My circumstances have changed

Discover how changes to your circumstances could affect your pension pot.

When life changes 

Life is rarely straightforward, so it’s important to understand how a change in circumstances may affect your Personal Retirement Account.

A change to your circumstances could be:                                                                        

  • Taking family leave
  • Suffering from ill-health
  • Getting divorced or the dissolution of a civil partnership
  • Changing your working hours 
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We’ve included a summary of how these circumstances may affect your Personal Retirement Account (PRA) below. If you’re absent from work for any reason, you’ll need to check about continuing pension contributions with your employer. Please check your Member Guide to find out more. You can find the Guide by logging in to your myRPS account. It's under ‘My Library’.

Changes in circumstances that may affect your pension pot/PRA

If you’re on family leave, for example following the arrival of a child, then you may get one of these types of pay:

  • Maternity pay
  • Paternity pay and additional paternity pay
  • Family pay
  • Adoption leave pay 

If you are getting one of those types of pay, then the amount you pay into your Personal Retirement Account (PRA) will be based on that and not on your normal wages. Your employer will continue to pay in their contributions based on your normal pay. The options that you have, when you decide to take your pot are not affected. 

If you get no pay during family leave then your payments into your PRA will be paused. Your employer may choose to continue to pay these on your behalf, however you would need to pay your employer back once you return to work. You would then also restart your normal payments. Please speak to your employer for more details. 

If you need to take long-term sick leave, please speak to your employer about how this will affect your Personal Retirement Account (PRA) and whether your contributions can be paused.

If you need to stop work completely due to ill-health, you may be able to start taking your PRA straight away, even if you haven’t reached your Normal Minimum Pension Age (which is age 55, or 57 from 2028 unless you have a Protected Pension Age). 

If you stop work due to ill-health, you may not be able to take your PRA automatically as you must meet the criteria outlined in the Scheme rules. They define ill health as ‘a permanent physical or mental incapacity which prevents you from following your normal occupation or seriously impairs your earning capacity’.

If you suffer from a serious illness and your life expectancy is less than 12 months, you may be able to take all your pension pot as a lump sum. Please get in touch with the Scheme administrator, Railpen, for more information.

You can find out more about taking your pension early due to ill-health in your Member Guide, which is available when you  log in to your myRPS account.

If you’re going through a divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, your Personal Retirement Account is likely to be taken into account along with your other assets when financial settlements are worked out.

A court order can be made to transfer part of the value of your Personal Retirement Account during the divorce or dissolution proceedings. If this is the case, your PRA will reduce to provide benefits for your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner.

Log in and check your Member Guide for information on divorce and dissolution.

If your working hours change, it’s likely your pay will too. That means the amount you pay into your Personal Retirement Account (PRA) may also change. The amount is worked out using your full-time rate of Pensionable Pay for your job but is reduced for the hours you work.   

If you go part-time then you will still have the same options as your full-time colleagues. However, the amount you pay in will be based on the part-time hours you work. 

If you’re leaving work entirely, your active membership of the Scheme will end automatically. This means you will no longer be paying into the IWDC Section. If you are no longer paying into the IWDC Section, your pot will remain invested and you will become a preserved member. Visit the leaving the Scheme and opting out page for more information.  

If you’re part of a redundancy or voluntary severance exercise, you can find more details on what that means for you on the severance and redundancy page.

Let us know if your details change

It’s important to update your membership details regularly if things change, for example, if you move house, so you can be kept up to date with your pension. You can check and change your details when you log in to your myRPS account.    

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