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Document recently updated Am I entitled to a refund of my NHS pension contributions?

You can qualify for a refund of your pension contributions if you:
  • were under your normal retirement age when you last contributed to the Scheme; and
     
  • have ceased membership of the Scheme; and
     
  • have less than two years qualifying membership* in the scheme and left on or after 6 April 1988 **
* Qualifying membership is your calendar length membership, an example of the calculation is – if you started paying in to the scheme on 01/04/2017 and your last day contributing was 31/03/2019 you would have 730 days calendar length membership - this is equal to 2 years.

All periods of membership will be included calculated together when working out your calendar length membership unless you have a disqualifying break in membership. The length of the disqualifying break depends on whether you were a member of the 1995/2008 Scheme or the 2015 Scheme.
  • If you leave the 1995/2008 Scheme with less than two years membership and do not return within 12 months of leaving this will be refundable even if you return later and then accrue more than two years membership.
     
  • If you leave the 2015 Scheme with less than two years membership and do not return within five years of leaving this will be refundable even if you return later and then accrue more than two years membership
Below are examples of how this works:
  • If you were a member of the 1995 Scheme who originally paid in between 01/04/2005 and 01/04/2006 who then left the scheme and returned on 01/06/2007 and contributed up until 01/07/2008 you would be entitled to a refund on both period of membership as they would be worked out separately as you had a break of over 12 months.
     
  • If you were a member of the 1995 Scheme who originally paid in between 01/04/2005 and 01/04/2006 who then left the scheme, did not claim a refund of this membership, and returned on 01/12/2006 and contributed up until 01/12/2007 you would not be entitled to a refund as your break in service was less than twelve months so we would combine both periods of membership together to work out your calendar membership.
** If the period of membership in question was less than five years and you left the Scheme prior to 6 April 1988, you may still be eligible for a refund.

Disallowed days do not count as qualifying membership, therefore any disallowed days would be deducted from your qualifying membership.

If you opt out of the scheme before the end of the pay period during which you were first included in the scheme you are then treated as having never been a member of the scheme. In this circumstance your employer will provide you with a local refund of your pension contributions.

You may be eligible for a refund if you have transferred pension rights into the scheme from an occupational non-money purchase scheme, providing your total qualifying membership including these transferred benefits is less than 2 years.

You cannot apply for a refund of your pension contributions if you have:
  • more than two years qualifying membership in the scheme on or after 6 April 1988.
     
  • claimed your NHS pension and subsequently re-joined the scheme with less than two years membership.
     
  • had a transfer of pension rights into the scheme from a personal pension plan or money purchase scheme.
     
  • been paid a refund before and the break in membership since the previous refund is less than one month. The previously refunded membership is then calculated with the new membership. If this results in total membership of over 2 years then the second period will not be refunded. For example:

    Date of First Employment:

    01/01/2005 to 31/12/2005 - this period of membership is 1 year and is refundable.

    Date of Second Employment:

    05/01/2006 to 5/07/2007 - this period of employment is 1 year 6 months but you returned to pensionable employment within 1 month. Even though you have had a refund of their first period of membership a further refund is not possible because both periods must be counted and are over 2 years in total.

For further information about taking a refund of your pension contributions, as well as the forms needed to apply, please see our website. We recommend that you read this information in full before deciding whether to apply for a refund of your pension contributions.

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