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State Pension Age

The current State Pension Age (SPA) for men is age 65, and will increase incrementally to 65 for women by 2018.  Following this, SPA will rise to 66 for both men and women by October 2020.  More increases are planned, which will raise SPA from 66 to 68.  To find out your SPA please visit: www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

Pension Scams

Since the introduction of the new pensions flexibilities, it has been reported that pension scams are on the increase.  Scammers are approaching pension savers, promising one-off investments, pension loans or upfront cash in exchange for your pension.  These offers typically involve high tax charges and penalties, and you risk losing a significant amount of your pension savings.  The Pensions regulator has put together information on how to spot and avoid these scams.  Please visit the following websites to ensure you are fully prepared should a scammer contact you:

www.pension-scams.com

Pensions Advisory Service

A lifetime's savings lost in a moment (PDF - 1020KB)'

 

USS Scheme Changes

From 1 April 2016 the benefits provided by USS changed. All members will now join the USS Retirement Income Builder.

It is important to note that all USS members, both final salary and career revalued benefits section members, moved to the new career revalued benefits (CRB) scheme on 1 April 2016.  Benefits accrued up to 31 March 2016 are deferred.

On 1 October 2016 a defined contribution section called the USS Investment Builder was launched; a salary threshold of £55,550 (2017/18) was introduced, with CRB provided up to the threshold and contributions in respect of salary above that threshold going into the USS Investment Builder.  Detailed information is available on the USS website.

‘My USS’ – this is the online member portal.  Members can make choices regarding the Investment Builder through this portal. 

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Pension Scheme Tax Allowances

Pension benefits built up by individuals are subject to allowances set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC has confirmed changes to the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) and the Annual Allowance (AA). These changes may affect some pension scheme members with large pension savings and/or a high overall income (from all sources). 

LTA

The LTA reduced from £1.25 million to £1 million on 6 April 2016. The LTA will be indexed annually in line with the consumer prices index (CPI) from 6 April 2018 onwards. Transitional protection for members with pension benefits already valued over £1 million is available. For more information please visit the government lifetime allowance webpages.

AA

The Government has introduced a tapered reduction in the amount of AA for individuals with income (including the value of any pension contributions) of over £150,000, and who have an income (excluding pension contributions) in excess of £110,000.  This change came into effect on 6 April 2016.  For more information visit HMRC's annual allowance pages.

It is strongly recommended that you seek independent financial/specialist tax advice before making any decisions in relation to your pension.  If you do not have a financial adviser, please visit the following websites:

www.unbiased.co.uk

www.thepfs.org/yourmoney/professional-advice

USS members should visit the USS website for further information on the allowances and options available.

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