Is early retirement an option for me?
This can be one of the most commonly asked questions – especially after a long, stressful shift!
As you approach the later years of your career, it’s only natural that you will be starting to think about greater flexibility. This could be either through early retirement or phased retirement.
These arrangements are possible with certain limitations and depending on the section of the NHS Pension Scheme of which you are a member. For example, those in the 1995 section could, in theory, retire at 50 if certain criteria are met, whereas 55 is the minimum age for those in the 2008 section.
Like most things to do with the NHS pension, however, this is complicated; it’s best to start a dialogue as early as possible with the pension scheme and your adviser if you have one. This way you can make sure you are taking advantage of all the options open to you and are fully aware of the implications of any early retirement penalties that might be imposed.
These early retirement penalties are applied to retirement benefits that are taken before the Scheme’s Normal Retirement Age (NRA). For the 1995 version of the scheme, this is age 60; for 2008, it is 65. For the 2015 Scheme, the NRA is in line with the State Retirement Age, which under current rules, may for some be as late as age 68.
There are so many options that are available to those who would prefer some flexibility in planning their retirement, but each of the three versions of the schemes feature slight variations, a fact made more complexed by the fact that most members of the 2015 scheme will also have accrued and retained benefits in the previous versions.