Members: Active members

Purchasing lost pension due to absence

Purchasing lost pension due to absence

There may be times when you will have a period of unpaid leave. While on unpaid leave you do not pay pension contributions and are not building up pension.

I have had unpaid leave, what are my options?

The options available to you are slightly different depending on which type of unpaid leave you have had.

Leave of absence

If you have had a leave of absence, you can apply to buy back the lost pension. If you do this within 30 days of returning to work, your employer will meet 2/3rds of the cost.

If you choose to buy this pension back after 30 days, you will have to meet the full cost yourself, unless your employer agrees to contribute towards the cost.

Trade Disputes

If you have been involved in a trade dispute (been on strike), you will have to meet the full cost of buying back your lost pension.

I would like to buy back some pension, what are my options?

The longest period you can buy back is 36 months of missing pension by a process called Additional Pension Contributions (APCs).

You can either buy this back as a lump sum or spread the cost over an agreed number of years. If you choose either method, you will receive automatic tax relief if these are deducted from your salary payments.

If you choose to buy back pension without having this deducted from your salary, you will be responsible for claiming the tax relief via self-assessment tax returns. More information on pensions tax relief can be found on the HMRC website. opens in new window

I am nearly at my Normal Pension Age, are my options different?

Yes, if you are within 1 year of your Normal Pension Age, you can only buy back pension by a lump sum. You will still get tax relief though.

I am in the 50/50 section, can I buy back pension?

Yes, APCs are available to all members of the scheme.

When will my bought back pension be credited?

If you choose to buy lost pension by making a lump sum payment, you will be credited with the full amount of pension bought immediately.

If you choose to spread the payments over a number of complete years, you will be credited with this as you buy it back.

If you retire on the grounds of ill-health with an enhanced pension you will automatically get the full pension credited.

I am choosing to retire early, what happens to my bought back pension?

The pension you have bought will be reduced, in the same way as the rest of your pension. This is because it is coming into payment before your Normal Pension Age.

I have service before 1 April 2014, will buying back pension have any extra benefits?

Buying back the whole of the lost pension will ensure the period of leave of absence on no pay, or the period on no pay due to a trade dispute, is included when calculating certain protections due under the scheme, e.g. the underpin or Rule of 85.

Is there anything else I should know?

SYPA can decide payments can’t be made over a certain period of time where it would be impracticable.

Buying lost pension – The Process

Please contact us you are looking to buy back pension before 1 April 2014.

If you want to buy back pension on or after 1 April 2014:

  1. Get a written statement from your employer for the total assumed pensionable pay lost during your absence or trade dispute. To do this you need to download the Buying Back Lost Pension due to Absence Form from our Forms page. You then need to complete Section 1 and pass this to your employer who will complete the rest of the form and give it back to you.

  2. Use the LGPS Online Calculator opens in new window to get a quote Using the information you get back from your employer you can calculate the cost of buying back the pension you have lost.

  3. Apply for the APC If you decide to go ahead with the APC, you can apply using the section at the bottom of the LGPS Online Calculator. At SYPA we accept the digital signature so you can use the “sign and download application” facility. You will need to send the Application and written statement to SYPA and your employer. You can find our contact details at the bottom of this page.

Other things you need to know

If you are still making up your mind and you pass a birthday, you will have to submit a new application.

SYPA do not currently ask members for a medical when buying lost pension due to absence. This may change in the future.

You can find the full terms and conditions for buying lost pension due to absence on the back of the application form.