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Pensioner Newsletter – December 2023

This newsletter is for all Pensioners of the HSC Pension Schemes and contains important information about your HSC Pension.

A downloadable/printable version of this newsletter can be accessed here.

This newsletter contains information on the following:

  • Pension Payment Dates
  • Member Self Service
  • Keeping us Informed
  • HSC Pension Service Pensioner Survey
  • Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Death Gratuity Information
  • McCloud Remedy
  • Pension FAQs
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Scams
  • Blue Light Card
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Online Communications
  • SMS Messaging Service
  • Health & Social Care Retirement Fellowship
  • Useful Contact Information
  • Christmas Quiz
  • Christmas Holiday Arrangements
  • Contact Details
  • Pension Payment Dates

    You will receive your pension on the last banking day of each month, except for December when we will pay your pension before Christmas.

    Please see below the Payment Dates up until
    November 2024. These are also updated on our website by clicking here.

    21/12/2023 Thursday
    31/01/2024 Wednesday
    29/02/2024 Thursday
    29/03/2024 Friday
    30/04/2024 Tuesday
    31/05/2024 Friday
    28/06/2024 Friday
    31/07/2024 Wednesday
    30/08/2024 Friday
    30/09/2024 Monday
    31/10/2024 Thursday
    29/11/2024 Friday


  • Member Self Service

    Member Self Service will be available
    soon for all Pensioners. This will allow you to view and print your Payslips, updates when available will be published on our website.

  • Keeping us Informed
    Changes of address/payment destinations

    If you change your address, bank or building
    society details please tell us straight away. If
    you get more than one pension from HSC
    Pension Service, please tell us the reference
    number of all pensions to which the change

    If we lose contact with you it may be necessary to suspend your pension.

    Need to change your bank account?

    If you want to change where your pension is paid to we need to receive new bank details in writing with a valid signature. Please allow us enough time to make the change and let us know two weeks before your next pay day so we don’t try to make a payment to your old account. Please do not close your old account until you receive confirmation from our team that your new details have been updated.

    Dependants’ Allowance

    If you are in receipt of a child allowance, these are normally paid up to age 23. Please see Dependant Allowances for more information.

    Failure to notify us of any changes in circumstances, which leads to a dependants pension being payable when entitlement has been ceased, will be recoverable by HSC Pension Service.

    Pensioners living abroad

    We write to our overseas pensioners every
    year asking them to complete and return a
    Declaration of Entitlement form. Failure to return this form may result in suspension of your pension.

    Survivor Benefits – Re-marriage, forming a civil partnership or co- habiting

    If you receive HSC survivor benefits following the death of a scheme member who retired or whose service ceased before 1st April 2008 and you decide to remarry, form a civil partnership or live with another person as life partners, please let us know as it may affect your pension.

    If you were actively contributing to the Scheme on or after April 2008, you have the option of nominating a cohabiting partner to receive a pension when you die. If you wish to nominate your partner to receive a survivor pension after your death, please complete a partner nomination form PN1, which can be downloaded from our Scheme Forms section.

    Your Pension

    Please tell your next of kin or any other
    representative that, in the unfortunate event of your death, they must inform HSC Pension Service without delay.
    The best way to inform us of the death of a
    pensioner is to telephone 02871319111-
    Option 2. This allows us to get any survivors’ benefits processed and paid as soon as possible and ensure that we avoid overpaying the deceased’s pension.

    Thinking on Returning to Work? – Coronavirus Act and extension of temporary suspensions

    From 25 March 2020, the UK government’s emergency legislation suspended some regulations to allow retired HSC members to return to work.

