Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Pension benefits reliant on finding top form

I had hoped, in this edition of Leader, to be able to give an indication of the proposed changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS). However, this will have to wait as consultations and negotiations continue with considerable determination from all sides.

Once a package has been agreed between the DfES, teachers and employers, the proposed changes to the scheme will go out to consultation. We will alert members as soon as this happens. In return for improvements to the scheme, the possibility of an increase in teachers' contributions cannot be ruled out.

For members approaching retirement, remember that unless an application is made to TPS for retirement benefits, you will not receive them.

There is a form for everyone: Form 14A for age retirement benefits, 14ARB for actuarially reduced benefits, 14EFE for retirement benefits from elected further employment, 14OS for retirement benefits if not in pensionable employment, 14PR for premature retirement benefits or Form 18 or 20 for ill-health retirement benefits.

Forms need to be submitted to the TPS approximately three months in advance of when the pension benefits are to be put into payment. Though some employers do this for you, it is your responsibility to ensure that the application is made. Benefits cannot usually be backdated.

If you are more than five years from retirement, I would urge you - at the risk of boring repetition from previous articles - to give serious consideration to purchasing past added years' service in the TPS.

Regulations permit members to buy in any missing service back to age 20. Missing service between periods of employment can also be covered and members who take time out for family or other reasons would do well to consider the opportunity.

By Mac Podmore, ASCL Pensions Consultant

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