Help and support
FAQs for Members
If you want to receive your pension by a particular date, we suggest you start the process at least 3 months before your required retirement date. This is because there are number of steps to take before we can pay your pension savings.
After you contact our member support team and tell them you want to take your pension savings, here’s what happens next.
- We’ll send you a retirement pack which sets out the value of your pension savings and the choices you have for taking them. You can expect this within 7 working days. Taking your pension savings is a big decision. You may want to take independent financial advice to help you choose your retirement options. See Where can I get help with understanding my retirement options?
- The retirement pack will include forms for you to fill in and send back to us.
- Once we’ve received your filled-in forms, we’ll start taking your pension savings out of the investments they’re in so we can pay the money into the account you’ve named. This can take up to 25 days. But remember, we can only do this if the forms are complete and all the information you’ve given us is correct. Any missing information or errors mean we’ll have to contact you again. This could delay your payment.
If you’ve been working for a while, you may have lost track of your pensions with previous employers, or don’t remember whether you had a pension with any of them. It’s worth checking to see whether you have any forgotten pensions you could add to your pension savings.
You can contact the Pension Tracing Service or the MoneyHelper service for free guidance on tracking down lost pensions. Both services are independent and run by the government. They can also signpost you to independent financial advisers in your area.
First of all, please contact our member support team and confirm you want to take your pension savings. To keep your pension savings safe, we’ll need to check your identity – so please be ready to give us your full name and address and your National Insurance number.
As long as you’re over the minimum age for taking retirement benefits (currently 55), we’ll send you a retirement pack. This will set out the value of your pension savings and the options you have, and will include forms you can use to make your choices. You’ll need to fill in the forms and send them back to us. See our Contact us page to contact our member support team.
This is a big decision. We’d suggest you take independent financial advice to help you choose your retirement options. See Where can I get help with understanding my retirement options?
To help people think about how much they might need to retire on, the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association has come up with simple estimates of how much retirement income you need for different standards of living.
There’s a simple summary below based upon living outside of London and lots more detail at retirementlivingstandards.org.uk.
|Living standard||Single person||Couple||For example…|
|Minimum||£11,000 a year||£17,000 a year||No car, weekly food shop of £41, holidays in the UK|
|Moderate||£21,000 a year||£31,000 a year||3-year-old car replaced every 10 years, weekly food shop of £47, a holiday in Europe|
|Comfortable||£34,000 a year||£50,000 a year||2-year-old car replaced every 5 years, weekly food shop of £59, longer holidays in Europe|
You don’t have to actually retire to take your pension savings. You can start to take your retirement benefits any time after you reach age 55.
We’ll normally use your State Pension age as your planned retirement age – the age you plan to retire at. Check your State Pension age.
If you want to retire earlier or later than your State Pension age, please tell us. It’s important we have an up-to-date planned retirement age for you as it affects when we begin to switch your savings from ‘growth’ investments (designed to help your pension savings grow over the long term) to ‘protection’ investments (designed to protect the value of your pension savings before you turn them into retirement income).
The value of your pension savings depends on, among other things:
- how much has been paid in
- how the money has been invested
- the charges you pay for your pension provider to manage your savings
- when you decide to take your pension savings.
The earlier you retire, the smaller your pension savings are likely to be. They’ll have received fewer contributions and had less time to grow. Also, because you’re retiring early, the income from your pension savings may need to last longer than if you’d retired later. It’s worth checking how much income you’ll need each year in retirement.