Pension basics

Learn about saving for retirement with your LPPA pensions.


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Understanding your pension

Pension terms and phrases

How your pension works

This the amount of money that you contribute to your pension each month, which is taken from your salary – plus any financial contributions made by your employer.

Yes, it is. This is because your pension is part of a defined benefit scheme, which means you’ll get a guaranteed pension when you retire. Rest assured, your pension is not affected by the ups and downs of the stock market.

Yes, but you will need to set it up. To get started, visit the access my online account page of the LPPA website.

Only if your earnings change, as the amount of contributions you pay into your pension depends on what you earn.

In the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), you pay a contribution rate of between 5.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, depending on your wage.

In the Firefighters’ scheme (2015) this is between 11 per cent and 14.5 per cent.

In the Police scheme (2015) this is between 12.44 and 13.78 per cent. Please be aware, these contribution rates may be reduced if you are ineligible for ill health benefits.

To find out more, click here for LGPS, here for Firefighters’ and here for Police pension contribution rates.

Your pension will usually continue to be paid until you die. It may also continue to pay a survivor’s pension to your partner or a dependant child after you die.

Your pension is calculated based on your salary and how long you have been paying into the scheme. It is made up of any CARE benefits and/or Final Salary benefits you have built up, depending on when you joined the scheme.

Opting in

Your employer will set up your pension account for you. If you are eligible, you can also opt-in to the scheme at any time if you have previously opted out.

Please note, you will need to complete a starter form to join the Police or Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, which you can download from our Forms and documents page.

You’ll receive our welcome letter, introducing you to the scheme and telling you what you need to know.

Yes. If you opted out previously, you can opt-in at any time, provided you remain eligible for membership. Please note, you may need to pay to take a medical examination to rejoin the Police Pension Scheme.

Opting out

Yes, you can. There’s no rule that you must remain a member of your scheme. But it’s wise to think carefully before making a decision. If you’re a member of an LGPS scheme, you also have the option of switching to the 50/50 scheme as an alternative to opting out.

You just need to fill out a Local Government, Police or Firefighters’ Pension opt-out form, which you can download from our Forms and documents page, and pass it on to your HR or payroll department.

You can be refunded your pension contributions, as long as you opt out after less than three months (depending on your scheme).

Yes, as long as you are under age 75, but you may need to write to your employer to let them know.

No, you can’t. But you can opt back in once you’ve opted out. If you are a member of an LGPS scheme, you also have the option of switching to the 50/50 scheme as an alternative to opting out.

If you leave your job after being in a Local Government or Police scheme for two years or more (three months or more in a Firefighters’ scheme), your pension becomes deferred unless you transfer it.

As a deferred member you can’t pay contributions into your scheme, but the pension you’ve already built up is adjusted in line with inflation each year. You can then claim the benefits of the scheme when you retire or transfer them to another scheme.

Marriage and divorce

Nothing. Your pension will stay the same and you will continue to contribute to it as normal.

You just need to update any relevant details, such as your name and address (if it has changed). Depending on your scheme, you might also want to update your nominated beneficiary details.

Getting divorced does not affect your benefits unless the court places a Pension Sharing Order. If this happens, your benefits will be reduced and your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner will be awarded some of your benefits. But they will no longer be entitled to a survivor’s pension if you die before them.

It’s wise to also check that your nominated beneficiaries are up to date. Scroll down for FAQS about nominating beneficiaries.

Find out more about what happens when you get a divorce here.

Your annual benefit statement (ABS)

Your ABS is an estimate of your pension. It shows how much your pension account is currently worth and provides a forecast of what you’re estimated to get at your normal pension age – along with any survivor’s pension and death grant entitlement.

Watch our video FAQ or find out more about your ABS here including a section-by-section explanation guide.


You can access it on your online PensionPoint account. Simply log in or register for an account.

Find out everything you need to know about your ABS on our website, including a section-by-section explanation guide.

Nominated beneficiaries

This is the person you choose to receive your lump sum death grant – a sum of money that can be given to your loved ones in the event of your death.

If you are part of a Local Government or Firefighters’ scheme you can nominate loved ones, family and friends. If you have a Local Government pension you can even nominate an organisation like a charity.

This works slightly differently if you’re a member of a Police Pension Scheme. If you’re married or in a civil partnership when you die (as an active member), your death grant will automatically go to your spouse or civil partner. If you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you can nominate a beneficiary.

The easiest way to do this is via your online account. See Updating your details on Your online account FAQs to learn more.

Yes, you can. You can decide how you’d liked the lump sum to be split between them too. You can also update your nomination(s) at any point in the future.

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