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Document Can I re-join the NHS Pension Scheme if I return to NHS work after retirement?

You may be able to re-join the scheme if you return to NHS employment after retiring. Your eligibility to re-join the scheme will depend on the section of the scheme that you retired from, the date that you retired on and the type of pension you are being paid as below:

Returning to NHS employment after retirement from the 2008 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme

If you remained in the 2008 section until retirement you can return to work and re-join the pension. However, you would need to take a 24 hour break and the scheme you would re-join under would depend on what, if any, protection you had from the 2015 Scheme changes. The examples below illustrate what NHS Pension Scheme you would be eligible to re-join:

  • If you had full protection you would eligible to re-join the 2008 Section
     
  • If you had tapered protection and re-join before this protection ran out you would re-join the 2008 Section and move to the 2015 Scheme when this protection expires
     
  • If you had no protection (or had tapered protection which has expired) you would be eligible to re-join the 2015 Scheme


Returning to NHS employment after retirement from the 1995 Section of the NHS Pension Scheme

If you remained in the 1995 section until retirement and retired either before 1 April 2008 or after 30 September 2009 you would not be eligible re-join the pension.

If you retired on or after 1 April 2008 and before 1 October 2009, you may be eligible to join the 2015 scheme after a waiting period which is the longer of either two years from your date of retirement, or the length of any extra service you have received as part of a retirement on redundancy grounds.

Some additional exceptions / restrictions apply if you retired on ill health grounds from any NHS pension or if you had already re-joined the pension scheme before claiming deferred benefits. For more information on this please see the related articles below.


Returning to NHS employment after retirement from the 2015 section of the NHS Pension Scheme

Yes, after retiring from the 2015 Scheme you can return to work within the NHS. However, you must have a 24 hour break before returning to NHS employment.

Additional restrictions apply to scheme members who have retired on the grounds of ill health. If you are in receipt of a Tier 2 pension and become re-employed anywhere, including outside the NHS, you should also read the Ill Health Retirement – Returning to work with a Tier 2 Pension factsheet. This gives further details of the effects of working after retirement.

If you do intend to return to work you would outline this on the AW8. Following this, your employer would complete form AW140 and send it to NHS Pensions confirming you have met the above criteria.


For more information about returning to work after retirement, please see our website.

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