Here are some answers to common questions about the Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan and retirement planning in general.

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please get in touch with the Plan administrator, Capita, on 0345 600 2086 or email snpensions@capita.co.uk.

It depends on whether you are paid monthly or four-weekly (lunar). Please view the latest pension pay dates here.

Your pension is paid directly into either your bank or building society account. For security reasons, the plan administrator, Capita, does not pay your pension by cheque. Capita is also not able to pay your pension into any other person’s bank or building society account unless it has received the appropriate court notifications (e.g., in cases where someone has a legal power of attorney over your finances).

Pensions are reviewed annually on 1 November and increased in accordance with the Plan Rules. Different increases are applied to pension earned before 6 April 1997 and pension earned after 6 April 1997. If you have passed your Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) age, then the increases to the GMP element of your pension will be decided by the Government. Every element of pension has a specific increase definition, so you will receive a letter each year that provides a breakdown of your pension and confirms the percentage of increase that has been awarded to each element.

You will receive a payslip when your pension is first set up but you will then only receive one if your pension changes by more than £1 in any pay period, or when P60s are issued. Remember, once you’ve registered for the online portal, you can view your payslips online at any time.

Your pension is payable under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) rules. Income tax will be calculated, initially on a Month 1 (Emergency Code) basis. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will be informed of your retirement. If any change is made to your tax code, the Plan administrator, Captia, will adjust your tax position accordingly. This is usually within the first two months of your first pension payment.

If you receive a supplementary pension (or ‘bridging pension’), it is only payable until your State Pension Age (SPA). When you reach your SPA, the supplementary element of your pension will cease to be payable and, therefore, your pension will decrease. If the Government subsequently changes the SPA, the date your Supplementary Pension is paid to will not change.

If you have a question about tax, please contact the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office below:

HM Revenue & Customs
PO Box 1970
Liverpool L75 1WX
Telephone number: 0300 200 3300
PAYE reference number: 120/MA83247

If your bank account details have changed, then please complete the Change of Bank Details form. It is important to advise the Plan administrator, Capita, as soon as possible, as we process the payroll approximately 10-12 days before payment date. Any changes received after we have begun processing the payroll will not be included until the following month’s payroll.

If any correspondence sent to you by the Plan administrator, Capita, is returned, payment of your pension will be suspended until you write to Capita with your new address. This is to help prevent pensions fraud.

If you have recently moved but not updated your contact details, please email snpensions@capita.co.uk from your registered email address or call Capita on 0345 600 3260 (+44 114 273 7331 if calling from overseas).

A P60 is a statement issued by the Plan administrator, Capita, at the end of the tax year, showing how much tax you’ve paid on your SNPP pension. You can also view previous years' P60s online, if you have registered for the online portal. You should keep your paper P60s safe as they may be required for tax purposes.

In some cases, depending on your membership section, a lump sum might be paid from the Plan, while your spouse, civil partner or dependent partner might also receive a pension. If your spouse, civil partner or dependant qualifies for a pension, it would be worth roughly half of your pension at date of death, including any pension given up at retirement for a lump sum.

If you are receiving a dependant’s pension, no further benefits are payable from the Plan on your death.

You can update your nomination by completing an Expression of Wish online. Once you have registered for the online portal and logged in, please go to the personal details section and select ‘change these details’. This information will be held on your record and will supersede any forms you have previously completed. Please note, if you’ve been in receipt of a pension from the Plan for more than five years, no lump sum is payable on your death.

The Plan administrator, Capita, will require the following information from your next of kin:

  • Your original death certificate
  • Details of Estate form
  • Beneficiaries Application form (if there is a spouse/civil partner/dependant claiming a pension)
  • Original marriage/civil partnership certificates (if applicable)
  • Original birth certificate of spouse/civil partner/dependant (if applicable)
  • Bank Mandate form
  • Details of any children

Capita will try to request all this information from you when you retire. However, there may be instances where it is necessary to contact your next of kin for further details.

You are entitled to the full pension instalment for the payment period in which your date of death falls, but if any payments are made thereafter, the Trustee will need to reclaim these overpaid amounts in full from your estate. A letter will be sent to your next of kin advising how the overpayment can be made.

