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Does COVID-19 Affect My Pension? FAQs

COVID-19 Pension FAQs

Will I still get my pension paid on time?

Yes. NILGOSC has robust processes in place to ensure that your pension will still get paid every month, when due. We have also implemented additional measures to ensure that normal service is not affected at this time.

Are the value of my benefits affected by the volatility in the financial markets?

No, the LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme which means your pension is based on your salary and how long you've paid in. Your pension is not linked to stock market performance, so both your contributions and your pension, whether in payment or not, will be unaffected.
The only exception to this is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). If you have an AVC, it is possible the value may have reduced - this will depend on the funds you have chosen to invest in. You should contact your AVC provider for more information about this.

I can no longer afford to be a member- can I stop my pension contributions?

Yes, but you might want to consider joining the 50/50 section of the LGPS instead of opting out. If you do, you'll pay half your normal contribution rate and build up half your normal pension. You will retain full life and ill health cover and you can move back to the main section whenever you are ready.
You can use the contributions calculator to check what difference this would make to your take home pay.
If after considering the 50/50 section you decide you would like to opt out, you should complete all sections of the Opt-out Notice and return section A to your employer and section B and C directly to NILGOSC.

I am due to retire from my employer shortly- will the process be affected?

No. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure that the retirement application process isn’t affected. NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

I have a pending transfer out – will this be delayed?

Possibly. We continue to actively monitor the situation and are implementing additional measures to ensure transfer payments are paid.  Given the volatility of the markets at the moment, NILGOSC may seek approval from yourself and your IFA that a transfer at this time is still your intention.

If my pay is reduced, what impact will this have on my pension?

This will depend on the reason for the reduction:

Sick leave
If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay.
You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

Authorised unpaid leave

If your employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave for less than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made to cover the period of the absence. This mean your pension builds up as normal.
If the absence is for longer than 30 consecutive days, pension contributions are made for the first 30 days of the absence only.  After this you will not build up any pension for the period unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of pension lost.
If you choose to pay APCs to purchase the amount of pension lost and you make your election to do this within 30 days of returning to work, the cost will be split between you and your employer.
Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Coronavirus job retention scheme
If your employer is able to use the job retention scheme and you both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they're unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being 'on furlough'.

If this applies to you, your employer could pay 80% of your wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500. The Government will fund your employer to do this. Employers can choose to top up your pay to 100%, but if you receive less pay when you are 'on furlough', the amount of pension you build up during this period will also be reduced. You will continue to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive.  In addition, from 1 September, employers will have to start paying 10% of the employee’s wages (and can recover 70% from HMRC) and from 1 October the employer’s share will increase to 20% (and can recover 60% from HMRC).  The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closes on 31 October 2020. You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension lost during this period. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost, but they can choose to.  NILGOSC will waive the requirement for a Good Health Medical if the reason for buying additional pension is because you were on furlough.

Visit Additional Pension Contributions to find out more about APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form.

Emergency Volunteering Leave (EVL)
The Government has introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.
If you take a period of EVL, your LGPS pension benefits will build up in the same way as if you were working normally.
You will only pay contributions on any actual pay your employer pays you during the period.

Other reasons
For information about the impact on your pension if you are away from work for any other reason, such as child related leave or reserve forces leave, please visit our Absences Page.

I’ve been reviewing my personal finances. What death benefits does the Scheme pay?

Information on the benefits that the Scheme provides if you die can be found by clicking on the links below. The benefits can be different depending on if you are currently paying into the Scheme, if you have left the Scheme but are not yet receiving your pension or if you are currently receiving a pension from us.

I have a pension related query- can I visit the office?

No- Following the latest advice from the Government, we’ve taken the difficult decision to temporarily close our office to visitors with immediate effect (Wednesday 18 March) to help protect our staff and reduce any unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.  Please do not visit our office until further notice.

I need to return a document to NILGOSC- how should I do this? 

In order to provide members with the most efficient service as possible, during these very trying times, there are a number of ways you can return information to NILGOSC:

Go to our website and upload documents via our online portal ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online.  You can upload documents or send us secure messages once you are registered. If you are not already registered, please Visit My NILGOSC Pension Online.

Email your documents to us at:

We are currently able to receive mail, however, it’s unclear if this will continue. Please use the document upload service available through ‘My NILGOSC Pension Online’ or the email address above, to return documents or forms to us.

In person
Please do not visit our offices as they are closed to visitors at this present time.

My employer has suggested Ill-health retirement – will this process be affected?

No. Upon receipt of the relevant paperwork from your employer NILGOSC will arrange a face to face assessment with the Committee doctor.  Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, you may be required to complete a COVID-19 health screening questionnaire.  Should NILGOSC determine that Ill-health benefits can be paid, claim forms will be issued promptly.  NILGOSC remains fully functional for all key member service delivery functions and we will continue to deliver great service to our members with minimal disruption.

Contacting Us

You can continue to contact us in the following ways:

Email us at and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Call us on 0345 319 7325 for pension administration or 0345 3197 326 for pensioner payroll. We expect our phone lines to be busier than usual so if the matter isn’t urgent, please contact us by email if at all possible.  Phone lines are open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday from 3rd August onwards.

We are still receiving mail at this time.

For those members who have registered to use our online service My NILGOSC Pension Online, the usual range of services continue to be available.