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Directional Body Newsletters – Quarter 2 – 2023/2024

Please note this newsletter is provided to payroll admins/finance managers responsible for administering the pension scheme rules to the practice
staff within directional employments.

It is intended to advise and remind employers of procedures for this process and should not be given to the staff themselves.

The HSC Pension Service will distribute a relevant member newsletter that should be given to staff.

This newsletter contains information about :

  • Annual Benefit Statements for Directional Staff (ABS23)
  • Keeping HSC Pension Service Updated
  • Pensionable Pay & Contributions
  • Contacting Us
  • Focus On
  • HSC Pension GP Admin Workshops
  • Member Details
  • Contact Us

This newsletter is also available in a printable/downloadable format here.

  • Annual Benefit Statements for Directional Staff (ABS23)

    Where the GP55A 22/23 has been received and verified as correct, the information has now been uploaded to individual staff records and Annual Benefit Statements (ABS), for each active scheme member have been produced.

    Where we have Identified a member as having no access to Member Self-Service due to working in an outside organisation, the Annual Statements for 2023 have been posted and will have been received.

    Directional Body staff included on GP55As where the GP55A has been received after the regulatory deadline of the 12th May 2023, or where an outstanding query on an earlier submission has been raised but remains unanswered, are not guaranteed to have an Annual Benefit Statement produced as part of our ABS23 process for active scheme members. HSC Pension Service staff will refer any queries from these members back to their employer. Subsequent production of the ABS23 is therefore likely to be delayed.

  • Keeping HSC Pension Service Updated

    Please ensure HSC Pension Service are being informed of any changes to Employer contacts, including change of contact email or contact number so we can keep our records up to date.

    If you are new to Pension administration and submit returns on behalf of an Employer, please complete the authorised signature form available here and return to

    A request was made in the last few weeks that all practices submit a current authorised signature form. If you have not already done so, please do now without delay.

  • Pensionable Pay & Contributions

    Can you please ensure persons responsible for the practice payroll are fully aware of rules governing pensionable pay and contributions. Extensive information can be found at:

    Section 5: Pensionable Pay and Contributions – HSC Pension Service (

    Note that the most up to date contribution tiers are currently only available on the employer technical update newsletters. The tiers will be updated on the specific sections of the website in the future.

  • Contacting Us

    Whilst our phone lines are open daily our preferred method of communication is by email. Email queries can be logged to individual pension records and any work progressed through the team workflow. This ensures that the work is completed by the appropriate team member and responded to within an acceptable time scale.

    A simple general query may be answered quicker than a more complex query, so we respectfully request that you allow us time to reply to your queries before contacting us again.

    Please include the NI number or practice identifier code in any communication so that we can access the correct record.

    Any queries from your members should be directed to and not directly to a specific member of staff.

  • Focus On - ill Health Retirement

    Current active members who have at least 2 years membership, and become permanently incapable of doing their present job because of ill health may be able to receive a pension.

    This provides you, as an employer, with an alternative option to dismissal.

    If a current member thinks ill health retirement applies to them, they should complete form AW33. But they must be leaving work because of permanent ill health. If dismissed for any other reason they cannot qualify for an ill health pension.

    To qualify for ill health retirement benefits a member must:

    • retire from pensionable employment because of illness or injury, and
    • be permanently incapable of efficiently carrying out the duties of their employment because of illness or injury – tier 1 pension,


    • be permanently incapable of engaging in regular employment of like duration
      because of the illness or injury – tier 2 pension.

    Tier 1 pension

    If the member is assessed as being unable to carry out the duties of their own employment they will be entitled to the early payment of the retirement benefits they have earned to date without any reduction.

    Tier 2 pension

    If the member is assessed as being unable to do regular employment of like duration they will be entitled to the retirement benefits they have earned to date in addition to an enhancement on their;

    • CARE scheme benefits based on 50 % of their prospective membership up to reaching the scheme’s normal benefit age.

    Our medical advisers, in every case, will assess the medical evidence and advise
    whether the applicant is permanently incapable of either carrying out their present HSC duties or doing any regular work. If this is confirmed and we are satisfied they meet the rules for ill health retirement, we will pay a pension.

    The ill health retirement application contains more information for the member and can be found here: AW33

    The ill health retirement information found here contains more details about the process and examples .

    It also provides details about what happens if the member returns to work and what happens if the member is given a terminal diagnosis and it not expected to live longer than 12 months.

    Practice managers/payroll admins/HR representatives can contact our department via email to marked FAO GP admin team to enquire further about this process

  • HSC Pension GP Admin Workshops

    Over the summer, the GP team conducted 5 online pension admin workshops, designed to provide guidance for new practice administrators and a refresher for experienced administrative staff.

    Numerous topics were covered across the 5 sections and feedback was positive.

    The are currently no further online sessions planned. However, should the need arise, our team can arrange further sessions in the future.

    We are still attending in person workshops arranged by local practice managers groups. Should your local group have a meeting planned in the coming months, and would like our team to attend to provide guidance on administering the scheme, please email your request to

    Your email should contain details of when and where the meeting is, how many attendees you expect there to be, and topics the group would like covered

  • Member Details

    Employers need to ensure they are updating the HSC Pension Service of any changes to members personal details on a regular basis.

    We use the GP55a year end information to ensure that all information is up to date and accurate on our system.

    It is therefore very important that the information entered into your GP55a and any other forms is accurate, up to date and relating to the member stated.

    Please ensure that before you submit any information that it is double checked so that no errors occur.

  • Contact Us

    By writing to us at:-
    HSC Pension Service
    Waterside House
    75 Duke Street
    BT47 6FP
    Via e- mail at:-
    By Telephone: 028 7131 9111 Option 3
    10.00 am to 12.00pm / 2.00 pm to 4.00pm – Monday to Thursday
    10.00 am to 12.00pm – Friday

    Find us on Twitter – @hscpensions
    Find us on Facebook – HSC Pension Service

    If you have any suggestions for the newsletter or would like a particular topic covered in future publications please do not hesitate in contacting us by emailing: