Questions

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Search or browse our questions and answers to see if you can find what you need here. If you can’t, then please contact the Pensions Office and we will be happy to help.

Pensions in general

A pension usually means an income that you can use to live on when you’re no longer working. It can also refer to the way you build up that income, or a pot of money that you later use to give you that income. In a workplace pension, both you and your employer pay into the scheme.

There are many different types of pension schemes. Workplace pension schemes are set up by employers, to help their employees have an income in retirement. Both you and your employer pay into this type of pension. You can also join a personal pension, where you pay into the pension but your employer doesn’t. Within workplace pensions, you can get defined benefit schemes and defined contribution schemes. The British Steel Pension Scheme is a defined benefit scheme.

A defined benefit pension scheme is one where the amount you get at retirement is worked out using a formula, based on how many years you paid into the scheme and your salary. In a defined contribution pension scheme, you build up a pot of money that you can take at retirement. Unlike a defined benefit scheme, which promises a specific income, the amount of money you get from a defined contribution scheme is unknown, and depends on how much you paid in and the fund’s investment performance.

The amount of State Pension you get will depend on how many years of qualifying National Insurance (NI) contributions you have. The State Pension system changed in April 2016. In order to receive a pension under the new system you will have to have at least 10 years of NI contributions. Find out more here.

About the Scheme

The British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) is administered by B.S. Pension Fund Trustee Limited, a corporate Trustee Company set up for this purpose.

The assets of the Scheme are held in the name of the Trustee Company and are separate from the assets of the Employers.

The directors of the Trustee Company are either appointed by the Company or nominated by the Scheme members. You can find out more about the individual directors here.

The best way to complain is to tell the person you are dealing with that you wish to make a formal complaint. They will refer your case to the Scheme’s Complaints Officer who will provide you with details of the Scheme’s Service Standards Complaints Procedure. Formal complaints under the Procedure will be acknowledged within a week, and a full response usually provided within three weeks. The Service Standards Complaints Procedure sits alongside the Scheme’s existing Internal Dispute Procedure.

If you wish to make a formal complaint (i.e. a specific complaint about your rights, benefits or entitlement from the Scheme) you should follow the procedure outlined in the Internal Dispute Procedure factsheet.

About my pension

If you want to find out the cash value of your pension, you can request an illustration from the Pensions Office.

The earliest that you can take your pension is age 55. The government plans to raise this to 57 by 2028. If you start taking your pension between the ages of 55 and 64, your pension may be reduced for each year and month that you retire early. Click here for more information.

When you start taking your pension, you may have the option to convert all of it into a one-off cash payment, depending on the size of your pension. You can find out more here.

Whatever the size of your pension, you can usually choose to swap some of it for tax-free cash when you start taking your pension.

If you are more than a year under your Normal Pension Age (usually 65), you can swap your future benefits in the Scheme for a one-off sum of money that is transferred into a different pension arrangement. See Transferring out.

Yes, the Scheme provides an incapacity pension for members who are unlikely ever to be able to work again, due to health problems. Click here to find out more.

Yes, the Scheme provides a pension for your spouse or civil partner on your death, as well as a lump sum benefits if you are still working for the Company when you die. Click here for the details.

Before you start taking your pension, your benefits will receive annual increases. See Increases before you retire. Once you start receiving your pension, it will be increased in line with the Scheme Rules - see pension increases.