Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Pensioners Newsletter March 2024

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
  • Pension Increase
  • HMRC
  • Keeping us Informed
  • Re-joining the HSC Pension Scheme (Post-Retirement) – 16 Hour Rule
  • McCloud
  • Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Death Gratuity Information
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Pension Scams
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Online Communications
  • Blue Light Card
  • Health & Social Care Retirement Fellowship
  • Useful Contact Information
  • Easter Quiz
  • 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 our Pension Payment Dates up until
    November 2024 on our website by clicking here.

  • Member Self Service

    We are no longer issuing Pay Advices and P60’s, these will be available on the Member Self-Service Portal from the 1st April once you register.

    Please see here for more information on how to register.

  • Pension Increase

    Public service pensions which have been in payment for a year will be increased by 6.7% from 8th April 2024. Any pension which has been in payment for less than a year will be increased by a proportionate amount depending on the number of months it has been in payment.

  • HMRC

    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.

  • 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 applies.

    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 website.

    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.

  • Re-joining the HSC Pension Scheme (post retirement)

    Under the current regulations of the HSC Pension Scheme, members who take their 1995 Section benefits are not permitted to build up further pension in the 2015 Scheme if they return to work in the HSC.

    The Health and Personal Social Services (Superannuation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 have now been amended to allow members who take their 1995 Section benefits to continue to build up pension in the 2015 Scheme, if they wish. This may help some retired staff to bridge the gap between claiming their HSC pension benefits and receiving their State Pension.

    This regulation amendment will take effect from 01 April 2024.

    16 Hour Rule

    Under the current 1995 Regulations, members who take their pension benefits and then return to work can only work a maximum of 16 hours per week in their first month back without impacting their pension (this is currently suspended until 31 March 2024).

    This rule, which is currently suspended is being permanently removed from 01 April 2024, allowing staff to maximise the hours they contribute, if they wish, without impacting their pension after they claim their 1995 Section benefits.

    Members who fully retire and return to HSC employment must still adhere to the 24-hour break rule.

  • Rollback to Legacy Scheme (McCloud)

    HSC Pension Service (HSCPS) have made progress in implementing the first stage of the McCloud Remedy by rolling affected members back into their legacy scheme i.e. 1995/2008 up until 31st March 2022. All active members will be moved to the 2015 CARE Scheme from 1st April 2022.

    As a result, all pension calculations processed on or after 1st April 2024 will have benefits up to 31st March 2022 calculated under their legacy scheme i.e. 1995/2008.

    All benefits accrued from 1st April 2022 onwards will be calculated under the 2015 CARE Scheme. HSCPS will contact retirees at a later date with personalised information to assist in making their choice regarding their benefits for the remedy period (01/04/2015 – 31/03/2022).

    If a member chooses to keep their existing benefits, no changes will be needed. If a member chooses to receive different pension benefits for the remedy period, adjustments will be made to their pension payments accordingly. Any changes will be backdated to the date of retirement.

  • 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, Belfast, 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 1 April 2008 then you can change your instructions and complete a new form 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.

  • 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

    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
  • 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.

  • 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.