The commencement date for your dependant’s pension is the day after your date of death. However, the Plan administrator, Capita, will not be able to start making payments until all the information required has been received (see ‘What information will my next of kin need to provide in the event of my death?) Their pension will be paid in advance, every four weeks, into their nominated bank account. The first pension instalment will be paid on the next pension payment date after all the relevant information has been received.

The payment of a pension to a dependent partner is subject to Trustee approval and evidence of financial dependency will need to be provided. A questionnaire will be sent to your partner for completion; here is a list of the types of things we would require:

  • Details of income of both you and your partner
  • Joint mortgage/rental agreement
  • Joint utility bills
  • Joint loans/credit agreements
  • Bank statements showing payments made by you to your partner

It is important that all relevant information is provided with the completed questionnaire to try and avoid any delays and requests for further evidence.

When the Plan administrator, Capita, has been notified that you require information for a divorce, the following information will be sent to you:

  • The Plan’s divorce policy statement
  • Schedule of Charges
  • An invoice if you are not entitled to a free Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV)

If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, Capita will arrange for a CETV to be calculated. This may have to be done by the Plan actuary (e.g. if you are already in receipt of your pension). If you are in Scotland, your pension must be valued on the ‘date of separation’ and only the value that has been built up during your marriage or civil partnership is taken into account.

You are entitled to one free statutory Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) a year. If you require another within a 12-month period, there will be a charge payable, usually £250 plus VAT.

Before a pension sharing order (PSO) can be implemented, the following is required:

  • Final Consent Order or Financial Remedy Order and Pension Sharing Annex (Form P1) (or Minute of Agreement or Court Order for divorces under Scottish Law), stamped and dated by the court
  • Decree Absolute or Dissolution Order (or extract of the Decree of Divorce, Decree of Dissolution of Civil Partnership or Declarator of Nullity for divorces under Scottish Law)
  • Charges payable by both parties or in the proportion specified in the court order
  • Information about the ex-spouse/civil partner
    - All the names by which he/she has been known
    - Date of birth
    - Address
    - National Insurance number
  • The full name and address of the qualifying arrangement(s) to which the credit is to be transferred
  • The membership or policy number in that arrangement (if known)
  • Contact details of the administrator responsible for the receiving arrangement

When your PSO was implemented, your pension was reduced according to the terms of the order and a letter was sent to confirm this.

A supplementary pension is a temporary pension that is paid to bridge the gap in your income between your retirement date and your State Pension Age (as defined in the Trust Deed and Rules of the Plan).

The Plan administrator, Capita, will write to you in the month the supplementary pension is due to stop, to confirm the adjustment that will be made to your pension and the total amount of pension you will receive going forward.

The supplementary pension is only applicable to certain categories of membership; you will usually have been told at retirement if it applies to you.

Your supplementary pension is shown on your payslip as ‘Bridging Pension’.

Your supplementary pension will stop being paid from the pay period after you reach your State Pension Age, as defined in the Trust Deed and Rules of the Plan, which is as follows:

Any person born between 6th December 1953 and 5th October 1954: age 65

6th December 1953 to 5th January 1954: 6th March 2019
6th January 1954 to 5th February 1954: 6th May 2019
6th February 1954 to 5th March 1954: 6th July 2019
6th March 1954 to 5th April 1954: 6th September 2019
6th April 1954 to 5th May 1954: 6th November 2019
6th May 1954 to 5th June 1954: 6th January 2020
6th June 1954 to 5th July 1954: 6th March 2020
6th May 1954 to 5th June 1954: 6th January 2020
6th July 1954 to 5th August 1954: 6th May 2020
6th August 1954 to 5th September 1954: 6th July 2020
6th September 1954 to 5th October 1954: 6th September 2020

Any person born after 5th October 1954 but before 6th April 1960: age 66

Any person born between 6th April 1960 and 5th March 1961:

6th April 1960 to 5th May 1960 Age 66 years and 1 month
6th May 1960 to 5th June 1960 Age 66 years and 2 months
6th June 1960 to 5th July 1960 Age 66 years and 3 months
6th July 1960 to 5th August 1960 Age 66 years and 4 months
6th August 1960 to 5th September 1960 Age 66 years and 5 months
6th September 1960 to 5th October 1960 Age 66 years and 6 months
6th October 1960 to 5th November 1960 Age 66 years and 7 months
6th November 1960 to 5th December 1960 Age 66 years and 8 months
6th December 1960 to 5th January 1961 Age 66 years and 9 months
6th January 1961 to 5th February 1961 Age 66 years and 10 months
6th February 1961 to 5th March 1961 Age 66 years and 11 months

