Updated: May 31, 2019

NHS pension transfers

NHS pensions can be transferred elsewhere but only under specific circumstances. Read our article to find out if this is an option for you

Get Started
Ask Us A Question

Ask a quick question

We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in pensions. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

FCA Logo
1 of 2
2 of 2 Send!

No impact on your credit score

Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: May 31, 2019

Since over 1.5 million people in the UK are employed by the National Health Service (NHS), it comes as no surprise that pensions advisors often hear from customers with NHS pensions who want to know whether they can transfer their pot elsewhere, or explore other options having been told that this is not possible.

To answer these questions and more, we’ve put together this guide where you’ll find information on the following topics:

Can I transfer my NHS pension to another pension?

Transferring out of an NHS pension can be fairly difficult due to the health service not allowing transfers to pension schemes with flexible benefits. You may only transfer to another defined benefit scheme (like for like) unless you have less than two years’ employed membership.

Speak to an expert today

Get Started

Can I transfer my NHS pension from England to Scotland and vice versa?

This is possible, though your benefits won’t automatically be carried across.

Transferring from England to Scotland

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 Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA).

If you would like to transfer your pension you would have to apply for the transfer of benefits. You will need to fully complete and return a Joiner Questionnaire form before the SPPA will investigate any transfer.

Transferring from Scotland to England

NHS Scotland has its own scheme run independently from the NHS in England and Wales. If you move from the NHS in Scotland to the NHS in England your benefits will not automatically transfer with you. If you would like to transfer your pension you would have to apply for the transfer of benefits. The scheme you would be transferred into would depend on how long ago you left NHS Scotland and what scheme you were in.

How do I work out my NHS pension transfer value?

If you do decide to transfer out of your NHS pension scheme, the trustees who run the scheme convert the benefits you’ve built up into a cash sum. This is called the pension cash-equivalent transfer value (CETV) or just ‘transfer value’.

Pension transfer value calculator

There’s a broad range of transfer values available (typically between 20-25 times your pensionable income), but keep in mind that some schemes provide transfer values greater than double other schemes. This reflects the wide range of methods used by pension scheme administrators to calculate transfer values.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) will usually give the CETV amount on the annual statement but you can also request it at any time.

There is an NHS pension transfer value calculator that you can use on the NHSBSA’s website, but speaking to an independent pensions advisor before making any decisions based on the numbers it returns is recommended.

NHS pension cash equivalent transfer value for a divorce

For an NHS pension transfer for a divorce, a member must complete a Pensions on divorce Cash Equivalent Transfer Value form (PD2).

The completed form Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (PD2) should be returned and will form part of the request to NHS Pensions for a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value for divorce proceedings.

Members are entitled to one Cash Equivalent Transfer Value per year for any purpose. They must confirm if the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value is for divorce proceedings and it is important to let NHS Pensions know if a court date has been set.

Where else can I transfer my NHS pension to?

Transfers out of an NHS pension to personal pension schemes can be fairly limited due to them not allowing transfers into schemes with flexible benefits. All transfers must be to a defined benefit pension scheme unless you have only been a member of said NHS scheme for less than two years.

Transfer to a SIPP

You may be allowed to do a pension transfer from the NHS to a SIPP if you only have two years or less NHS pension membership.

Transfer to local government

This option is available to people who have voluntarily moved positions from employment in public health to being employed by the local government. Your transfer would be covered by the Public Sector transfer club allowing you to broadly maintain the equivalent credits regardless of any salary increase, meaning any final salary pension entitlements remain unchanged.

Should I transfer an NHS pension?

Any potential advantages of transferring from a defined benefit pension scheme like the NHS pension scheme to a personal pension scheme (defined contribution) are often outweighed by the potential costs and risks.

Your future pensionable income can’t be predicted with any certainty if you transfer out of a defined benefit scheme.

Transferring an NHS pension to another defined benefit scheme like with local government however is covered by the Public Sector transfer club so you would maintain the benefits already built up.

To get the best advice for your circumstances you should speak with an expert pension advisor, like the ones we work with. Call us on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry.

How do I transfer my pension?

If you have found an alternative defined benefit pension scheme that you want to transfer your NHS pension to you must:

  • Join your new registered scheme within 12 months of leaving pensionable NHS employment.
  • Apply for a transfer within 12 months of joining your new scheme.
  • Complete the transfer before you reach normal retirement age.

If you meet the above criteria you must fill out a pension transfer application pack, but before doing so it would be prudent to speak with an expert pensions advisor, like the ones we work with to seek independent advice for your circumstances.

