Ways to take my pension

Discover the different ways you can take your DB pension. and choose what's right for you.

Take part lump sum/part pension

You can take some of your benefits as a cash lump sum and the rest as regular pension payments.

Generally, you may be able to take up to 25% (but no more than £268,275) as a tax-free cash lump sum.

There may be other rules about the exact amount you can take as a lump sum depending on the rules of the specific section of the Scheme you’re a member of. You can find out more in your Member Guide.

Get your Member Guide by logging in to your myRPS account. You'll find it under 'My Library.'

Otherwise, it’s up to you decide how much of each you take. 

Graphic showing that you can either take a larger lump sum and less pension OR a smaller lump sum and more pension

Taking it all as pension

You may be able to take all of your benefits as regular pension payments, and none as a lump sum.

This is done by converting any lump sum entitlement into additional pension.

It may be restricted if you have paid any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to BRASS and by the rules of the particular section of the Scheme you’re paying into. You can find out more in your Member Guide.

Get your Member Guide by logging in to your myRPS account. You'll find it under 'My Library'.

Taking it all as a cash lump sum

This is only possible in very limited circumstances. 

You may be able to take it all as a cash lump sum if:

  • you have a small pension, usually no more than £30,000. In this case you may be able to cash it in under what are called 'trivial commutation' rules
  • you're taking your pension as a lump sum on the grounds of serious ill health
  • you get a short service leaver refund

It will also depend on the rules of your specific Section. You can find out more in your Member Guide.

Get your Member Guide by logging in to your myRPS account. You'll find it under 'My Library'.

Transferring all your benefits to an alternative pension provider

It may be possible to transfer your (DB) pension to another provider.

Visit the transferring my pension page for more information. 

If you are considering transferring your pension then you may benefit from financial advice.

You might have to get advice by law, if the value of your DB benefits is more than £30,000 and you are looking to transfer to a Defined Contribution/Personal Pension Arrangement.

Please keep in mind that both Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) believe that it will be in most people’s best interests to keep their defined benefit pension.

A white icon of multiple guides

Finding a financial advisor

Visit the guidance and advice page for more information on how to find a financial advisor. 

Extra pension for your dependants 

As a DB member of the Scheme, a pension will be paid to your eligible dependants, such as a spouse, when you die. 

You could decide to give up part of your own pension entitlement in order to give extra pension to these dependants. 

In doing so:

  • you give up part of your pension – exactly how much will depend on your age and sex, as well as those of your dependant
  • your named dependant will get a percentage of your normal pension when you die

However, if your named dependant dies before you do then the money you've given up will be lost. It will not go back into your pension. And you cannot change your named dependant once this option has been taken.

Visit the my pension when I die page to read more about death benefits.

The level pension option

You may want to take your RPS pension before you can claim your State Pension.

With the level pension option you get more pension from the RPS before your State Pension age and then less pension from the RPS after your State Pension age.  Check your State Pension age on the government website.

This aims to smooth or level out your income throughout your retirement as shown in the diagram. 

Diagram showing how pension levelling works, with levelling giving you a higher Scheme pension before  State Pension age and a higher one afterwards.

The impact of Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

There are two Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) arrangements within the Scheme – BRASS and AVC Extra.

If you’ve paid into either of these then it may affect you when you take your pension.  

For example, most sections of the Scheme require you to take a value equal to your BRASS pot as a cash lump sum when you take your pension. 

A bag with a pound sign on the front and a heart next to it
Taking BRASS and AVC Extra

Find out more about BRASS and AVC Extra in the saving more area of this website, particularly on the pages for taking my BRASS account and taking my AVC Extra account.

How to choose the best option for you

Here are a few resources that might help you decide what options are right for you.
Online tools

A range of planning tools are available within your myRPS account to help you consider your options.

For DB members this includes a Pension Planner, showing what your pension might be worth when you retire and the different ways you can choose to use that money. 

Log in to try the tools today.

Read as You Need guide

Check the Read as You Need guide on retirement options for more detailed information.

Help and advice

If you’re unsure which option will be best for you, you may want to get expert help. 

Visit the guidance and advice page to find out how to get help.  

Retirement options video

You can see a summary of your options in this short video.

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