Common questions

Wherever you are in your retirement savings journey, this is where you can find out more about the Civil Service top up plan.

Important documents

To help you make an informed decision we've provided you with important information that you should read.

These documents are appropriate for new joiners and members of the Civil Service AVC Scheme and Civil Service Northern Ireland AVC Scheme. You should print or save copies of these documents for future reference.

Please complete this form if you would like to join the plan.

Civil Service application form (PDF, 47KB)

This document explains the features of the pension product your employer has chosen.

Key features document (PDF, 207KB)

These documents give you more detail about your investment options.

How to choose the right investment options for your pension (PDF, 1MB)

This leaflet tells you how you can boost your retirement income by making additional voluntary contributions to the Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme (CSAVCS). This guide has been provided by The Civil Service. Standard Life aren't responsible for the content of this guide.

The Civil Service Additional Voluntary Contributions Scheme - A brief guide (PDF, 23.5KB)

There are important differences between with profits and other types of investment. If you’re thinking of investing in with profits read the booklet.

Guide to your with profits investments for pensions (PDF, 175KB)

 

Important documents

To help you make an informed decision we've provided you with important information that you should read.

These documents are appropriate for new joiners and members of the Civil Service Stakeholder and Civil Service Northern Ireland Stakeholder pension schemes. You should print or save copies of these documents for future reference.

Please complete this form if you would like to join the plan.

Civil Service application form (PDF, 161KB)

Read this guide for more information about a Civil Service top up plan.

Your personal guide to the stakeholder pension plan (PDF, 731KB)

This document explains the features of the pension product your employer has chosen.

Key features document (PDF, 207KB)

This document gives you an illustration of what your pension could be worth. It doesn't take into account any of the charges and rebates that may apply to your company pension. You can find more information about these on the charges page.

Key features illustration (PDF, 220KB)

These documents give you more detail about your investment options.

How to choose the right investment options for your pension (PDF, 1.2MB)

Lifestyle profiles (PDF, 209KB)

There are important differences between with profits and other types of investment. If you’re thinking of investing in with profits read the guide.

Guide to your with profits investments for Stakeholder pensions (149 KB)

This leaflet gives you some basic information about stakeholder pensions and some of the options available to you. This guide has been provided by The Civil Service. Standard Life aren't responsible for the content of this guide.

Civil Service Pensions  - Stakeholder Pensions - A brief guide (PDF, 63KB)

 

About the top up pension

 What type of pension is it?

Your Civil Service top up plan pension scheme is either a Group Stakeholder Plan or a Group Additional Voluntary Contributions (GAVC) pension scheme.

 Who looks after it?

Standard Life Assurance Limited (SLAL) has been appointed to provide administration and support for the company pension. In the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria, SLAL offers products to help customers with their life savings. SLAL is owned by the Phoenix Group and uses the Standard Life brand under licence from the Standard Life Aberdeen group. SLAL is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority

Find out more about Standard Life 

 What are the charges?

The amount you’ll be charged in management and administration fees for your investments depends on how your fund is managed and what it invests in.

Find out more about the charges

Joining the top up pension

 Who can become a member of the top up pension?

The Group Stakeholder and Group Service Additional Voluntary Contribution plans are provided by Standard Life. They are available when you work for Civil Service and Civil Service Northern Ireland and if you are a member of the classic, classic plus, or premium or nuvos pension schemes.

You can join a Civil Service top up pension scheme at anytime.

Find out more about joining a Civil Service top up plan

 

 

 Can you leave the top up pension after you join?

After you join the pension you'll have a month to consider if you want to cancel your plan. Remember, if you decide to cancel you’ll miss out on tax benefits from HMRC and any extra payments your employer may make.

More about cancelling your plan

If you leave a Civil Service top up plan (either the Group Stakeholder or the GAVC) or stop making payments after the 30 day cancellation period has ended, your payments can't normally be refunded and any payments from Civil Service and Civil Service Northern Ireland will stop. However, the payments that have already been made into your company pension will remain invested until you retire, and charges continue to be deducted.

 What if you already have a personal pension?