Leaving early and transferring out

Due to the sheer amount of people affected by the NHS pension scheme the NHSBA have put together a comprehensive guide detailing leaving and transferring out of the scheme, but for bespoke advice you can make an enquiry to speak to an independent pensions advisor.

Can I transfer a private pension into my NHS pension?

Yes. This could be possible. Transferring your personal pension into the NHS scheme can be an easy process if you meet the following qualifying criteria:

‘Within 12 months of becoming eligible to join the scheme for the first time and before your Normal Pension Age which is equal to your State Pension Age, or 65 if that’s later.’

If you do meet the above criteria and you wish to transfer an old pension into a new NHS pension scheme then you will be required to fill out an application and return it to the NHSBA (National Health Service Business Service Authority) administrators.

Can I transfer my local government pension to the NHS pension scheme?

This option is available to people who have voluntarily moved positions from local government to public health. Your transfer would be covered by the Public Sector transfer club, allowing you to broadly maintain the equivalent credits regardless of any salary increase, meaning any final salary pension entitlements remain unchanged.

Should I transfer into my NHS pension?

If you have another pension pot besides your NHS one, most experts would recommend consolidating the funds in your NHS scheme for easier management. This could potentially mean paying less fees too.

Before making this decision, be sure to speak to an independent financial advisor because it’s impossible for us to provide bespoke information on this subject without assessing your needs, circumstances and all of the options available to you.

Get advice from an expert

If you have questions about NHS pension transfers or pensions in general and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call us on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry here.

Ask a quick question

We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in pensions. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

FCA Logo
1 of 2
2 of 2 Send!
Tony Stevens

Tony Stevens

Finance Expert

About the author

Tony has worked in a vastly diverse array of areas in the pensions industry for over 20 years. Tony regularly writes for trade press, usually on topical and pensions pieces as well as acting as a judge at prestigious national events.

Tony is also a highly qualified Independent Financial Adviser in his own right. His mantra has always been “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”, and believes that the biggest impact that an adviser can have on a client’s life journey is to take them on a journey from generally having little or no real idea of what their retirement will look like, to giving them the understanding of what their retirement looks like now, then helping them navigate a path to what they want their retirement to be.

Continue Reading

Chevron Right Pension Transfers Explained

Chevron Right Mis-Sold Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Values Explained

Chevron Right TUPE Transfer Pensions

Chevron Right A Guide to Nest Pension Transfers

Chevron Right A Guide to Pension Transfer Options

Chevron Right A Guide to Police Pension Transfers

Chevron Right A Guide to Protected Rights Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Brexit and Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Bulk Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Can I transfer my pension into property?

Chevron Right Can I Transfer My Pension Myself?

Chevron Right Can I Transfer my Pension to Another Person?

Chevron Right Civil Service Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Deferred Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Defined Benefit Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Final Salary Transfer

Chevron Right Getting the Best Pension Transfer Deals

Chevron Right Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) Transfer

Chevron Right How Long Should a Pension Transfer Take?

Chevron Right How to transfer a British Steel pension

Chevron Right How to Transfer An ISA Into a Pension

Chevron Right New Zealand Pension Transfers

Chevron Right NHS pension transfers

Chevron Right Occupational pension transfers

Chevron Right Pension Protection Fund Transfers

Chevron Right Pension Risk Transfer

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Advice

Chevron Right Pension Transfer After Divorce

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Charges

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Ireland

Chevron Right Pension Transfer Rules

Chevron Right Pension transfers from UK to Spain

Chevron Right Pension Transfers India

Chevron Right Pensions transfers upon death

Chevron Right Private Pension Transfers

Chevron Right QROPS Pension Transfers

Chevron Right SERPs Pension Transfers

Chevron Right Should You Transfer Your Pension?

Chevron Right Stakeholder Pension Transfer

Chevron Right State Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Teacher Pension Transfer

Chevron Right Transfer Army Pension

Chevron Right Transfer Local Government Pension

Chevron Right Transfer Overseas Pension to UK

Chevron Right Transfer Pension Abroad

Chevron Right Transfer Pension From Previous Employer

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension into an ISA

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension to a New Provider

Chevron Right Transferring a Pension to Another Provider

Chevron Right Transferring a Section 32 Pension

Chevron Right Transferring a UK pension to France

Chevron Right Transferring Defined Contribution Pensions

Chevron Right Transferring Pensions Into One

Chevron Right Transferring Small Pension Pots

Chevron Right Transferring Workplace Pensions

Chevron Right UK pension transfer to Canada

Chevron Right UK Pension Transfer to Australia

Chevron Right UK Pension Transfer to USA Providers

Chevron Right Where Can You Transfer Your Pension To?

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

Get Started