Applying for my pension

What to do when you're ready to take your DB pension and what will happen next.

Applying for your DB pension

You should apply for your pension 3 months before you want it to start.

Before applying please make sure you understand all the options available to you. Then, when you’re ready to apply for your pension, the process will depend on whether you’re still paying in contributions or not. Please see details below.

An application for my pension form, shown with an approved stamp on it
Before applying for your pension

Before applying please make sure you understand all the options available to you. You can find out more using the links below:

Log in to yourRPS account for tools to help you make the right decision for you.

Applying for your pension if you’re still paying in

If you’re still paying in to the RPS when you come to retire, this means that you are an active member. This is how the process would work for you:

1. You need to tell your employer you want to start the application process

2. Your employer will then let the Scheme administrator, Railpen, know. This can only be done 3 months before you intend to retire.

3. Railpen will process your request and will send you a retirement quotation, along with details of your options and any forms you need to complete. The retirement quotation will show

  • the pension you might get based on the options available to you 
  • your lump sum (if applicable)

The retirement quotation isn’t to provide proof of your pension income. You won’t get final confirmation of your pension until just before your retirement date (see point 6) so you may want to hold off making any big purchases.  

4. You will need to return the form(s) to Railpen, telling us how you want to take your pension and confirming your bank details. This should be done at least 1 month before your retirement datePlease check the ways to take my pension page for more information about your options.

If you have BRASS it is important you review your investment fund choices before retirement, as your BRASS fund value can go up as well as down. If you want to make changes to your investment funds, you should do this via the member website BEFORE returning your completed retirement option forms. See the taking my BRASS page for more details.

An icon of a calendar
Retirement timeline

You can see all of the steps to applying for your pension in the retirement timeline for active defined benefit (DB) members.  Download a copy below. 

5. Railpen will process your forms and check we have all the information we need.

6. You will get a letter just before, or around your retirement date, confirming what payments you will get. You can find out more about how the payments will be made in ‘how your pension will be paid’ below. Payments may be delayed if forms are returned late.

You can also read more about applying for your pension as an active DB member and the steps involved in the ‘guide to taking your benefits’. This can be found in ‘My library’ after logging in to your myRPS account

Applying for your pension if you’re no longer paying in

If you’re no longer paying in to your pension when you come to retire, then you are classed as a ‘preserved’ member. Here’s what the application process will look like for you:

1. Log in to your myRPS account and get an estimate of your benefits

2.  Get in touch with the scheme administrator, Railpen.  You will need to tell them:

  • your name
  • your pension reference number
  • your retirement date
  • your email
  • your contact telephone number
  • your bank details (bank name, account holder, sort code, account number and roll number (if applicable)) 
  • how you want to take your pension
  • details of the Lifetime Allowance you have previously used, including the name of the scheme and the percentage of LTA you have used

    3. Railpen will send you an acceptance form to complete and send back.

    4. You should return your form at least 1 month before your planned retirement date. Railpen will only process your request once they’ve received your form and payments may be delayed if forms are returned late.

    5. Payments will be made as explained in ‘how your pension will be paid’ below. 

    Applying to take your pension later than your Normal Retirement Age if you’re no longer paying in

    If you’re no longer paying into your pension and if the rules of your Section allow it, you may be able to take your pension later than your normal retirement age (NRA). This could be up to age 75.

    If you’d like to take your pension later,  known as ‘deferring’, you should let us know between 3 months before, and 3 months after, your normal retirement age. ‘Late retirement factors’ (LRFs) will then be applied to your pension which would increase your yearly pension when you take it. This is because the Scheme will likely pay your pension over a shorter period of time.

    If you do not let us know you decision between 3 months before, and 3 months after, your normal retirement age, your pension will not have late retirement factors applied and will be payable from your NRA.

    If you’re eligible for late retirement, we will write to you and let you know. The letter, or email, will tell you more information about the impact of taking your pension later and how you can tell us if you want to take that option.

    You can let us know that you’d like to take your pension later than your NRA by following these steps: 

    1. Log in to your myRPS account and get an estimate of your benefits to consider your options.
    2. Complete an “Application to defer pension benefits” form. The email we will send to the inbox of your myRPS account will include a link to an online form you can complete. Or you can download a form and complete it. We would need to receive the form from you up to 3 months before, or 3 months after, your normal retirement date.
    3. If you do choose to take late retirement, you will need to contact us again when you are ready to take your pension. We will pay your pension from the latest date your Section allows if you have not taken it before then.

    How your pension will be paid

    As a member of a Defined Benefit (DB) pension, you’ll receive a pension every 4 weeks for the rest of your life, starting around your retirement date.

    If you’ve chosen a lump sum, this should be paid on, or shortly after, your retirement date.

    We will do everything we can to meet those payment dates, however there may be delays in some instances and payments may be delayed if forms are returned late during the application process. Knowing this, you may wish to consider delaying any large purchases, until the money is in your account.

    Around your retirement date, you will receive a retirement statement. This will outline:

    • the amount of your lump sum and date of payment (if applicable)
    • the amount of your regular pension payment and when it will be paid
    • the amount of Lifetime Allowance (LTA) used by your benefits
    A green purse and a brown wallet next to a pile of coins.

    Lifetime Allowance (LTA)

    The LTA is the maximum you can save into your pensions throughout your working life. This doesn’t include your State Pension. The LTA is due to be abolished in 2024. In the meantime, if the value of your benefits from the RPS, plus the value of benefits you have in any other pension arrangements, is more than the LTA when you retire, you may have to pay tax on the excess. Visit for more information on tax.  

    Keeping in touch so your pension can be paid

    To prevent any disruption to your pension payments, it’s important that you let us know about any changes to your details, such as:

    • bank account
    • address
    • personal circumstances

    You can update some of these details by logging in to your myRPS account. For anything else please get in touch with the Scheme administrator, Railpen.  

    It’s also important to update your nominations, as this could speed up the process of us paying any lump sum death benefits to your loved ones when you die. Log in to check and change your nominations today.

    Once you’ve started taking your pension, you'll be able to review your payslips by logging on to your myRPS account. 

    If you're already taking your pension visit the I’m already taking my pension area of the website for more information.

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