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Information and advice.

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS)

The scheme is open to new and current employees of Dumfries and Galloway Council and certain employers who are admitted to the scheme.


Annual Benefits Statement 2021


Death Grant & Nominations

This is a tax free lump sum payable to a nominated individual upon your death and it is equal to three times your actual pensionable pay.

Service Delivery Statement

In 2020 the Pensions Section, like many others, were required to work from home during the pandemic. As restrictions ease, home working will continue with limited time spent in the office. New ways of working and improved use of technology are being developed to improve our service and communications. In the meantime, please continue to send enquiries to Pensions@dumgal.gov.uk or call 01387 273855 where, if all lines are busy, you can leave a message and one of the Pensions Section will return your call.

Please also refer to our website www.dumgal.gov.uk/pensions for general information about the pension scheme.

Why having a pension is important?

Will you have enough to live on in retirement? The Retirement Living Standards , based on independent research by Loughborough University, have been developed to help us to picture what kind of lifestyle we could have in retirement. The standards show you what life in retirement looks like at three different levels, and what a range of common goods and services would cost for each level. Please take time to read this information and consider your own circumstances, especially if you are not currently a member of the LGPS, are thinking you should pay more towards a pension or are considering transferring out of the LGPS.

Employees will automatically join the Scheme from their start date, provided they have a contract of employment of more than three months. You can opt in or out of the scheme at any time:

 

Benefits

LGPS is an important part of your employment package and is a great way to save for the future. It provides a range of benefits:

  • a secure pension when you retire, you pay pension contributions and your employer does too
  • your pension is worked out each year with inflation added, so it keeps up with the cost of living
  • the scheme is flexible, you can choose to pay less or more
  • you receive tax relief on your pension contributions
  • you have the option when you draw your pension to exchange part of it for tax free cash
  • you can draw your benefits anytime between the age of 55 and 75. 
  • immediate life cover, ill health protection
  • pension payable to dependents including spouses, civil partners, eligible cohabiting partners and children

Further information is available on each of the benefits from the scheme:

Contributions

Member contribution rates are based on what you earn. You build up a pension at a rate of 1/49th of the amount of pay you received in that scheme year.

Reducing your contributions
You can reduce your pension contributions up to half through the 50/50 contribution option. This means you will only be building up half of your normal pension.

Increasing your contributions
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Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

You can pay more contributions to our AVC scheme (sometimes called "in house" AVC scheme).

AVCs are extra pension contributions that are invested separately in funds managed by our AVC provider Standard Life. AVCs are taken off your pay, just like normal contributions and are transferred to your Standard Life account. Here your contributions and returns on investments will remain until you retire or transfer them to another provider. 

The cost is entirely flexible - you decide how much you would like to pay and you can increase or decrease your AVCs whenever you like. You can pay AVCs through your salary as a one-off lump sum or you can pay monthly. You can also start and stop your AVC payments when you need to. The minimum monthly contribution is £20.00

Standard Life offers a number of funds that you can invest in. There are a range of funds which offer different investment types e.g. property, equity, and different levels of risk and reward. Funds with the most potential for growth are increasingly riskier compared to funds will less promising returns. You can move your money between funds at any time. There are no restrictions on the type of funds offered by Standard Life that you can choose to invest in.  

If you leave or opt out of the pension scheme before retirement, your contributions to your AVC fund will stop. Your AVC fund will continue to be invested until it is paid out. You can transfer your AVCs to another pension provider or draw it down at the same time as your pension benefits. 

When you retire you can use your AVCs to buy extra annual pension within the LGPS or with another provider. You also have the option to take up to 100% of your AVC as a tax free lump sum (subject to HMRC limits). 

Alternatively members age 55+ can take all their AVC fund as a lump sum payment. Here you take 25% of your AVC as a tax free lump sum, with the other 75% as a taxed lump sum. This is known as an UFPLS. There are some restrictions on who can receive an UFPLS but more information can be provided on request. 

