What age can I take my NHS Pension?

Whether you’re nearing retirement age or simply thinking ahead, you’re likely wondering, “What age can I take my NHS Pension?”. Today, we’re here to answer that question to help you plan your financial future. We’ll cover what happens when you retire at different stages.

What age can I take my NHS Pension: Normal Pension Age

You may have heard the term Normal Pension Age (NPA). This depends on which section of the NHS Pension scheme you are in. The NPAs for each section are as follows:

  • 1995 NPA: 60
  • 2008 NPA: 65
  • 2015 NPA: 65 (The 2015 NPA is 65 or state pension age if later)

The ages above are the minimum age you can take your full pension benefits unless you are part of the 1995 scheme with Special Class Status.

If you retire at the Normal Pension Age, you can draw your pension and lump sum benefits from this section without any reduction. But the benefits you get do depend on your scheme.

In the 1995 section, you’ll get a pension and retirement lump sum based on your scheme membership and the best of your last 3 years’ pensionable pay.

In the 2008 section, you’ll get a pension based on your scheme membership and reckonable pay. Your reckonable pay is the average of the best 3 consecutive years’ pay in the last 10.

The 2015 scheme will mean you get a pension based on 1/54th of your pensionable pay for each year you contributed to the scheme. The pension you get is increased each year by a method known as revaluation.

When considering what age you can take your NHS Pension, you will want to take a good look at what benefits you get when retiring at the NPA for your scheme.

What age can I take my NHS Pension if I want to retire early?

If you’re looking into retiring early, it’s important to understand the ramifications on your NHS Pension.

The earliest you can take your NHS Pension is the minimum person age. Those ages are the following:

  • 1995 Minimum Pension Age before 6 April 2006: 50
  • 1995 Minimum Pension Age on or after 6 April 2006: 55 (unless you have a protected minimum pension age)
  • 2008 Minimum Pension Age: 55
  • 2015 Minimum Pension Age: 55

These ages are before the Normal Pension Age and are considered early retirement when you take your NHS Pension before the NPA. This means your pension will be reduced because it is being paid early and will be paid for longer. The reduction depends on how many years before the NPA it is being claimed.

The reduction will depend on your unique circumstances, so before deciding, it is worth talking to a specialist financial adviser to help you understand your options.

What else do I need to consider while looking at what age I can take my NHS Pension?

If you want to retire before the Normal Pension Age for your scheme, there are other options to consider before early retirement.

There’s partial retirement, which helps you to transition from work to retirement. If you’re in the 2015 scheme, once you reach your minimum pension age, you can choose to take part or all of your pension benefits while you continue working in NHS employment and build your pension benefits. This is also possible for pension benefits you’ve earned in the 1995 or 2008 Section or 2015 Scheme.

You can take between 20% and 100% of your pension benefits in one or two drawdown payments without leaving your current job. This is also known as flexible retirement, and you can discover more about the difference between flexible and early retirement here.

What age can I take my NHS Pension, and does that mean I should?

Ultimately, the age at which you decide to retire from the NHS is a personal decision. Whether you want to retire early, at the NPA or flexibly after that, it’s a decision that must be made based on your individual circumstances.

To discuss what age may be best for you to take your NHS pension or to discuss other ways of building your retirement funds, get in touch with a Chase de Vere specialist financial adviser. Book your consultation today.


The information provided herein is based on current tax laws and regulations, which are subject to change.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate tax advice.

Please be aware that the value of investments can fall as well as rise, so you could get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The above is not individual financial advice.

Content correct at time of writing.

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