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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Pension reform

These frequently asked questions are related specifically to Pension Reform / Alpha. Click the question to view the answer.


Alpha is similar to the current Nuvos section which is a career average scheme. The main difference is that the Alpha pension age is aligned to State Pension age.

The accrual rate is 2.32% compared to Nuvos which is 2.3%.

The Alpha Guide - external link - is the place to go to for information about your pension.

This is a good place to start if you need more detail of how Alpha works alongside the features of the scheme you moved from.

If you are in the RCPS and had less than 10 years to your scheme pension age (60 for Classic, Premium and Classic Plus, and 65 for Nuvos) as at 1 April 2012 you will be protected from moving into a reformed scheme; you will remain in your existing scheme.

Most other members are eligible to move to Alpha.

NPA in Alpha is the same as your State Pension age. If the State Pension Age changes so will your Alpha pension age.

The new pension scheme - Alpha - external link - contains information that was provided to Civil Service scheme members between February 2014 and April 2015 to help them understand how the introduction of Alpha would affect them.

If any RCPS members are already beyond scheme pension age, they will remain in their current section.

No. Partnership members are able to remain in the Partnership section.

The changes are part of the Government's wider changes to public service pensions to ensure that the costs of providing pensions are fairer for the public purse.

The RCPS is 'by analogy' to the Civil Service Pension scheme (PCSPS) which means that it mirrors the rules of the current PCSPS. Alpha is a completely separate scheme to the PCSPS, which means that the RCPS cannot run by analogy to it.

The Public Services Act 2013 doesn't automatically permit by-analogy schemes to continue past 1 April 2015 and Government policy requires schemes to join the one they are by analogy to. The RCPS has permission to remain open until 31 March 2018.

Civil Service pensions are usually paid monthly in arrears, directly to your nominated bank account. There may be changes to dates once MyCSP takes over administration and MyCSP would tell pensioners about any changes in advance.

Added Pension in Alpha works in the same way as Nuvos and has different actuarial factors. Members can purchase Added Pension by lump sum or monthly contributions. The age at which the Added Pension can be paid will be linked to the Alpha NPA and the overall Added Pension limit may be different in Alpha.

Once the RCPS has transferred over to the Civil Service arrangements MyCSP will send members the Annual Benefit Statements; JSS would expect statements to show the various elements of a members pension benefit accrual.

The member will re-join the scheme they would have been eligible to join, had they not opted out as long as they opt back in 5 years or less after their original decision.

If the pension is brought into pay before the RCPS is admitted to the Civil Service pension arrangements, MyCSP will exercise discretion and will not apply the abatement rules.

If the pension is brought into pay after the RCPS is admitted to the Civil Service pension arrangements, abatement rules will be applied.

Any transfer to the RCPS which is completed prior to the date that scheme membership changes to alpha, will retain the pension age of current RCPS membership - i.e. 65 (Nuvos) or 60 (final salary schemes). The scheme pension age for any pension accrued in alpha will be a members state pension age. All benefits accrued prior to joining alpha (including any transferred in pension) can still be accessed at the old scheme pension age - however, if a member is still accruing benefits in the alpha scheme, they would have to partially retire and the pension may be subject toabatement (PDF, 154KB) - opens in new window -

Any aggregation or linking of RCPS benefits, which is completed prior to the date that scheme membership changes to alpha, will retain the pension age of current RCPS membership - i.e. 65 (Nuvos) or 60 (final salary schemes). The scheme pension age for any pension accrued in alpha will be a members state pension age. All benefits accrued prior to joining alpha (including any aggregated or linked pension) can still be accessed at the old scheme pension age - however, if a member is still accruing benefits in the alpha scheme, they would have to partially retire and the pension may be subject to abatement (PDF, 154KB) - opens in new window -

If the aggregation or linking option is NOT taken up, the earlier RCPS preserved benefits can be accessed at the old scheme pension age - with no requirement to partially retire, but abatement may still be applicable.

Pre Alpha pension can still be paid, without any actuarial reduction at the current scheme pension age (Classic, Premium, Classis Plus - 60, and Nuvos - 65).

However, if you are still accruing Alpha pension, partial retirement would have to be taken in order to access the non-Alpha pension benefits.

Information about partial retirement is available via the Scheme Guides page.