    It also allowed retired members who have already returned to work to increase their
    commitments if needed, without affecting their pension benefits. These temporary changes to legislation are still in place and mean:

    • The 16 hours per week rule is omitted. There is no requirement for retiree’s returning to HSC Employment to restrict their hours of work to 16 per week in the first month after retirement. The suspension/omission of the 16 hour rule has been extended to 31st March 2024.
    • The limit on earnings (commonly referred to as abatement) normally imposed on Special Class Nursing Staff or Mental Health Officers on return to HSC Employment after retirement is suspended. This suspension has been extended to March 2025 due to on going concerns regarding capacity

    If you have any queries you can contact us at

  • HSC Pension Service Pensioner Survey

    The HSC Pension Service have developed a survey aimed at those who were members of the HSC Pension Scheme and have accessed the service within the last year to drawdown their pension. This survey offers pensioners the opportunity to provide feedback on whether the HSC
    Pension Service is providing the right level of support. The results will be used to analyse where we are getting things right and areas in which we can improve on.

    We are kindly asking if you could take some time to complete this short survey before the 5th January 2024 if possible. There are no right or wrong answers. We are just interested in your experience and your views.

    Please click the link below to access the survey: Pensioner Survey

    We greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey. Your feedback matters!

  • Lasting Power of Attorney

    There may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs, you will need someone to do this for you. You can formally appoint a friend, relative or professional to hold a Power of Attorney that will allow them to act on your behalf.

    What is a Power of Attorney?

    A Power of Attorney is a legal document giving some- one else the authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf. It enables you to choose a person/ or people (called an attorney) to deal with your property and affairs. A Power of Attorney ceases when you become unable of managing your affairs, but an Enduring Power of Attorney will continue. It is
    important to remember that mental incapacity can happen to anyone at any time, for example – by accident or through illness.

    To become effective, all Enduring Powers of Attorney need to be registered with the High Court (Office of Care and Protection) but registration is not required until the point where your attorney believes you are no longer capable of managing your affairs. HSC Pension Service cannot accept amendments from any other persons on behalf of a member unless the person has been appointed Power of Attorney Status. The official court document provided by the Office of Care and Protection must be presented to HSC Pension Service to allow your Power of Attorney to deal with your pension affairs on your behalf.

    Who can I contact to make further enquiries?

    Any solicitor can provide advice and the
    Office of Care and Protection can give general guidance. Enquiries can be made in person, by telephone or by post to:

    The Office of Care and Protection Room 2.2A,
    Second Floor Royal Courts of Justice
    Chichester Street
    BT1 3JF.

  • Death Gratuity

    A Death Gratuity is a lump sum which may be paid when you die. Whether a Death Gratuity can be paid, and how much it may be, depends on how much retirement benefit you had from the Scheme up to the date of your death.

    A death gratuity is not normally included in an Inheritance Tax assessment if you are married or have a registered civil partner. If you are single a death gratuity paid to a nominated person or persons may be included in an Inheritance Tax assessment. A death gratuity paid into a deceased person’s estate will normally be included in any Inheritance Tax assessment. If you nominate a person or persons they should check their own tax position with HMRC.

    However, if the payment of the death lump sum partly or wholly causes you to exceed HMRC’s lifetime allowance (LTA), see Part 10, then the excess payment above the LTA will be subject to a lifetime allowance charge (LTAC).

    This death gratuity can be treated for lifetime allowance purposes in one of two ways. These are:
    • a ‘Defined Benefits Lump Sum Death Benefit’. In this case all the lump sum paid in these circumstances in excess of the LTA will be taxed at 55%. As most members will not exceed the LTA, death gratuities will be treated on this basis, unless you notify us differently in writing that you wish the death gratuity to be treated as a Pension Protection Lump Sum Death Benefit;

    • a ‘Pension Protection Lump Sum Death Benefit’. In this case all the lump sum paid will be taxed at 35% regardless of whether you actually exceed the LTA. If your benefits are already over or close to the LTA then you should consider this option. Before you take this decision you should take appropriate financial advice.

    If you decide to have your potential death gratuity paid as a ‘Pension Protection Lump Sum Death Benefit’, then you must write to HSC Pensions confirming your decision. You can take this option at any time prior to your death.

