period the person would need to remain in service in order to meet the 85 test, or The period between retirement and the person attaining age 65. differences:- Enhancement can only be granted in the case of redundancy, retirement in the interests of the efficiency of the service or the cessation of a joint appointment i.e. enhancement cannot be granted in rule of 85 cases. The employer can however award augmentation in redundancy, efficiency, joint appointment and rule of 85 cases. It is not however possible for an employee to receive both enhancement and augmentation as part of the same award. The maximum enhancement that can be awarded is 10 years whilst the maximum augmentation is 6 years 243 days. Where the sum of a persons redundancy payment, any pay in lieu of notice, and the lump sum which relates to the award of enhancement amounts to more than 30,000 the balance over 30,000 is subject to tax. However because augmentation is a charge on the pension fund, any lump sum relating to augmented years is not assessable for tax under the 30,000 golden handshake rules. Re - e m p l o y m e n t If after retiring you gain further employment with an employer who participates in the local government pension scheme there are a number of things you need to consider:- Lumps sums payable by any pension fund are only tax free if paid at retirement. The Inland Revenue have expressed 4

5 concerns with regard to people taking early retirement and then returning to the service of the same employer after a very short space of time as employees or consultants. There clearly can be legitimate circumstances where a person does become re-employed by their former employer and this does not affect the tax-free status of the lump sum. However where the Inland Revenue consider that at the time of retirement there was an intention to reengage the person they may seek to regard the whole of the lump sum as taxable. The tax authorities appear to be taking this seriously, it has been reported in the press that they have sought to tax the lump sum of a person who remained in the service of his former employer as an unpaid advisor. The level of earnings in the new job also needs to be considered. Basically if the sum of your pension and the earnings from your new job exceed the earnings of the job from which you retired, the excess would be deducted from your pension for the duration of the re-employment. Where there is a gap between retiring and becoming reemployed the earnings of the former job may be increased to take into account inflation. On leaving the second job, it may be necessary to reduce any enhanced years granted on retirement from the first job, by the amount of the pension benefits you earned during the re-employment or which you could have earned, but for your decision not to join the LGPS in your new post. As a simple example, a person was made redundant at age 55 and given 10 years enhancement. He is re-employed at age 57 and works until age 60. At age 60 we would deduct from his enhanced benefits the extra pension and lump sum he earned during the 3 years for which he was re-employed. If the person had either opted out of the LGPS or failed to join the LGPS during this 3 years period we would still deduct in full the benefits (i.e. pension and lump sum) he could have earned during this period. In other words you cannot avoid these reductions by not joining or opting out of the LGPS. A guide for reemployed pensioners has been prepared and is available from the Pension Section. Please note that a re-employed pensioner is required by law to inform the Pension Section of his/her reemployment. We have numerous examples of people who have been overpaid as a result of a failure to notify such employment. Please note that in all cases, we recover in full any over payment from the persons pension. It is not enough for you to tell your employer or departmental manager that you are in receipt of a pension, you are responsible for making the notification and you must personally inform the Pension Section. Minimum Pension Benefits In some cases the LGPS is required to provide a minimum pension underpin known as a requisite benefit. Where reductions are to be applied to a persons pension under the rule of 85 those reductions cannot result in the person receiving a pension below the requisite benefit level. Ill Health Retirement Ta b l e From Page 1 The scales of enhancement are as follows:- Period Of Scheme Membership Less than 5 years Additional Scheme Membership Nil 5 or more years but less than 10 A period equal to the person s period of scheme membership. 10 or more years but less than13 years 122 days The period needed to make the persons membership up to 20 years More than 13 years 122 days An additional 6 years 243 days NOTE: The period of enhancement must be restricted where the additional period would result in the person having more than 40 years of scheme membership in total, or more membership than they could have completed by age 65. For further information on early retirement, or any other matter relating to the LGPS please contact :- The Section Head, Pensions Section, Finance Directorate, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland NE61 2EF. 5

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