If you leave the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) by opting out or leaving your job, what happens to your pension depends on how much membership you have.
If you left the LGPS with less than two years’ membership, including any that you have transferred from another pension scheme, you may receive a refund of your contributions, transfer your benefits to another pension scheme or to another LGPS account - this will depend on your circumstances.
Your pension will become deferred (frozen) if you leave with two or more years’ membership, including any that you have transferred from another pension scheme.
Under two years
Opting out under three months
If you opt out of the LGPS having paid into it for less than three months, your employer will refund your contributions through your pay, less tax and National Insurance contributions. Your LGPS membership will be cancelled.
Leaving your job with under three months
If you leave your job with less than three months’ membership, including any transferred from another pension scheme or any deferred LGPS pension accounts:
- Pensions Services will refund your contributions, less a deduction for tax and National Insurance
- if you are paying into the LGPS in another employment, the pension from the job you’ve left will be added to your ongoing pension account
Three months to two years
If you leave your job or opt out with more than three months’ membership, but before completing the two years’ vesting period (including any pension that you have transferred into your LGPS pension or any other LGPS pension accounts you have). You may:
- ask Pensions Services for a refund of your contributions, less a deduction for tax and National Insurance
- transfer your pension to another pension scheme
- if you join the LGPS later, the account that you’ve stopped paying into will automatically be joined with your ongoing account
- leave contributions frozen for up to five years. Your contributions will be refunded if you haven’t done anything with them after five years
If you joined the LGPS before 1 April 2014, you can choose to have a deferred LGPS pension, which would be due at your normal pension age. See Deferred pensions to find out more.
Two or more years
You cannot have a refund of contributions if you leave your job or opt out with two or more years’ membership, including any transferred from other pension schemes.
Your pension will become deferred and will stay in the LGPS until it is paid or you transfer to another pension scheme. See Deferred pensions to find out more.
You only qualify for a deferred pension if:
- you have two or more years’ membership, including any transferred from other pension schemes
- you joined the LGPS between 1 April 1988 and 1 April 2014 and paid in for at least three months