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Contracting out of the additional State Pension

If you are an employee with annual earnings above a certain amount (£5,824 in 2015-2016 tax year) you may be able to leave the additional State Pension scheme. You can join a workplace pension scheme which "contracts out" of the additional State Pension.

This information is for a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953

Contracting out is ending

The Pensions Act 2014 and the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 introduce a new State Pension in Great Britain and Northern Ireland for people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.

The new scheme will replace the existing basic and additional State Pension and end contracting-out and the National Insurance rebate.

To help employers and employees, guidance is available on GOV.UK. References in the guidance to the Pensions Act 2014 should be taken as including references to the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.

To find out more about the new State Pension and how it applies to Northern Ireland or about workplace pensions, including defined benefit pension schemes, visit the following pages on nidirect:

How does contracting out work?

You can only contract out if your employer runs a contracted-out, defined benefit workplace pension scheme.

To contract out you must:

  • earn at least the lower earnings limit of £5,824 a year in 2015-2016
  • pay Class 1 National Insurance (or treated as paying them - check with your employer)

When you join the scheme, you and your employer pay lower, reduced rate National Insurance contributions.

If you’re a member of a contracted-out workplace pension you don’t contribute to the Additional State Pension for the time you belong to the scheme. This means that when you retire you either don’t get any Additional State Pension or it might be reduced, depending on how long you contracted out.

Salary-related pension schemes

If you’re a member of a salary-related pension scheme which began before 6 April 1997, you have ‘Guaranteed Minimum Pension’ rights. This pension can’t be taken before age 65 (men) or 60 (women). The Guaranteed Minimum Pension will continue to be paid at these ages when the State Pension age rises.

Contracted-out pensions

Since 6 April 2012, you can't contract out of the State Second Pension by joining:

  • a personal or stakeholder pension scheme
  • a contracted-out money purchase, defined contribution workplace pension scheme

If you’ve contracted out to a final salary, defined benefit workplace pension scheme you aren't affected by the changes.

If you contracted out before 6 April 2012

If you contracted out to a personal, stakeholder or defined contribution pension scheme which began before 6 April 2012, you can:

  • continue to make your own contributions to the scheme
  • continue to benefit from any employer contributions to the scheme
  • no longer benefit from any rebate of National Insurance contributions

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