A person born after 5th March 1961 but before 6th April 1977: age 67

Any person born between 6th April 1977 and 5th April 1978:

6th April 1977 to 5th May 1977: 6th May 2044
6th May 1977 to 5th June 1977: 6th July 2044
6th June 1977 to 5th July 1977: 6th September 2044
6th July 1977 to 5th August 1977: 6th November 2044
6th August 1977 to 5th September 1977: 6th January 2045
6th September 1977 to 5th October 1977: 6th March 2045
6th October 1977 to 5th November 1977: 6th May 2045
6th November 1977 to 5th December 1977: 6th July 2045
6th December 1977 to 5th January 1978: 6th September 2045
6th January 1978 to 5th February 1978: 6th November 2045
6th February 1978 to 5th March 1978: 6th January 2046
6th March 1978 to 5th April 1978: 6th March 2046

Any person born after 5th April 1978: age 68.

The supplementary pension does not have a dependant’s pension attached to it and so it will not be paid to your spouse/civil partner in the event of your death before State Pension Age. Please note: if there are any further changes by the Government to SPA, so for example if SPA increases, the date your Supplementary Pension is paid to will not change.

Your GMP is the minimum pension that your employer had to provide through an occupational pension scheme if they wanted to ‘contract out’ of the Additional State Pension (also known as State Earnings-related Pension Scheme (SERPS)) before 6 April 1997.

Broadly speaking, the GMP is a similar amount to the Additional State Pension you would have received had the Additional State Pension continued in operation. However, it is paid through the occupational pension scheme (i.e. the Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan), instead of by the Government.

The GMP is paid as part of the pension you receive from the Plan. For benefits earned before 6 April 1997, your pension payable from the Plan must be at least equal to your GMP from GMP Payment Age.

Because of the way the rules for GMP work, even when the Plan provides a higher benefit overall than the GMP, the GMP must be accounted for separately from the rest of your pension in the Plan. One reason for this is because once you reach GMP Payment Age (currently age 65 for men and age 60 for women), different annual pension increases are applied to your GMP and the rest of your pension.

Historically, State Pension payments started at different ages for men (65) and women (60). As the GMP element of your pension was broadly equal to what the Additional State Pension/SERPS would have provided, the Plan has to calculate benefits for this part of your pension assuming different starting ages for males and females. Therefore, the age at which GMP becomes payable is 65 for men and 60 for women. This is despite the fact that men and women now have the same State Pension Age (currently 66 but rising to 67 by 2028).

Before 6 April 2016, the State Pension was made up of the Basic State Pension and the Additional State Pension. From 6 April 2016, the Government introduced the new State Pension.

Employers offering an occupational pension scheme used to be able to ‘contract’ employees out of the Additional State Pension. By doing so, both you as an employee and your employer paid lower National Insurance contributions.

If you were ‘contracted out’ between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997, you gave up the opportunity to build up Additional State Pension while you were working. Instead, you became entitled to a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP), which would be paid by your occupational pension scheme.

The Scottish & Newcastle Pension Plan was ‘contracted out’ before 6 April 1997, so if you were paying into the Plan at that time, you are entitled to a GMP from the Plan. After that date, a change in legislation meant that members who were contracted out did not build up further entitlement to a GMP. Instead the Plan had to comply with different requirements for this period of employment.

Contracting out ended on 6 April 2016 to coincide with the introduction of the new State Pension. At this point, all occupational schemes, including the Plan, were recommended to check their GMP data against the records held by HMRC. This exercise is called GMP reconciliation.

The GMP is split between the part that built up between 5 April 1978 and 6 April 1988 (Pre 88 GMP) and the part that built up between 5 April 1988 and 6 April 1997 (Post 88 GMP).

Different rules apply to each part of your GMP in relation to increases once the GMP is in payment.

The part of your pension, if any, representing the GMP built up before 6 April 1988 will not be increased while in payment by the Plan. The Plan is not required under legislation to increase this element of your pension.

The part of your pension, if any, representing the GMP built up after 5 April 1988 will be increased from GMP Payment Age by the Plan each April in line with inflation, up to a maximum of 3% per annum. The Plan is only required under legislation to increase this element of your pension up to a maximum of 3% per annum.

