If you voluntarily leave your job between the ages of 55 and 75, you can choose to take your pension benefits immediately if you satisfy one of the following criteria:
- You have at least 2 years' membership
- You transferred other pension rights into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), and the length of membership in the previous scheme(s) plus your LGPS membership totals at least 2 years
- You already have a deferred LGPS pension benefit which you have not yet claimed
- You have an LGPS pension in payment
- You are leaving within the same tax year as you reach your state pension age
- You cease to contribute to the LGPS at the age of 75
Taking your pension early
If you leave and take your pension before your state pension age, your pension benefits will normally be reduced. This is because you are taking your pension benefits early and it's expected that you'll normally receive it for longer than if you waited until your state pension age.
If you voluntarily take your pension benefits early, your pension stays reduced permanently.
You can get an estimate of your pension, including any reductions on My Pension Online or by completing an estimate request form.
When you are considering applying for your pension benefits early with a reduction, you may wish to seek independent financial advice.
The reduction factors
There's a list of reduction factors which may apply if you take your pension early on the national LGPS members' website.
Rule of 85 protection
If you started your job and joined the LGPS before 1 October 2006 you may have ‘rule of 85’ protection. This protects some or all of your benefits from reduction. Attached to this page you will find our factsheet on "When can I retire with unreduced benefits." Your Rule of 85 date was shown on your active annual benefit statement up until 2018.
Taking your pension late
If you voluntarily retire later than your state pension age, you'll be entitled to a late retirement increase. The increase is applicable up to the age of 75, when you must take your LGPS benefits, whether you stay in your job or not.
How to voluntarily apply for your pension
Once you've obtained an estimate of the pension you'll receive, and you'll be aged 55 or over on your chosen retirement date, you can decide to apply for your LGPS pension benefits. You will then need to inform your employer that you are retiring.
You'll also need to honour the notice period required by your contract of employment.
We will write to you with the pension options that are available to you.
You don't have to take your pension if you are 55 or over when you leave your job. You can decide to apply for it at a later date with less of a reduction being applied to it, or wait until your state pension age to receive it without reduction.
We often don't find out that you have retired until some time after your retirement date, which can cause delays in the payment of your pension benefits. It's a good idea to plan for the possible late payment of your pension by making alternative plans for your finances in the weeks immediately after your retirement.
For more details, you can visit our page on the steps to receiving your pension benefits.
Links to useful documents