Retirement is no longer the cliff-edge it once was. In the past people tended to work until a retirement age set by their employer or the State. But you can now usually work for as long as you want and you don’t have to retire all in one go.
You might choose to retire gradually or to carry on working for longer perhaps moving to part-time work before you stop completely. When you give up work you’re likely to lose your main source of income so you need to make sure you’ll have enough income from other sources before you retire. It’s hard to know off the top of your head how much income you’ll need but there are several things you can do and think about which can help you decide when you can afford to retire
For most staff the minimum pension age is 55. This is the earliest age at which you can retire and draw your pension. Some longer serving staff may have a protected pension age of 50. If you think this may apply to you and you would like confirmation please contact The Pensions Office. If you retire early your pension will be reduced to take into account the longer period it will be paid.
If you are considering retirement, please take time to read the College’s Retirement Pension procedure. Your Annual Membership Statement will give you an idea of how much pension you have built up, you can also use the pension scheme modellers below to get a better idea of how much your pension and lump sum might be. The Pensions Office are also available to provide pensions estimates and other pension information.
What you need to know
Preparing for Retirement
If you are retiring you will need to submit your Intention to Retire Form or Partial or Flexible Retirement application at least three months prior to your retirement to ensure that your Pension Scheme benefits are paid on time.
Interested in Early Retirement?
There are several options if you are considering early retirement.
Voluntary Early Retirement - You can discuss early retirement with your line manager if you are age 55 or over (age 50 if you are a pension scheme member who has a protected pension age). In the meantime if you require a quotation of benefits, please contact The Pensions Office.
Flexible Retirement - This is only permissible in USS and the NHS 2008/2015 sections if you are age 55 or over. Flexible retirement allows you to draw a proportion of your pension and tax-free cash and continue working on a part-time basis i.e. with reduced hours and salary. The College will require three months’ notice of the date you intend to flexibly retire.
USS - you will need the College’s consent to a long-term reduction in your working hours and salary of at least 20% each time you flex. This reduction must apply for at least 12 months and would enable you to draw up to a maximum of 80% of your pension benefits. You can flexibly retire twice whilst continuing to work. On the third occasion you would have to fully retire.
NHS 2008/2015 sections – you will need the College’s consent to a long-term reduction in your working hours and salary of at least 10% each time you flex. This reduction must apply for at least 12 months and would enable you to draw up to a maximum of 80% of your pension benefits. You can flexibly retire twice whilst continuing to work. On the third occasion you would have to fully retire.
NHS 1995 section – Step down protection is available if you are age 55 or over (age 50 for some scheme members who have a protected pension age). This means you will be able to protect your higher pensionable pay if your salary reduces by at least 10% due to taking up a job in a less demanding role.
On Medical Grounds - If your health deteriorates so that you become permanently unable to do your job, you may apply to the Trustees for an immediate unreduced ill health early retirement pension. Please contact The Pensions Office for further information.
Working after Retirement
With the exception of ‘flexible retirement’, in order to take 100% of your accrued pension, you must terminate your current pensionable employment. You would not be deemed to have retired if you intend to commence another job with Imperial College, or with any other USS or SAUL employer. If, however, after you have retired you are subsequently offered new employment we have a duty to enrol you into a pension scheme. College policy, regardless, of pension scheme rules, require you to have a break of at least one calendar month before returning to work at Imperial College.
USS If you return to employment after retirement and are under your State Pension Age you will be automatically enrolled into USS and will start to build up a new pension. USS members who are made redundant between age 50 and 55 and are re-employed at the College, any USS Institution, or any employer connected with the College (e.g. Imperial NHS Trust) within six months of retirement (even in a non-pensionable post) will have their retirement benefits deemed as unauthorised payments by the Revenue and subject to tax.
SAUL You may return to Imperial College, or another SAUL employer in a part-time role. If you are under your State Pension Age you will be automatically enrolled into SAUL and start to build up a new pension. If you return to work in a full-time role your pension can be suspended or abated until such time as you cease employment again.
The NHS does allow re-employment as long as their criteria is met, however, the definitions differ between each section of the scheme. Further information can be found here.
In retirement on medical grounds USS, SAUL and the NHS will abate or suspend the pension if a member is re-employed. USS has strict criteria in these cases and continual monitoring. Please contact your HR adviser for further details.
Achieving 40 years pensionable service
If you have achieved over 40 years’ service in USS or SAUL you can continue paying contributions. With effect from 1/4/06 the Rule on maximum service was changed. There is no restriction on the amount of pensionable service you can accumulate in SAUL or USS up to age 75. If you opt to continue paying into your College pension scheme, the College will also continue to contribute. For details on the NHSPS please contact the College Pensions’ team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent financial adviser
You may also wish to consult an independent financial adviser and to help with this the College has signed contracts with a range of Independent Financial Advisers (IFA’s) who are available to assist in reviewing your options.