CAN I JOIN THE LGPS?
The LGPS is available to all councillors are offered membership of the Scheme under the council’s scheme of allowances and who are under age 75.
Those who are offered membership are termed eligible councillors. If you have been offered membership of the Scheme, it will be for you to decide whether or not to opt to join. If you make an election to do so you will become a member of the LGPS from the beginning of the first pay period following the receipt of your option.
How do I ensure that I have become a member of the LGPS?
To secure your entitlement to the Scheme benefits it is important that you complete and return the Form LGP2ac - COUNCILLOR'S APPLICATION TO JOIN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME if you wish to opt into membership of the Scheme.
On receipt of your form, relevant records will be set up and an official notification of your membership of the Scheme will be sent to you. In addition, you should check your allowance payments to ensure that pension contributions are being deducted.
Can I join the LGPS if I already have a personal pension or stakeholder pension scheme?
If you currently contribute to a personal pension plan or stakeholder pension scheme and decide to join the LGPS, you can, if you wish, still continue to make your own contributions to the personal pension or stakeholder pension scheme from your earnings as a councillor.
You can, if you wish, pay up to 100% of your taxable earnings in any one tax year (or £3600 if greater) into any number of pension arrangements of your choice and be eligible for tax relief on those contributions. However, unless you have enhanced protection, there will be a tax charge if in any year, other than the year in which all your pension benefits have become payable, the value of your pension savings increases by more than the Annual Allowance.
There will also be a tax charge if, when you draw your benefits, the value of all your pension savings exceeds the Lifetime Allowance (or, if you have opted for it, the primary lifetime allowance protection or enhanced protection). Tax will be payable on any excess amount. Most scheme members’ pension savings will be significantly less than the lifetime and annual allowances.
From 22 April 2009 a Special Annual Allowance charge was introduced for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011. Most scheme members will not be affected by this. The Lifetime, Annual and Special Annual Allowances cover any pension benefits you may have in all tax-registered pension arrangements – not just the LGPS - but excludes the State Pension.
I'm already receiving an LGPS pension – will it be affected if I join again?
If you become a councillor where your council offers you membership of the LGPS, you must tell the Fund about your new position, regardless of whether you join the Scheme in your new position or not. We will then check to see whether the pension they are paying should be reduced.