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Lots has been happening since our last edition and we are keen to keep you updated. This Newsletter provides a further animated video and pulls together information on current issues that may impact you, scroll down to find out more.
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Response to the Consultation on NICS Pension Scheme Retrospective Remedy
As you will be aware, the Department of Finance consulted on proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Civil Service Pension Scheme as part of the 2015 Remedy (McCloud) programme to address the unlawful age discrimination identified by the Courts. The consultation closed on 2 June 2023. You can read the response to the consultation at Consultation on NICS Pension Scheme Retrospective Remedy
Are you affected by the 2015 Remedy (McCloud)?
Over 40,000 current and former Civil Servants are affected by the 2015 Remedy.
Are you one of them? You can access our interactive 'Am I affected? Tool' to check if you are affected.
The tool will give you an indication of whether you’re likely to be offered a choice under the 2015 Remedy when you take your pension benefits from 1 October 2023. You won’t be asked to share any personal details or need any specific information to hand – the tool will guide you.
How am I affected? What to Expect?
On 1 April 2022, all active 2015 Remedy affected members were moved into the alpha scheme. This was the first phase in addressing the unlawful age discrimination.
View the animated video below for further detail on the next phase, including how this may affect you as you approach your retirement or how this may affect those of you who have already retired and are in receipt of pension benefits.
Further information on what to expect, if you are retiring after September 2023, is provided in a dedicated web page 2015 Remedy (McCloud) Retirement Quotations.
Key Dates and Jargon Buster during the Remedy Process
We know the world of pensions can be complicated and difficult to understand as we progress through the Remedy process. As we approach 1 October 2023, we will be referring to a variety of different terms, for example 'rollback'. So, what do we mean by rollback?
Rollback - The term used to describe the process by which in-scope members are placed back into a relevant legacy pension scheme(s). The legacy pension schemes for the NICS are Classic, Classic Plus, Premium and Nuvos.
There are a number of key dates already in place to help ensure that the Remedy is completed as quickly as possible. These are listed on the Key Remedy Dates and Jargon Buster page on the website and will be updated as progress is made.
Ill-Health Retirement – What if I am affected by Remedy?
Some members retire because their health prevents them from being able to continue working. Applications to retire due to ill-health are carefully examined based on the member’s health condition and the role they are in, as well as the ill health retirement rules or regulations of the scheme in place at the time of application.
If you are affected by the 2015 Remedy (McCloud) and applied for ill-health retirement during the remedy period (1 April 2015 – 31 March 2023), whether the application was successful or not, your application may be re-assessed.
This re-assessment is to understand whether any member who applied for ill-health retirement under their existing pension scheme, would have been eligible for ill-health benefits under their alternative pension scheme. If you have already been awarded ill-health retirement, please don’t worry, your award will not be reversed because of the re-assessment.
Work is progressing in the background to ensure we address the needs of this group of members.
We will make sure that further details of the process and timelines are provided on the Ill-Health Retirement - Members affected by Remedy page on our website when they become available.
A full range of resources can be accessed at the McCloud Judgment and 2015 Remedy page on the website.
This webpage has a wealth of information including animated videos, explaining what the McCloud 2015 Remedy is and what to expect. More content, including tools and calculators, are under development so we encourage you to keep checking this webpage for further updates and newsletters.
Your Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) and New Online Pension Portal
You can now access details about your pension online on the Northern Ireland Civil Service Pension Scheme (NICSPS) Information Centre!
Check out the New - Online Pension Portal where you will also be able to access your Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) and as an active member check the details of any Death Benefit nomination(s) held, providing you with peace of mind that your nomination is up to date.
Is your Death Benefit Nomination up to date?
As always, please remember the importance of ensuring you have an up-to-date Death Benefit Nomination.
The NICS Pension Schemes do not only provide pension benefits for you but in certain circumstances they also provide benefits after your death to the people you care about. You can complete a Death Benefit Nomination form to confirm who you want to be considered to receive any lump sum benefit. This could be a family member, a friend, a charity, a business or any other organisation.
As a member of the alpha pension scheme, you can name as many nominees as you wish and choose how to split the lump sum between them. More information and forms can be found on the Death Benefit Nomination webpage.
Over the coming months, we will be sharing more information and providing guidance to help you understand if and how you are affected and what this may mean for your pension.
A new Remedy Illustrator tool is under development.
This illustrator will be designed to provide members with an overview of how different circumstances may impact on your choice between your legacy scheme and the alpha scheme for the Remedy period (1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022). It allows you to make an approximate comparison based on your inputs and certain assumptions about what happens in the future. It will not show a final retirement benefit offer and is designed to illustrate your basic service benefits only. It is not intended to provide you with financial advice, and it does not allow for all circumstances. So watch this space!! We will let you know when it is available.
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