Pensions Q&A

Older couple under rainbow umbrella

The National Trust has a pension scheme for employees run by the Scheme’s Trustees, who are responsible for developing its ‘funding plan’ and agreeing it with the National Trust. The plan aims to make sure there is enough money in the Scheme to pay for pensions now and in the future.

Here are answers to the most frequently-asked-questions of members in the scheme.

How much notice do I have to give to start taking my pension?

Ideally two months. This should give you enough time to make decisions and fill out the forms. It also gives the Pensions Department enough time to set up payment of the benefits.

Can I exchange some of my pension for cash?

Yes, you can exchange part of your pension for a tax free cash lump sum. The maximum tax free cash sum you can take is usually no less than four times the annual gross pension in payment.

What benefit will I get from any additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) I paid?

They will be payable as a tax free cash sum up to your maximum tax free cash limit above.

Can I take a tax free cash lump sum and leave the pension to be paid at later time?

No. You can only take a tax free cash lump sum at the same time the pension is brought into payment.

How does going part-time affect my pension?

If you go part-time after 31 March 2016 it will have no effect on your pension. This is because part time service only affects pensionable service, which ceased for all members on 31 March 2016.

What do I have to do if I leave the NT before I wish to bring my pension into payment?

Nothing. We will automatically write to you six to eight weeks after you leave, with details of your pension.

What is my fund value (the value of my pension pot)?

In a final salary pension scheme you do not have a fund value. All your benefits are based on the formula and criteria set down in the scheme rules. Your pension at retirement is a percentage of your final pensionable salary, this is a formula which is not subject to any underlying fund.

But I really need to know what my fund value is?

We can calculate the cash equivalent value (CEV) of your fund if you wish to investigate a transfer to another scheme. The CEV is a calculation of what your benefits in the Scheme are worth in cash terms.

Can I take my pension as a lump sum under the recent legislative changes?

The Freedom and flexibility legislative changes only affect Defined Contribution (DC) benefits. The NTRDBS is a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme so the Scheme benefits are not affected, although you can take 25 per cent of the value of your benefits as a tax free lump sum. If you want to be able to draw down your main Scheme benefits more flexibly you’d have to transfer all of your benefits to a DC pension provider. If you wish to transfer out of the Scheme you need to take independent financial advice if your transfer is greater than £30,000.

How often do I receive a payslip for my pension?

Payslips for pension payments are only produced and sent when there is more than £1 difference in the net pay from the previous month.

Can I take my pension before 65?

You may be able to take your pension anytime from age 55. However your pension will be reduced to take into consideration that it will be paid for longer. To do this you should contact the Pensions Department for an estimate.

Is it possible to take my pension after 65 and what is the latest I can take it?

You can defer taking your pension anytime between the ages of 65 and 75. It will be increased to take into consideration that it will be paid for a shorter time.

Tax has been deducted from my pension but I am not a tax payer?

When you get money from a pension you pay tax on any income above your tax-free Personal Allowance.