NHS Pensions: Age discrimination redress
6 October 2021
If your pension has been affected by age discrimination, NHS Pensions should reach out to you from February 2022 to remedy the situation. This will apply to you, if you joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1st April 2015.
When the government made changes to most public sector pension schemes in 2015, those members within 10 years of their normal pension age at 31 March 2012 were not affected by the changes and remained in their legacy schemes under transitional protection. The Court of Appeal found this to be discriminatory against younger members in the judicial and firefighter schemes. This was extended to public sector schemes, including the NHS.
A consultation took place last year on how the process to remove the discrimination might work. The paper explained that the period of discrimination took place between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022, this is known as the remedy period. It said that those members affected by the discrimination would be given a choice of putting their service for the remedy period back into their legacy scheme or leave it in the 2015 section. It asked when the affected members would consider making the choice, the options were either immediately (immediate choice) or defer it until retirement (deferred choice underpin). Our view and that of most participants was that the deferred choice underpin would be more appropriate.
The Government has thankfully decided to implement a deferred choice underpin. Members who joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1st April 2015 will be asked to choose their pension scheme benefits when they become payable. The legislation for the remedy is currently being prepared. Retired members and the beneficiaries of those members that are deceased will be the first to receive the information.
Further information is available on the NHS Pensions website. If you have any questions, please contact the BDA Pensions Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 5636897.