Our range of self-invested schemes offer members a wide choice payment options for their benefits, so they can phase their retirement income, to suit their circumstances.
Members can to take their benefits at any time from age 55, although in the case of serious ill health it may be possible to take benefits earlier.
It is important for members seek professional advice before taking benefits, as the choices they make will affect both their retirement income and the level of contributions they can make to a pension scheme in the future. Taking all or part of a fund to provide benefits is called crystallisation.
A member does not have to retire or stop work in order to take benefits from their scheme. Benefits can also be taken in stages, rather than as a single lump sum.
When a member takes benefits from their scheme, and again at age 75, the total value of their funds along with any other arrangements held will be tested against the current lifetime allowance. If the lifetime allowance is exceeded, an additional tax charge will apply unless the member has obtained pension protection.
Upon retirement, benefits can be taken as follows:
To release all, or part of your fund for immediate payment is known as an uncrystallised funds pension lump sum. This differs from flexi-access drawdown as the total amount released is taken at once. Twenty five percent of the uncrystallised funds pension lump sum is paid tax-free, with the rest treated as earned income and liable to income tax. Members can take as many Uncrystallised Fund Pension Lump Sums from their uncrystallised funds as they wish.
A money purchase annual Allowance test is triggered when benefits are taken in this way. An uncrystallised funds pension lump sum is not available to members with tax-free lump sum protection, or rights to a lump sum of more or less than exactly 25%.
A pension taken from a member’s crystallised fund will be treated as earned income and is therefore liable to income tax.
Members may draw an income using flexi-access drawdown. There is no restriction on the amount a member can take or the payment frequency. A money purchase annual allowance test is triggered following receipt of income from flexi-access drawdown.
A lifetime annuity is purchased from a life assurance company. The annuity must be payable up to the member’s death or the end of any guarantee period should the member die within the period.
The annuity may be level or incorporate annual increases. It may also allow for pensions to be paid to dependant’s after the death of the annuitant.
A short-term annuity is purchased from a life assurance company and is payable for a term of no more than five years.
Up to 5 April 2015, income could be taken from a pension fund as capped drawdown. Under capped drawdown, pension payments are limited and must be regularly reviewed to ensure they do not exceed the permitted maximum. If a member is already taking capped drawdown income they can continue to do so. Alternatively, members can convert capped drawdown funds into flexi-access drawdown, which means their income will not be subject to the capped limits and review requirements, although a money purchase annual allowance test will be triggered.