I want to retire, what are my options?


When can I retire? 

retirementFor most scheme members, the age at which your pension will normally be paid is 60. This means your accrued benefits will be paid in full with no reduction. For those members who join from 1st April 2008 or who  have rejoined following a five year absence the normal pension age is 65. In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for your pension before normal pension age. 

Members in the 1995 section who hold Special Class status have a normal pension age of 55 and are entitled to retire from that age without reduction to their benefits. 

If you have preserved benefits, your pension is calculated in the same way as a normal retirement pension, and is based on your pay and service details at the time you left the scheme.  Preserved benefits are normally paid when you reach your Normal Pension Age, which is 60 or 65 depending on which section of the scheme you are in.  The preserved benefits are index-linked, meaning a Pensions Increase factor is used to take into account the rise in the cost of living from the date you left the scheme. 

Premature Retirement:

What if I retire prematurely?

If you are retired prematurely because of redundancy or in the interests of service efficiency, your benefits can be paid without reduction immediately upon leaving. You must have reached minimum pension age and have at least two years continuous service. 

If you have more than one job in the NHS you may either take your benefits only in respect of the employment from which you are retiring prematurely and remain a member of the scheme in your other post(s), or take your benefits in respect of all your pensionable employments. If you opt to do this, you must leave all your jobs for at least 24 hours, and you will not be able to rejoin the scheme under any further employment. 

For more information on Premature retirement following the Pension Reforms please consult our Factsheets


What if I become too ill to work? 

If you become too ill to continue working in your present job until you reach normal pension age, you may be able to retire early.  An application to retire early because of ill-health should be made jointly with your employer and Occupational Health.  The application must be supported by medical evidence and will be assessed by the SPPA’s Medical Advisers. 

If you have preserved benefits, you may also be able to apply for early retirement on the grounds of ill-health. Your application must be supported by medical evidence and will be referred to our Advisers. 

For more information on ill-health retirement following the Pension Reforms please consult the Factsheets or visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.  


Voluntary Early Retirement: 

Voluntary early retirement with employer’s consent 

[This facility has been removed for active members from 1st April 2008.] 


Voluntary Early Retirement on reduced pension:

What if I want to retire early?

You can choose to take voluntary early retirement, from age 50 for members of the amended arrangements (1995 Section) and age 55 for members of the new arrangements (2008 Section), and receive a reduced pension.  Your benefits will be reduced to take into account the fact they are being paid over a longer period of time. 

If you hold Special Class status and choose to retire before age 55, your benefits will be reduced as if your normal pension age was age 60. 

Members with preserved benefits who had active service in the scheme after 30th March 2000 are also entitled to take Voluntary Early retirement on reduced pension. Please apply by contacting the SPPA in the first instance. 

If you take early retirement, your dependants will still get any benefits they are entitled to based on your full pension. Please note, in the unlikely event that your reduced pension is less than the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP), you will not be able to take voluntary early retirement with a reduced pension.

Link to Scottish Government Website