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Joining the NHS Pension Scheme

Q: I have just accepted a job at a GP practice and understand I can join the NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS). I am due to retire in July 2016, and wonder if it will be worthwhile joining the scheme to make just four years of pension contributions? It hardly seems worthwhile.

A: Without knowing more about your personal circumstances it is impossible for me to give specific advice as to whether you should join the NHSPS.

In general terms, I would mention that the guaranteed benefits provided by the NHSPS are valuable and attractive when compared with less certain investment-backed retirement provision, such as personal pension plans, self-invested pension plans (SIPPs) and so on.

In fact the NHSPS is recognised as being one of the best pension schemes around. The NHSPS also provides life assurance cover and dependents' benefits and it will provide benefits in the event of the member becoming unable to work due to long-term ill health or disability.

It is also worth keeping in mind that - subject to not exceeding the pensions annual allowance for contributions and the lifetime allowance for the fund you accrue - you will benefit from tax relief on your pension contributions at your highest rate of tax.

Kevin Quinn

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