You can keep your personal pension as well as your company pension if you want to. You might be able to combine your pensions, but there's a few things to think about it before you do this. Transferring isn't right for everyone.

More about combining your pensions

Payments

 What will you pay into your pension and can you change it?

How much you pay in is up to you - as long as you're meeting any minimum payment levels. If you want to make any changes to your payments, speak to your employer to find out when and how you can do this.

You can find out more about payments here

 How much should you pay?

You can use the retirement planner tool to find out if you’re saving enough to give you the retirement you want. The retirement planner can also show you the impact of changing your payments.

Use the retirement planner

 Can you withdraw money from your pension?

Because your pension is set up to help you save for retirement, you normally can’t access any of your pension savings until you turn 55 (may be subject to change).

Find out more about how you can take your retirement income

Investments

 Where can you invest your money?

Where you invest your pension savings is up to you. There are investment options available to you - and it’s worth taking the time to find out about them.

And even when you’ve made choices, they’re not set in stone - you can review your investments and make changes if you want to.

Find out more about changing your investments

 How do you choose investments?

Choosing investment options doesn’t have to be complicated – there are options to suit all levels of knowledge and to match the level of involvement you want.

What to think about when choosing investments

What happens if you leave

 What if you leave the company?

Regardless of why you leave, your pension is yours for life.

If you have a Group Stakeholder, you may be able to carry on paying into it after you change jobs – or you could choose to combine it with a new pension from your new employer. Transferring isn't right for everyone.

 What happens to your pension when you die?

When you die, any pot which remains can be passed on. Who receives it is at the discretion of Standard Life. You can let Standard Life know who you would like it to be paid to by completing an expression of wish form. As Standard Life decide who receives the pot, it is normally paid free of inheritance tax.

  • If you die before age 75, payments out will normally be free of income tax
  • If you die after age 75, payments out will normally be charged income tax at the beneficiary's marginal rate

Instruction for payment of death benefits form (PDF, 93KB)

For more information download the Information about tax relief, limits and your pension (PDF 145KB) guide.

If you die after you retire, your dependents may be able to continue to receive money from your pension. This will depend on how you set your retirement income up.

Taking your pension

 When can you take your pension?

From the age of 55 (may be subject to change) you can normally take some or all of your pension. but you may need consent from your employer to access your money before your retirement date. Speak to your employer for more information about this.

When you want to access your retirement savings, you'll have several options about how you turn them into income.

If you have health issues though, you may be able to take your pension early.

If you joined the Civil Service before 6 April 2006 and you opened a Civil Service top up plan before that date, you can take your top-up benefits at any time from age 50. For anyone else, you can take your top up benefits from age 55 (may be subject to change). You do not have to stop working to take these benefits.

 How do you take your pension?

You can take flexible income, guaranteed income or cash. You can even take combination of these options. You may have to transfer to a new plan to take advantage of some options.

More about turning your pension savings into income.

We recommend you seek appropriate guidance or advice. See the question below for more details.

 Where can I get guidance on my retirement options?

Access to impartial guidance

We recommend you seek appropriate guidance or advice to understand your options at retirement. You can get free guidance over the phone or face to face with Pensionwise.

Go to www.pensionwise.gov.uk or call 0800 138 3944.

The Money Advice Service (MAS) guide is also available on the Pensionwise site.

 

 

Your pension value

 How do you find out how much your pension is worth?

The value of your pension is shown on your annual statement. You can also find this easily by logging on to online servicing.

Find out more about managing your pension online

 How do you find out what your pension might be worth at retirement?

You can find a projection of what your pension might be worth by logging in to online servicing.

It might also help to have an idea of how much you might need to retire. You can use this handy tool to pick the things you might like to do in retirement and work out how much it might all cost.

If you have more than one pension, you can see what they all add up to by using the retirement planner. The retirement planner can also give you an idea of what your pension could be worth, and show you how increasing your payments now can make a big difference when you retire.

Use the retirement planner

Important documents

Group Additional Voluntary Contributions

See important documents

Group Stakeholder Pension Plan

See important documents