Scottish NHS pensions: are they different from England?

Pensions can be confusing for many people, and the NHS pension has additional layers of complexity that make it difficult to get to grips with.

Different parts of the UK have their own NHS pension scheme administrators, meaning they work independently of each other.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) are responsible for administering the NHS Pension for England and Wales. For Scotland, it’s the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA), and in Northern Ireland, it’s the Health and Social Care (HSC) that administers the NHS Pension in those areas.

Each scheme works in a very similar way but with a few minor differences. The fact of the matter is if you live and work in Scotland, you will be part of the Scottish NHS pension scheme. Here are the SPPA NHS scheme benefits explained.

Scottish NHS pensions – the benefits

Scottish NHS Pension: Contributions – The amount you pay towards your pension scheme depends on your ‘pensionable pay,’ which from October 2023, ranges from5.7% for the lowest earners to 13.7% for those earning over £68,222. Your employer will contribute an amount equal to 20.9% of your pensionable pay into the scheme on your behalf.

Scottish NHS Pension: Ill Health Retirement – If you’re an active member of a Scottish NHS pension scheme and fall into ill health, you may qualify for a pension. As a member of more than two years, if you are permanently unable to work until normal retirement age, you may qualify for ill health retirement. The amount awarded would depend on individual circumstances. It should give you peace of mind knowing that your pension scheme will help you should you need it.

Scottish NHS Pension: Death Benefits – In the event of your death, the Scottish NHS pension has a number of valuable benefits for your loved ones. Your death in service benefit includes a lump sum of twice your relevant earnings in the last 12 months or revalued relevant earnings in one of the last 10 years (if higher). Survivor benefits are also paid and any survivor benefits that are based upon service within a previous scheme will be calculated separately.

Scottish NHS Pension: Injury Benefits – The NHS Injury Benefit Scheme supports Scottish NHS employees who have reported an injury or illness before March 31st 2013. You do not need to be a member of the NHS pension scheme and there is no qualifying period. This benefit is in place to support members who have had their ability to earn a living compromised by this illness or injury. If your application is approved, the scheme can provide a number of different types of payments to meet your needs.

Why should you join the Scottish NHS pension scheme?

As NHS doctors, you have dedicated your career to helping others, so it’s right that you should have a comfortable pension and protection to lean back on to enjoy your retirement.

The most valuable benefit of your Scottish NHS pension is access to a high quality occupational pension scheme, this one gives you an excellent package of pension benefits which the government guarantees.

Once you have accrued two years of service in NHS Scotland, you will be entitled to receive a pension payable for life when you retire. Other benefits include the option to transfer previous pension rights, early retirement options should you want to wind down work hours for whatever reason, and death benefits so you can protect your dependents.

Enrolment in the Scottish NHS pension scheme is automatic, but it is not compulsory, and you can opt out whenever you want. However, we highly recommend talking to a Chase de Vere Medical independent financial adviser first to ensure it’s the right choice for your financial future.

In most cases, being a member of the NHS pension scheme is the most financially beneficial option, and it has many benefits to protect you in the future, whether during planned retirement or when you find your regular income impacted by illness or injury.

If you’d like to explore your options with the Scottish NHS pension scheme regarding your individual experience, please do get in touch to organise a complimentary consultation with a Chase de Vere Medical independent financial adviser now.

A pension is a long-term investment. The value of your investments (and any income from them) can down as well as up which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The above is for guidance only and does not constitute advice.

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