You can start receiving your BTPS pension at anytime on or after your 55th birthday (if you joined the Scheme before 6 April 2006 you may be able to start taking it as early as age 50). UK legislation dictates that it must be taken before you turn 75.
You can still be working (even for BT with Company agreement) and receive your BTPS pension.
You will have the option to exchange some of your BTPS pension for a one-off lump sum. This lump sum is normally tax-free. You will be provided details of this option as part of the retirement illustration provided to you at the time.
You can also consider transferring the value of your BTPS pension to another approved arrangement. This may provide you with additional options, known as ‘Pension Freedoms’.
What are Pension Freedoms?
In April 2015, the Government introduced greater flexibility for individuals when accessing certain types of pension savings. You cannot access these additional options directly from the BT Pension Scheme, however you can consider transferring the value of your BTPS pension to another approved arrangement which can be used to access ‘Pension Freedoms’. The additional options include:
- Taking a greater proportion, or in fact all, of your pension savings as cash sum;
- Drawing a number of cash sums from your pension savings, whilst leaving the remainder invested to access later; or
- Purchase an annuity (an insurance policy which provides a guaranteed income).
Whilst these alternative options may be appropriate to some individuals, this is a big decision and so the Trustee recommends that you take the appropriate financial advice before deciding to transfer your BTPS pension. In fact, if the value of your BTPS benefits is greater than £30,000 legislation requires you must demonstrate you have received the appropriate advice before any payment can be made. One downside to the introduction of these flexibilities is that it has led to an increase in the fraudulent activities of Pension Scammers. Please see our article ‘Pension Scams – how to spot one’.
If you do not have a financial adviser, you can find details of ones in your area at www.unbiased.co.uk