Find out more about Added Voluntary Contributions with Standard Life

We cannot give any financial advice on investments. However, we do recommend members regularly review their AVCs to ensure they are performing well. Returns on investments depend on contributions paid, performance and investment rates, so members should know the value of their investments can go down as well as up.  Although the Fund monitors overall performance of AVC providers, it is your responsibility to monitor your funds. 

With UFPLS, please note if you take payment of your AVC fund at retirement, an UFPLS will only be available if you cannot take your entire AVC fund as tax-free cash. 

Additional Pension Contributions (APCs)

APCs are extra contributions that increase your pension. 

APCs are taken off your pay, along with your normal contributions and go directly to your DGC Pension Fund pension account where they remain, increasing with the cost of living until you take your pension. 

The cost of APCs depends on how much extra pension you want, the age you start paying and how long you want to pay APCs for. As such you can set a monthly amount that suits you. APCs can be paid monthly (minimum 1 year contract) or you can pay a one-off lump sum.  

The best way to see costs is to use the APC calculator

If you decide to stop paying APCs simply contact your payroll department and let them know. You will be credited with the extra pension you have bought up to the date you stopped.

If you leave before retirement and have less than 2 years membership in the pension scheme you will get a refund of your APCs (minus tax). 

The extra pension you have purchased with your APCs will be paid at the same time as your main pension benefits. But remember if you take your pension before your normal pension age, whether by choice or in cases of redundancy/business efficiency retirement, the extra pension you have bought will be reduced for early payment. 

To set up APCs visit LGPS 2015 APC Modellers (scotlgps2015.org) and select "buy extra pension." 

You cannot have APCs to buy extra pension if you are in the 50/50 scheme. 

An APC contract of 1 year or more will be refused if you do not submit the appropriate medical certificate with your application.

If you are buying more than £1000 of extra pension or paying APCs for more than 1 year, you must submit a medical certificate. Your application for APCs can be refused on medical grounds. 

The maximum amount of extra annual pension you can purchase is £6,923 

If you are looking to buy lost pension due to a trade dispute, authorised unpaid leave or additional or unpaid additional child related leave select "buy lost pension." Your employer will have advised you of the pensionable pay lost. If you are applying within 30 days of being advised of your lost pensionable pay tick the 30 day override box as your employer will pay 2/3rds of the cost of your APC. Written confirmation from your employer must be provided with your APC application.

You can contact the Pensions team for further information on the AVC options and providers:

85 Year Rule

If you are an existing member covered by transitional protection following the removal of the Rule of 85, retiring before your Normal Pension Age will entail a slightly more complicated calculation of benefits as it did when the LGPS 2009 was introduced. To have Rule of 85 protection you must have been a member of the LGPS on 30 November 2006.

Retirement

You can leave employment and take your pension at any age on or after your 55th birthday but your benefits may be reduced. See the section entitled Local Government Pension Scheme and Retirement for further details.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Dumfries and Galloway Local Government Pension Scheme is a Data Controller under the General Data Protection Regulations. This means we store, hold and manage your ersonal data in line with statutory requirements to enable us to provide you with pension administration services. To enable us to carry out our statutory duty; we are required to share your information with certain bodies and do so in limited circumstances. This includes the Local Government Association where we share your National Insurance number in line with our security obligations and the principles outlined in the Information Commissioner Office's (ICO's) Data Sharing Code of Practice. As this sharing is necessary to comply with the law; consent need not be sought and members are unable to object to the sharing taking place.

Pre LGPS 2015 pension scheme

If you were a member of the LGPS before April 2015, different regulations will apply to your pension.

Communications Policy

The Local Government Pension Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2018 requires us to prepare, publish and review a communication policy. 

Contact us

You can contact the Pension Team for further guidance or to arrange independent financial advice through our providers:

  • Email pensions@dumgal.gov.uk
  • Call 01387 273855
  • Write to PensionsMonreith House, Crichton Business Park, Dumfries, DG1 4ZZ

More Information

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Customer Service is very important to us. If you have recently been in contact with the Pensions Section we are keen to have your feedback on the service you received. Please take a few minutes to complete our survey.

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Page last updated: 25/08/2021
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