Accessing your pension credit after divorce
Posted February 8th, 2010
In many occupational schemes (especially the statutory ones – e.g. Police, Armed Forces) there has been a disparity between the normal retirement age of the member and that given to a pension credit member (the ex spouse). For example, the member can retire from the pension scheme at age 52 but the ex spouse cannot retire until age 60.
In addition, where the pension is in payment, there will be an immediate reduction of benefit for the member but the ex spouse’s pension will not kick in until age 60 (which could be many years away).
This issue has been neatly termed as “income gap syndrome” and it has been found not to go against the anti discrimination provisions of European Law.
Of course, this assumes that the ex spouse decides upon an internal transfer as the means to facilitate the pension share. There may be many reasons why the other option (an external transfer) is appropriate, but there will many situations where the only choice available is an internal transfer.
Regulations which came into force in April 2009 made provision for a partial solution to this issue which some of the statutory schemes are now starting to implement. The NHS scheme will now permit pension credit members to draw benefits after age 50 (or 55 from 6 April 2010) whilst an Armed Forces (2005) pension credit member can draw benefits at age 55. It should be noted that actuarial reductions will apply for early payment.
From a financial planning point of view it is wise to review the drawing of a pension credit benefit in line with your overall goals and objectives to ensure that any reduction is understood and budgeted for.
For more information on this please contact me on 0800 092 1229 or contact me by email, email@example.com