    Irrespective of which of the two ways you decide to treat your death gratuity, if a death gratuity becomes payable then we will inform your legal personal representative (LPR) of the amount and percentage of the standard LTA represented by the death gratuity within three months of the final payment. Your LPR is responsible for notifying this figure to HMRC. The beneficiary of the death gratuity is legally responsible for paying any LTAC that may become due. If you are legally married, have formed a civil partnership, or have nominated a qualifying partner your surviving spouse or partner will automatically get the lump sum unless you have nominated someone else on form DG3. You can get this form from our website here or you can ask your employer to download one for you. The lump sum will then be paid to your nominees.

    If you are single, divorced or have terminated a civil partnership, the lump sum will automatically be paid to your estate unless you have a nominated qualifying partner or nominated someone on form DG3.

    If you later decide to change your nominee, you can tell us on a new form DG3. A new form DG3 replaces any earlier form DG3. If you have nominated a person (or persons) or organisation to receive the lump sum then it will be paid automatically to this nominee, without waiting for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. If your Scheme membership extended to or beyond 1st April 2008 then you can change your instructions and complete a new DG3 at any time.

    If your Scheme membership ended before 1 April 2008 then you can cancel an earlier nomination you made on form DG1, or cancel a request not to pay your legal spouse or civil partner, but you cannot make a new nomination unless you rejoin the Scheme.

    HMRC have imposed a two year time limit upon making these payments. If the Death Gratuity is not paid within two years of the Scheme being notified, then the payment will become unauthorised and will be subject to a tax charge of 40%. It is very important that you keep your legal personal representative up to date with your circumstances.

  • McCloud Remedy

    The 1st of April has passed and it brought with it the first stage of the implementation of the McCloud Remedy, where all active members of the HSC Pension Scheme are now accruing benefits in the 2015 Reformed Scheme.

    HSC Pension Service are understandably experiencing an increase in queries relating to the McCloud Remedy and how it might affect you as members. You may wish to consider catching up on the latest information available on the McCloud Remedy Page of the HSC Pension Scheme website by clicking here.

    The page which is located in the Quick Links section of the home page of the HSC Pension Scheme website includes FAQ’s, a Decision Tree on who is affected by the Remedy, Factsheet, Myth Buster and Timelines which might find useful.

  • Pension FAQs

    Is my pension taxable?

    All incomes are subject to tax. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) informs HSC Pension Service of your tax code and tells us how much tax to deduct. If you have any queries on your tax code you should contact the HMRC directly. You will need to quote your national insurance number and PAYE reference of 916/G78000. HSC Pension Service does not hold any information on the reason why a tax code has changed and does not have the ability to change a tax code without authorisation directly from HMRC.

    Payslips and P60’s

    You will receive a payslip when you first retire and then in May of each year which will show you any changes in tax that you are paying. You will then only be sent a payslip during the year if your net pension changes by more than £5 from the previous month.


    Your P60 will be posted to you in April/May each year. This is a tax document which will state your final tax code and give details of the pension that we paid to you and any tax that was deducted.

    Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

    ESA may request information pertaining to your pension benefits from the HSC Pension Service. The HSC Pension Service and ESA are currently liaising to implement a more efficient and effective service for the notification of pension benefits.

    ESA will now contact our organisation directly and in order to avoid any duplication of work we ask that pensioners do not forward ESA requests onto the HSC Pension Service.

  • Pension Scams

    Pension Scams – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

    You may have seen stories in the press about an increase in pension scams. We don’t want you to worry though, as these scams are mainly targeted at people who haven’t taken their pension yet.

    The scams often see scheme members approached by unscrupulous companies, promising instant cash sums and/or early access to their pension if they transfer their savings.

    There is more information available at or
    telephone 0800 028 1881.

    As your pension is already in payment it is very unlikely you would be targeted by one of these companies. However, it is always wise to remain vigilant so we have included some general advice on pension scams.

