Transferring service into the NHS Pension Schemes.

It is important to note that if you have been a member of an NHS pension scheme elsewhere in the UK your benefits will not transfer automatically to the SPPA and the transfer must be requested from the receiving scheme.

When you join the NHS Pension Scheme, you can transfer your pension credit from a previous scheme provided that:

you apply for a transfer within 12 months of entering pensionable NHS service

the previous scheme meets HMRC requirements

you request the transfer before your normal pension age (NPA) which is 60 for the 1995 section, 65 for the 2008 section of the scheme and State pension age for 2015 Scheme members 

You can transfer most pension benefits, mainly from schemes approved by HMRC, such as public sector schemes (club schemes), personal pension plans and overseas schemes if they are a Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). QROPS List

How do I apply for a transfer?

You will need to fully complete and return a Joiner Questionnaire form before we will investigate any transfer.  You can download the form from here.

You should complete this form by providing the requested details in relation to any former pension schemes you wish to investigate a transfer from . This is also our mandate to allow us to approach your former pension provider.

The other purpose of the form is to highlight if you have any previous public sector pensions history. This is important information that in some cases may mean that you will be able to carry forward any protection status that you may have had in your former public sector scheme.  It is extremely important that you make us aware of any such pension service.

If you have had no previous public sector pensions then please ignore this section of the form.

If you are transferring from a scheme other than a NHS scheme in the UK, you are not committing yourself to a transfer of pension benefits by making an enquiry. We will provide you with an "estimate" of the service or pension credit that the transfer value from your former pension provider will provide in the NHS Pension Scheme. You have the option to proceed with the transfer at this point and the decision is entirely up to you.

If you complete a transfer in from a Club scheme on or after 28 January 2015 then any growth in NHS Pension benefits arising from a pensionable pay increase, because of the move between Club schemes, will be taken into account when calculating the pension input amount for Annual Allowance purposes. Any adjustment to NHS pension benefits because of differences between the NHS Pension Scheme and the transferring Club scheme will not be included.

A transfer can only proceed on Club terms if the gap between leaving the sending scheme and joining the receiving scheme is less than five years. If the gap is more than five years then the transfer must be completed on non-Club terms.

Please note that SPPA staff are unable to provide financial advice. Please seek independent financial advice if you are not sure about your decision to transfer.

There are three main types of schemes which we can accept a transfer from:

NHS pension schemes in England & Wales or Northern Ireland

Public sector transfer arrangements (Club transfers)

Occupational or personal pension schemes usually private sector pensions (Non - Club transfers)

After reading the guidance provided below about each type of scheme you should download and complete the Joiner Questionnaire.


1. NHS pension scheme in England & Wales or Northern Ireland

We have an arrangement with other NHS schemes in the UK which provides the following:

■  the service or pension credit transferred may provide you with broadly the same benefits in the NHS Pension Scheme as accrued with your former NHS scheme

■  added years contracts are transferable as long as there is not a gap of 12 months or more. You should inform SPPA of any such contract immediately as any delay in the transfer could result in arrears of these contributions.


2. Public Sector transfer arrangements (Club transfers)

Important Information

If the previous scheme is a member of the Public Sector Transfer Club a transfer on Club terms can only be made if the length of the break between leaving the previous scheme and joining the NHS Pension scheme is no more than five years. In addition, your signed election to proceed with the transfer must be received by NHS Pensions within 12 months of becoming eligible to transfer for Club transfer arrangements to apply. A request for an estimate is not classed as an election to proceed, this time limit refers to the request for payment of the transfer value. If the conditions for the Club transfer are not met you may still be able to transfer on non-Club terms.

You can find more information about the Club on the Civil Service website at:


3. Occupational or personal pension schemes  (Non - Club transfers)

These include occupational pension schemes, personal pensions, stakeholder plans and buy-out policies. On receipt of the Joiner Questionnaire form we will request a transfer value from your previous provider.  The acceptance of transfers from these types of scheme is not guaranteed and depends on certain conditions. If all the relevant conditions are met then we will provide you with an estimate of the service or pension credit this transfer value will purchase in the NHS Schemes.  We will inform you if we cannot accept the transfer and the reasons why.

Without all of the relevant information we will be unable to process the transfer.

Please do not request a transfer value directly from your former provider.  SPPA will request these details on receipt of the Joiner Questionnaire form.

Some pension providers will only supply one transfer value per year.  If there is a guarantee date and the former pension providers options forms are not received by that date then they may you charge for another transfer value which can cost up to £300 or more.

SPPA will not be responsible for this charge.  You will either have to pay the charge or wait a further year for a new "free" transfer value.

The membership credit you receive is always dependent on the actual transfer payment received. If the actual payment we receive is lower than originally offered, even if the transfer is completed within the 12 month time limit, your membership credit will be adjusted in line with the payment received.

SPPA will not accept responsibility for any delays incurred either by you or your previous pension provider

Transferring AVC Rights (Additional Voluntary Contributions)

SPPA cannot accept transfers of AVC's to buy service in the NHS Pension Schemes but a transfer can be made to our in-house AVC providers. You may also transfer to a Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contribution arrangement of your own choice. SPPA will not accept monies in respect of AVC's. Transfers of AVC's must be arranged between yourself, the former scheme and the in-house provider.

The NHS Pension Schemes in house AVC provider is Standard Life. For further information please contact Standard Life at the address shown below.

Standard Life
Group Pensions Public Sector
Standard Life House
30 Lothian Road
Telephone: 0800 33 33 06
Website: Standard Life AVC's


Contacting us

It is our preferred option that you apply for the transfer by using the application forms as these will provide SPPA with all the necessary information to efficiently process your transfer request.

If you are unable to download the application forms or require any further information please contact using the details below.

Telephone: 01896 893000 asking for "NHS Transfers" when prompted
Fax: 01896 893214

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SPPA Transfers
7 Tweedside Park

If you are contacting us by letter or email please ensure that you include the following information:

Details of you previous pension provider including a current address, dates that you were a member of that scheme, date of birth, National Insurance number, superannuation reference number (if applicable), marital status, current employers details and start date of current employment.

Further information on transferring in can be found on the Joiner Questionnaire.




Link to Scottish Government Website