If you are not already a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) you are eligible to join.
Employees with contracts of 3 months or more will be brought into the Pension Scheme automatically. Employees can choose to opt-out of the LGPS at any time.
Alternatively, you may take a Personal Pension or a Stakeholder Pension by making your own arrangements through a bank, building society or insurance company. A pension starter pack will be sent out by the Pension team. Further information can be obtained by contacting the DCC Pensions Helpline on 03000 264322.
If you opt out of the LGPS before completing 3 months’ membership you will be treated as never having been a member and your employer will refund to you, through your pay, any contributions you have paid during that time. If you opt out of the LGPS with 3 or more months’ membership and before completing the 2 years vesting period you can take a refund of your contributions (less any statutory deductions) or transfer out your pension to another scheme. (Please note, if you already hold a deferred benefit or are receiving a pension from the LGPS or have transferred service or benefits into the scheme, you may be deemed to have met the vesting period). For more information click the link Pension policy
The Local Government Pension Scheme allows scheme members who are aged 55 or over to request ‘flexible retirement’ whereby the scheme member can, with their employer’s consent, reduce their hours or grade, and elect to have their pension benefits be paid to them whilst they remain in employment. For more information click the link Flexible retirement
The Local Government Pension Scheme also allows employers discretion regarding early retirement requests. The Council will consider applications for early retirement on an individual basis.
To apply for a Local Government Pension Scheme discretion including a request for flexible or early retirement, an employee must submit a formal request in writing to their line manager in the first instance.
For more information on pensions, flexible and early retirement please click the link Early Retirement.
The Retirement Process
- Hand in your notice to your employer. Benefits can not be paid if you are still in employment, however there are certain exceptions. Your required period of notice will be in your contract.
- Once your notification of retirement has filtered through your employers internal procedures and been finalised a ‘notification of leaver’ form is sent to Durham Pension Fund (the fund) to begin the retirement process.Please note: ‘the fund’ are unable to act until official notice from the employer is received.
- The Pensions Team also require a calculation of your final pay from your Employer. Without this information ‘the fund’ are unable to carry out any calculations and provide the scheme member with an illustration of benefits due. Most employers do not submit this information until after the employee has received their final salary payment.
- Once in receipt of the leaver notification and pay calculation the Pensions Team will begin the retirement process. This involves several data accuracy checks on the pension record. A pension benefit calculation will then be produced using the pay figures supplied by the Employer. Once authorised this illustration of benefits is sent to the individual along with a number of forms to complete and return. Any delay in submission of this paperwork will affect the ability of ‘the fund’ to put benefits in to payment.
- Once the paperwork is returned, the necessary checks will be carried out to ensure that everything has been filled in correctly. Quite often forms are returned incomplete which then need sending back to the individual before pensions can be paid. Please take care when completing retirement paperwork and ensure all partsare completed fully and accurately.
For more information click the following link Retirement policy and process