    These may sound obvious, but here are some practical tips to follow:

    • Don’t give your personal or bank details to anyone, unless you have checked them out.
    • Tell all your friends and family if you discover a scam.
    • Take care with all your paperwork and shred anything with your personal details on it.

    For further advice you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 04 05 06 or visit

    If you think you are being targeted by a pension scam please contact Action Fraud
    on 0300 123 2040 or

  • Blue Light Card

    Retired HSC staff can now access savings with Blue Light Card.

    Blue Light Card, the UK’s number one discount service for emergency services, NHS and social care workers, is now giving retired HSC staff the opportunity to become members.

    With more than 15,000 partner retailers in its portfolio, retired HSC staff can now access exclusive discounts across restaurants, holidays, days out and online and in-store retailers via Blue Light Card.

    To sign up you’ll need a P60 showing a HSC pension is required as a valid
    form of ID. Register online at and select ‘Retired NHS’ in the trust/
    division drop down menu to get started.

  • Complaints Procedure

    We make every effort to get things right, however, occasionally things go wrong and it is a cause of great concern to us when this happens. We deal with all complaints as quickly as possible and do our utmost to put things right. If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your complaint please see the Internal Dispute Guidance notes on our website.

  • Online Communications

    We want to be more environmentally friendly, reduce costs and continue to meet member demand, so we are encouraging you to register your email address with us. We can then send you communications such as this annual newsletter and general Scheme information by email.

    You can register for email communications by sending written confirmation of your email address to HSC Pension Service at the address overleaf. Personalised information such as your yearly P60 will continue to be posted to your home address.

  • SMS Text Messaging Service

    In order to improve communication to our pensioners, HSC Pension Service has a
    text messaging service.

    What do you get as a member?

    This service will provide our pensioners with new and important updates on information relating to their pension.

    Alongside this service, HSC Pension Service will in future, release all Newsletters to our website with a prompt text to inform you when it’s available.

    Join Now!

    If you wish to avail of this key service, text HSCPENSIONS to 67300

    Note: This initial text message will incur a one off charge based on your network operator’s standard text message rate. However, all subsequent text messages sent from HSC Pension Service will be free of change.

    Already a member, but want to unsubscribe?

    To end your HSC Pension Service text alerts membership text STOPHSCPENSIONS to 67300

    Information is held securely and is non-identifiable. Contact us if you have a
    query regarding this service.

  • Retired or about to retire?

    If you are retired or about to retire how about joining the HSC Retirement Fellowship?

    How to Join?

    Membership is open to all grades of staff in the Health and Social Care Services including those who are not in receipt of a Health Service Pension and if you are interested in becoming a member, or would like some more information about the Organisation, please contact your Human Resources Department or direct to the Fellowship’s Regional Officer, Mrs. Janet Hassard. Tel: 028 9066 4000

    The annual cost of membership is £12.00, which can be paid by a monthly deduction of £1.00 from your Health Service Pension or by a single annual payment of £12.00 by cheque or postal order made payable to the HSC Retirement Fellowship (NI) at the address shown below. It is hoped that all retiring staff will join our ranks.


    Currently there are 10 Branches, which normally meet from Sept to June:

    Armagh & Craigavon
    Belfast City Hospital
    East Antrim
    North Down
    Sperrin Lakeland

    Each branch is responsible for organising
    its own programme of activities:

    • theatre outings
    • day visits, weekend trips, holidays etc.
    • talks by various speakers on a wide range of topics.

    Members are also encouraged to become
    volunteers in their local hospital or in local or national voluntary organisation.

    There are 10 branches (with a total membership of over 1200) in Northern Ireland and retired Health and Social Care staff are relishing their new found ‘freedom`, enabling them to pursue and develop new and varied interests and pastimes. You will make new friends and reconnect with former colleagues sharing activities and outings.

    The Fellowship

    When you become a member, you not only unlock the door to a new life of your choice but you also share in the active involvement of a caring organisation – a relationship that allows you to continue your vocation to care for those in need.

