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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions have been divided into categories - click one of the buttons below to view questions relating to that category.


Members can purchase an additional amount of annual pension which is called 'added pension'. This can be done in two ways; by making a one-off lump sum contribution, or by making periodical monthly deductions. Certain rules and limits apply. For more information go to the increasing benefits page.

If you leave the RCPS with less than two years' reckonable service you will not qualify for a deferred pension, however it is important to note that if you leave with more than 3 months' (and less than 2 years' service) your options on leaving would be either:

  1. a refund of your contributions (less tax and less the cost of buying you back into the State Second Pension); or
  2. a transfer to another pension scheme.

The alternative pension option on joining your RCPS employer is setting up a Partnership Pension Account. If you set up a Partnership Pension Account and then leave your RCPS employer, the fund built up is yours either to remain with the provider, to add to, or to transfer somewhere else.

Most RCPS members have the option to 'switch' to the Partnership Pension Account option. Switches are permitted any time during the year.

The two Partnership providers are are Scottish Widows - external link and Standard Life - external link. If you choose the Partnership Pension Account option, you will need to obtain, complete and submit the chosen providers application form to JSS. The effective date of any 'switch' will be dependent on the next available payroll date, following receipt of the application form within JSS.

Once JSS have received the appropriate leaver documentation from your employer (or your employer's agent, for example UK SBS), JSS will write to you to let you know what your options on leaving are. If it is a couple of months since you left and you have not heard from us, please contact us.

If you are a member of the Classic, Classic Plus, Premium or Nuvos schemes, the answer is no. If you have a Partnership Pension Account, your RCPS employer will cease contributing when you leave, although you have the opportunity to make your own arrangements directly with the provider to continue paying your own contributions. Preserved members pension benefits will continue to be increased to reflect the cost of living increases, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Your membership of the RCPS or participation in the Partnership Pension Account should continue. JSS should be informed of your change of employer and we would then write to you to confirm the latest details that we hold. If you have changed employer but not heard from us please contact us.

If you are joining UKRI from a non UKRI employer, your contract will stipulate your on-going pension scheme membership.

Yes, but you can only switch back to the version of the RCPS that you are eligible for. You will need to complete the appropriate Switch form (available from the forms page) and submit it to JSS. The effective date of any 'switch' will be dependent on the next available payroll date, following receipt of the Switch form within JSS.

The government passed a new law under the Pensions Act 2011. Employers are required to automatically enrol eligible workers into a 'qualifying' workplace pension scheme, for more information please read the auto enrolment page.

If a member dies whilst in service, the death benefit lump sum is normally two years' pay for Classic and Nuvos members and three years' pay for Classic Plus, Premium and Partnership members. For members who work part time, their actual part time pay is used in the calculation of the death benefit lump sum. For more information go to the death benefit page.

Yes. If you are eligible to set up a Partnership Pension Account, you can elect to not pay any contributions yourself. Your RCPS employer will pay a contribution based on your age and your pay to your Partnership Pension Account.

If you are a new starter and have a Pension Choice form to complete, there is an opportunity to make a nomination for death benefit on the reverse of the Pension Choice form. Otherwise, you would need to complete a nomination for death benefit form, available on the forms page. You need to ensure that you download the correct version of the form for the scheme you are in. The completed form should be returned directly to us. We will then acknowledge receipt of your form.

You should complete a fresh nomination form, downloadable from the forms page, or you may contact us with the revised details.

Yes you can. Please note that we will pay the money to a nomination that is deemed to be valid. Once the money is paid we do not have any further involvement in the death benefit lump sum.

The Nuvos version of the RCPS is a defined benefit scheme based on a career average benefit structure. The current accrual rate is 2.3% of pensionable earnings. A scheme year runs from 1 April to 31 March. For each scheme year, we are advised of your Nuvos pensionable earnings and your pension that has built up is then calculated based on 2.3% of those earnings. Once accrued, the pension is then increased in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

RCPS employers currently pay 26% of employees earnings to secure their employees' pension benefits in the RCPS. This does not apply to the employer contribution rates for the Partnership Pension Account as these are related to an individual's age.

Time limits and certain restrictions sometimes apply. To start the process, individuals should complete and submit a transfer request form (PDF, 38KB) - opens in new window. Once we have received this form we would then request a transfer quote, upon receipt of which JSS would then calculate and let you know what the transfer would mean to you in terms of your current RCPS membership. At this point you would decide whether you wanted to go ahead or not.

Yes. For the final salary versions of the RCPS (ie Classic, Premium and Classic Plus), the maximum number of years Reckonable Service is 45 years. For the Nuvos version, the maximum pension is restricted to an amount equal to 75% of a member's highest scheme earnings. For more information, refer to page 5 of the Nuvos Scheme Guide (PDF, 265KB) - opens in new window.

Not normally, but if you have a 'small' pension you may be eligible for trivial commutation. Please read the Trivial Commutation Guide on the scheme guides page for more information.

If you are working for an RCPS employer, we will contact you via your work address and most often your work email.

However, if you change address and your nominee(s) for death benefits have changed address with you, you should let us know your nominees new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

The Earnings Cap for 6 April 2019 - 5 April 2020 is £166,200. This cap applies to anyone in the Classic, Classic Plus or Premium scheme. Anyone that exceeds the earnings cap will have their pension benefits (based on pensionable pay) limited to the cap as well as their employee contributions calculated on the salary below the cap, the same applies to employer contributions. The earnings cap for 6 April 2018 - 5 April 2019 was £160,800. The earnings cap does not apply to Nuvos members.

Your scheme pension age depends on what scheme you are in: For Classic, Classic Plus and Premium it is age 60 and for Nuvos it is age 65.

This answer assumes that no added years or added pension are being purchased.

Historically, member pension contributions were set at one either 1.5% or 3.5% dependant on whether a person was a member of the Classic or Non-classic version of the RCPS. Since 2012, member contribution rates increased and some payroll providers split the total contribution according to the old standard rate with the remainder being the obligatory top up percentage.


Please contact JSS as soon as possible with the following details: Name of deceased, date of death, name of any surviving spouse, pay/scheme number and the contact details of the next of kin or executor.

Yes. Please let JSS know as soon as possible. Failure to inform JSS of a change of address may result in the temporary suspension of your pension payments.

If your nominee(s) for death benefits have also changed address with you, you should let us know their new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

We need to see an original Power of Attorney or certified copy in order to accept any forms which have been signed on the member's behalf. A Power of Attorney can be set up by the member when they are in good mental health and this course of action can be pursued.

You may wish to contact a solicitor for help in setting up Power of Attorney.

Abatement is the reduction of your pension. This may happen if you partially retire and your part time salary plus pension is more than your full time salary (pre-retirement) or, if you access your pension and are re-employed by an RCPS employer. You may not earn more, by way of re-employed salary and pension than you were earning before you retired.

See abatement guide (PDF, 154KB) - opens in new window - for more information

JSS take part in the National Fraud Initiative in order to check that we do not make payments to members who have died or are no longer eligible to receive a payment. Taking part in the NFI involves checking our pension records against government data.

The NFI only covers UK residents so if you live outside of the UK we will write to you periodically to confirm your continuing eligibility for your pension. It is important that you do not ignore these letters as your pension may be suspended if we do not hear from you.

HM Revenue & Customs sets a limit on tax relief for pensions known as the Lifetime Allowance (LTA). LTA is the maximum value of pension an individual can take from all pension benefits before they are charged additional tax.

Preserved / deferred members

Yes. Please let JSS know as soon as possible as it is important that JSS are able to maintain contact with you.

If your nominee(s) for death benefits have also changed address with you, you should let us know their new address; either by completing a fresh nomination form (available from the forms page) or you may contact us with details of their new address.

Please contact us as soon as possible with the following details: Name of deceased, date of death, name of any surviving spouse, scheme number and the contact details of the next of kin or executor.


  • UK Research and Innovation
  • Diamond Light Source
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  • UK Shared Business Services
  • Scotland's Rural College
  • The Pirbright Institute
  • Rothamsted Research
  • The Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise
  • Babraham Institute
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  • John Innes Centre
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A 'by analogy scheme' is one whose documentation states that they use the rules of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). This link to PCSPS rules means that by-analogy schemes automatically take on board changes that are implemented with regard to the PCSPS rules.

In a Defined Contribution (DC) scheme the contributions you and your employer pay go into a pension fund for you. Most providers have a default fund but they also offer different investment options. The amount you pay in and the return on the investment determines the pension pot of money you build up. The pot can be accessed from age 55 either as: one lump sum; lump sums as and when you need them; or to provide a retirement income (known as an annuity).

In a Defined Benefit (DB) scheme (the RCPS is a DB scheme) the pension you build is based on your salary, an accrual rate and the time that you have been in the scheme. The contributions you make are used to fund the current scheme pensions being paid; when you retire your pension is paid for by the current employee's active in the scheme at that time.