The remainder of your pension, in excess of the total GMP, will be increased in line with the Rules of the Plan that apply to your category of membership.

When contracting out was ended in 2016, it was recommended that all occupational pension schemes (including the Plan) should check their GMP data against the records held by HMRC. If this showed that our GMP data in respect of you did not match the data held by HMRC, we were required to update our records and correct (rectify) your pension. This is a separate issue to GMP equalisation.

Calculating a GMP is quite complicated but broadly it is based on historic earnings figures. Those earnings figures were supplied to both the Plan and HMRC by your employer’s payroll department. This information was typically provided at different times which could lead to differences in the information used to calculate the GMP. In addition, this data was not transferred electronically so there could have been clerical, typographical and transposition errors made. Complications can also arise when GMPs are transferred from one scheme to another. This means that HMRC may hold a different GMP record for you than the Plan holds. Where there are discrepancies, corrections may need to be made to HMRC's records or to the Plan records.

In 2018, the High Court ruled that the inherent sex-based inequalities in GMP built up between 17 May 1990 and 5 April 1997 were unlawful. Consequently, all UK pension schemes must, by law, ‘equalise’ those GMPs so that they do not cause anyone’s pension to be lower as a result of their sex. The Trustee wrote to affected members in December 2023 to explain how GMP equalisation would affect their pensions.

Yes, the Trustee has a duty to pay members the benefits to which they are entitled under the Plan, so if you have been underpaid, your pension will increase to the correct level due to you.

Yes. If you’re owed something, you will be paid a lump sum which may be taxable. This payment is likely to be paid through our pensioner payroll (PAYE), but you can apply to HMRC to have the tax spread over the relevant tax years in which the underpayment built up. You can request a year-by-year breakdown from Capita.

Yes. The Trustee has agreed to add interest to your underpaid pension. This will be subject to the deduction of income tax.

Capita cannot help with this as they do not have details of your personal tax position. You will need to speak to HMRC by calling 0300 200 3300 / +44 135 535 9022 – the Plan’s PAYE tax reference is 120/MA83247 and you will need to have your National Insurance number to hand.

A year-by-year breakdown is available from Capita on request.

Your current pension in payment will not be reduced and you will not be required to pay back any of the amounts overpaid. However, you will not receive a pension increase this year (2023) and your pension will be assessed again at the Annual Pension Review in 2024.

The court judgments concerning equalisation do not require the equalisation of any benefits built up before 17 May 1990. All non-GMP benefits built up in the Plan on and after 17 May 1990 have been equalised.

Any dependant’s pension payable on your death will be based on your (correct) pension after GMP equalisation and/or rectification.

There are two reasons why your benefits might not be affected:

  • Your pension benefits don’t contain any GMP built up in the period 17 May 1990 to 5 April 1997 – for example due to not being in pensionable service during this time
  • The GMP benefits you are receiving are already higher than they would have been if they had originally been calculated in line with the opposite sex – therefore nothing is needed in addition to equalise the position.

The Government had previously set limits on the pension savings that you can have without losing tax relief. The relevant limit in the context of GMP equalisation is the Standard Lifetime Allowance (LTA). As GMP equalisation may result in a small increase in pension, you may have a higher pension amount to be measured against the LTA.

In the 2023 Spring Budget, the Government stated its intention to abolish the LTA from the 2024/25 tax year. This will take some time to fully implement, however during the 2023/24 tax year, normal income tax rules will apply to any LTA excess, rather than a special tax charge.

Tax matters are complex, and we cannot cover all the issues here. If you have concerns about how the tax limitations may affect you, we recommend you take financial advice.

Every effort has been made to ensure that your pension benefits are correct. The Trustee does not envisage the need to undertake further GMP checks, but in the event that a further change is required to your pension, the Trustee will write to you at the time.

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 has changed, so in order to receive anything at all under the new system you will have to have at least 10 years of NI contributions. You can find out more here, on the gov website.

Although tax is not deducted from the State Pension when you receive it, the State Pension is taxable. HMRC will take into account your State Pension, your SNPP pension and any other income that you receive for the purpose of calculating your tax liability. Any tax which is due on your State Pension may be deducted from your SNPP pension.