    The more mature we become, the more we realise and appreciate the true value of friends, of keeping in touch with former colleagues and of the enjoyment we get when sharing interests and activities with old and new friends. The Fellowship gives you these opportunities.


    The NHS Fellowship was launched in Gloucestershire in April 1978 and started here in 1982 through the efforts of the late Captain Willis Hawthorne, the first Chairman and later President of the NI Region.

    In 2012 it was decided to withdraw from the UK NHS Retirement Fellowship and set up our own organisation in Northern Ireland called ‘The Health and Social Care Retirement Fellowship (NI)’.

    We still, of course maintain close links with the Fellowship in Great Britain.

    The Link Newsletter

    The NHS Fellowship was launched in Gloucestershire in April 1978 and started here in 1982 through the efforts of the late Captain Willis Hawthorne, the first Chairman and later President of the NI Region.

    In 2012 it was decided to withdraw from the UK NHS Retirement Fellowship and set up our own organisation in Northern Ireland called ‘The Health and Social Care Retirement Fellowship (NI)’.

    We still, of course maintain close links with the Fellowship in Great Britain.
    We have our own magazine ‘The Link Newsletter” which is published twice a year and serves to keep members and HSC bodies informed of what’s happening in the Fellowship.

    The Aims of the Fellowship

    Briefly the aims of the Fellowship are:

    • to promote and look after the interests of retired and about to retire HSC staff.
    • to enable members to maintain old
      friends and to make new ones.
    • to be a focus for arranging social and cultural activities.
    • to assist members who might be having some financial difficulties through a Benevolent Fund.


    Tel: 028 9066 4000

  • Useful Information and Contact Numbers

    Pensions Advisory Service
    Free independent information and guidance on pensions.
    0800 011 3797

    The Money Advice Service
    Set up by Government providing unbiased free advice.
    Holborn Centre,
    120 Holborn,
    EC1N 2TD
    0800 138 7777

    Action Fraud
    Uk’s National Reporting Centre.
    0300 123 2040

    Pension Tracing Service
    Trace a personal or company pension scheme.
    0800 731 0193
    Find pension contact details – GOV.UK

    Pension Wise
    A free and impartial government service
    that helps you understand the options for
    your pension pot.
    0800 138 3944

  • Christmas Quiz Questions

    1. Which country first started the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree?

    2. Which popular Christmas beverage is also called ‘milk punch’?

    3. How many ghosts show up in A Christmas Carol?

    4. What Hollywood actor played six different roles in The Polar Express?

    5. Who invented the Christmas wreath?

    6. What are the traditional 12 days of Christmas?

    7. What is the most recorded Christmas song in history?

    8. When should Christmas decorations typically be taken down?

    9. According to the song, what do you deck the halls with?

    10.Which country first decorated Christmas trees?

  • Christmas Quiz Answers

    1. Germany.

    2. Eggnog.

    3. Four — the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and Jacob Marley.

    4. Tom Hanks.

    5. A German Lutheran pastor named Johann Hinrich Wichern.

    6. The Twelve Days of Christmas are the last six days of the old year (26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 December ) and the first six days of the New Year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 January).

    7. Silent Night.

    8. Twelfth Night is the night before Epiphany and is the night, tradition says, when Christmas decorations should be taken down.

    9. Boughs of holly.

    10.Riga, Latvia in 1510.

  • Christmas Holiday Arrangements

    Please note HSC Pension Service will be closed over the Christmas period on the following dates:

    25th December 2023
    26th December 2023
    27th December 2023
    1st January 2024

    HSC Pension Service would like to wish all our pensioners a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year.
  • Contact Us

    By writing to us at:-
    HSC Pension Service
    Waterside House
    75 Duke Street
    BT47 6FP
    Via e- mail at:-
    By Telephone: 02871319111
    10.00 am to 12.00pm / 2.00 pm to 4.00pm – Monday to Thursday
    10.00 am to 12.00pm – Friday

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