Regulation 30(6) of the LGPS Regulations 2013 allows a scheme member who has attained the age 55 to draw all or part of their retirement benefits even though they have not retired providing:
i. The employer consents;
ii. There has been a reduction in hours, or
iii. There has been a reduction in grade.
The wording of the regulation is as follows:
Regulation 30(6) - An active member who has attained the age of 55 or over who reduces working hours or grade of an employment may, with the Scheme employer's consent, elect to receive immediate payment of all or part of the retirement pension to which that member would be entitled in respect of that employment if that member were not an employee in local government service on the date of the reduction in hours or grade, adjusted by the amount shown as appropriate in actuarial guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
The Scheme employer may also consider whether, in addition to the benefits the member may have accrued prior to 1 April 2008 (which the member must draw), to permit the member to choose to draw all, part or none of the pension benefits they built up after 31 March 2008 and before 1 April 2014 and all, part or none of the pension benefits they built up after 1 April 2014 - this is known as 'partial' flexible retirement.
Benefits taken under the flexible retirement provisions will be subject to reduction if drawn earlier than the member's earliest retirement age. However, the employer can choose to waive all or part of the reduction providing they pay the extra strain costs arising to the Pension Fund.
Please ensure you have requested estimated flexible retirement figures (completing form EST3) from the pensions team in all cases. Please also be aware that where a member is granted flexible retirement with reduction there may still be a cost to the employer. This is due to protections in place under the '85-year rule'. The resulting reduction to the member's pension may not be enough to cover the strain cost to the pension fund for releasing the pension early. Therefore a cost may be required to be paid by the employer.
The situation can be complicated so if you have any questions relating to flexible retirement please do contact the pensions team on 01628 796 668.