Early retirement

You can choose to retire and take your pension anytime from age 55 and you don't need your employer’s consent. However, your pension is normally reduced if paid before your normal pension age, as it's being paid for longer. Your benefits are worked out to your leave date and are then reduced. How much your benefits are reduced by depends on how early you take them.

Membership before 1 April 2014 is linked to a normal pension age of 65. This means, benefits built up before and after 1 April 2014 could have different normal pension ages. This means that you can still take your benefits from 65 but, the service built up after 1 April 2014, which is linked to your State Pension age, would be reduced if your State Pension age is over 65. 

The reduction to benefits is worked out in line with guidance given by the Secretary of State. It is based on the length of time (in years and days) that you retire early – the earlier you retire, the larger the reduction.

The percentage reductions, issued 8 January 2019, for retirements up to 13 years early are shown in the table below. Where the number of years isn't exact, the reduction percentages are adjusted.

Reduction factor table for benefits paid up to 13 years early

  Pension reduction Pension reduction Retirement grant reduction %
Years early Males Females All members
0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
1 5.1% 5.1% 2.3%
2 9.9% 9.9% 4.6%
3 14.3% 14.3% 6.9%
4 18.4% 18.4% 9.1%
5 22.2% 22.2% 11.2%
6 25.7% 25.7% 13.3%
7 29.0% 29.0% 15.3%
8 32.1% 32.1% 17.3%
9 35.0% 35.0% 19.2%
10 37.7% 37.7% 21.1%
11 41.6% 41.6% N/A
12 44.0% 44.0% N/A
13 46.3% 46.3% N/A


Your employer can agree not to make any reduction. This is an employer discretion and you can ask them what their policy on this is.

If you're thinking of retiring early, you should contact us for an early retirement quote. You can also use ‘My Pension Online’ to run these quotes and look at converting some of your annual pension to provide a lump sum, if this is a retirement option that you are thinking about.  

My pension online

View your pension account and update your personal details.