I’ve read that some pension schemes are selling members' data. Does this affect my Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) pension?
Civil Service Pensions (CSP) treats the information it holds on members’ pension schemes with the utmost confidentiality and never sells information to a third party.
How much is my preserved pension worth?
When you left you would have received a statement of your pension benefits. These preserved pension benefits will have cost of living increases (pensions increases) added each year, where applicable until they are put into payment.
Please refer to your scheme guide for more detailed information.
When can I take my classic, classic plus, premium, nuvos or alpha pension?
The earliest you can claim your pension without reduction is at your Normal Pension Age (NPA).
If you want to claim your pension before your NPA you can apply to claim your pension from your scheme minimum pension age if you meet certain requirements.
If you claim your pension early it will be reduced because it is likely to be paid for a longer period of time. The earlier you claim your pension the greater the reduction will be.
Please refer to your scheme guide for more detailed information about claiming your pension.
How do I update my personal details?
Can I give up some of my pension in exchange for a lump sum?
At retirement, all members who left the scheme on or after 1 October 2007 are given the option to give up some of their pension in exchange for a lump sum, up to the maximum allowed by HMRC.
If your pension was deferred before 1 October 2007, there may be different lump sum options available to you. Your retirement quote will provide details of the lump sum options available to you.
All NICS pension schemes use the same commutation rate of 12:1 – this means for each £1 of pension given up, you receive £12 of lump sum.
What is abatement?
Abatement is when your pension is reduced because your re-employed pay and your pension are more than the pay you received before claiming your pension. Full details can be found in the scheme guides:
Abatement does not apply to alpha pensions
Can I have my pension/lump sum paid into an overseas bank account?
Yes, payments can be made into most overseas bank accounts. Please contact CSP for an overseas payment mandate.
How is my tax code determined?
HMRC is responsible for tax codes. When the scheme begins to pay your benefits they will be taxed using the standard emergency tax code. This code will be updated when HMRC provide a new code to use to tax your benefits.
What happens if the date my lump sum is payable falls on a weekend or a Bank Holiday?
All payments will be made on the next working day.
How do I obtain an estimate of the value of my pension for my divorce proceedings?
You should contact CSP who will provide you with an estimate.
How do I transfer my pension to another pension provider?
You should contact the scheme that you want to transfer to (the receiving scheme), as they may need certain information from you.
With your authorisation they should be able to request a transfer on your behalf. Transfers to defined contribution or Money Purchase Scheme are no longer allowed from 6 April 2015, following Government changes announced at Budget 2014
Can I transfer my pension to another pension provider overseas?
Yes. The transfer must be made to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) that is “recognised for tax purposes” under the tax legislation of the country or territory in which it is established.
How do I change my death benefit nominee?
You will need to complete a new death benefit nomination form.
What happens if I die before I receive my pension?
There may be a death benefit lump sum payable to your nominee(s). The amount of death benefit lump sum can differ by scheme and according to individual circumstances. Information regarding death benefit lump sum payments can be found in the scheme guides:
How do I report a bereavement?
You should contact CSP. You will also need to send an original or certified copy of the death certificate to CSP who will review any monies due to or from the estate or beneficiaries. If the deceased was in receipt of a pension, on receipt of the notification, pension payments will be suspended. Please refer to the scheme guides for more detailed information.
I think I was a member of the NICS pension schemes in the past - how do I check?
You can request that we check any pension you may have by contacting CSP.
How can I find more information about the pension scheme?
You can find more information in the scheme guides:
What is a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)?
The NICS pension schemes were contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) prior to 6 April 2016. If you were a member of the Civil Service Pension Scheme between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997, GMP is the minimum amount that the scheme must provide for you at State Pension Age (SPA).
Former partnership members
Your pensions provider will send you an annual statement about the fund you have built up. If you have any queries about your pension fund, you should contact your pension provider directly.
Don’t forget to tell your provider your new address if you move or if you change your bank account details.
Stakeholder Scheme members
If you have a preserved stakeholder account with Standard Life and have a query, please contact Standard Life directly.
Telephone 0800 333 304 or visit the Standard Life website.
Northern Ireland Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (NICSAVCS) and Stakeholder members
If you have a preserved NICSAVCS account with either Scottish Widows or Standard Life and have a query, please contact the providers directly. Their contact details are:
Telephone 0800 028 4419 or visit the Scottish Widows website
Telephone 0800 333 304 or visit the Standard Life website
If you have a preserved Equitable Life account, please contact CSP.
Can I have a deferred benefit statement?
Deferred members can request a statement of their deferred benefits at any time. To do this, please contact CSP.
If you request more than one statement a year there may be a charge
Will my statement show estimates for early retirement?
No. Your deferred benefit statement shows the value of your deferred benefits in the scheme at date of your statement and assumes the benefits are paid at your Normal Pension Age (NPA). If you wish to claim your benefits before NPA you should contact CSP.
What will my statement show?
Your deferred benefit statement will contain the following information:
- your service start and end dates
- your benefits (including any survivors’ benefits)
- details of how your benefits have been calculated and any deductions that have been made
- your pensionable pay on the date you left service
The disclosure of information regulations requires us to provide the above information, however in some cases we may not have complete records and if this is the case we will include estimates or highlight any data that we do not hold.
Why does the amount at the statement date differ from the amount when I left?
The benefits that you have built up have been revalued in line with the cost of living and any increases applied where applicable. This will continue up to your Normal Pension Age or the date that you claim your benefits.
Will I automatically receive a deferred benefit statement in the future?
No. Deferred members can request a statement of their benefits each year. To do this, please contact CSP. Don’t forget to include your name, date of birth and National Insurance number or our scheme reference number.
What do I need to do if I don’t think the dates or information in the statement are correct?
If you have a query about your statement, please email it to CSP. Don’t forget to include your name, date of birth and National Insurance number or our scheme reference number.