No, we are not permitted to offer advice to you on any aspect of your pension (regardless of how trivial the issue may seem). Of course we will provide you with the necessary information on which to base a decision, but you should take advice from an independent financial adviser.
The normal retirement age for both men and women in the LGPS is your State Pension Age. Since April 2006, you have been able to continue paying into the scheme until your 75th birthday. Nobody is expected (or forced) to work beyond their normal retirement age, but some people like to continue working beyond it. Note: benefits may be taken earlier – at age 55, but there could be a percentage reduction applied depending on you satisfying the ‘Eighty-Five Year Rule’.
If you are entitled to a Pension Credit, you are entitled to receive your benefits at the retirement age of 65. However you can elect to receive them from age 60 but they would be subject to an actuarial reduction.
Your pension is linked to the Consumer Price Index which charts the price of various goods and services over a period of time. This figure is applied annually to your deferred benefit, right up to when it finally comes into payment. This means that, between the dates of leaving your employment and your pension starting, the benefits will not lose any value when compared to modern day costs of living.
In order to retire on ill health, you must receive confirmation from your authority’s approved doctor (through the relevant process) that your illness is serious enough to prevent you from carrying out the requirements of your employment or that of a similar role.
If you are confirmed as eligible for ill-health retirement, you would qualify for immediate benefits (possibly with an enhancement), regardless of your age. Without this confirmation, you would not be able to retire on ill health grounds.
You can voluntarily resign from your employment of course, but you would not be eligible for benefits unless you were at least 55 (but the benefits would not include an ill-health enhancement).
An alternative option may be flexible retirement.
Final pay is normally the pensionable pay earned in the 365 days immediately before your retirement date, or one of the previous two years’ pensionable pay – whichever is the higher figure. If part time (less than 37 hours a week and/or term-time only), the figures used in the pension calculations are up rated to that of full-time equivalent pensionable pay. If your hourly rate has dropped within the last 10 years, benefits may be calculated differently because your pensionable pay has decreased. On your request, final pay may be calculated on the average of any 3 consecutive years in the last 13 years (ending on a 31 March) after allowing for inflation. If you wish that we use the best three year average in the last 13 years when calculating your benefits, you must write to Peninsula Pensions at least a month before you leave as this option cannot apply once you have left.
You need to apply to your employer, not Devon Pensions Service, and with your employers consent, you can take your benefits from an earlier age (currently 55 years plus), in exchange for reducing your hours and/or your grade. If your employer agrees to let you take flexible retirement, it (the employer) has the discretion to waive any actuarial reductions which may otherwise be applied to your pension. If you currently work for Devon County Council you can find more information here. Otherwise, you should contact your employer’s HR for the relevant policy document.