If you are thinking of opting out you might want to first consider an alternative option which is to elect to move to the 50/50 section of the scheme. The 50/50 section allows you to pay half your normal contributions in return for half your normal pension build up whilst retaining full life and ill health cover. To find out more, see the section on contributions flexibility.
If having considered the 50/50 option you still wish to opt out, you can leave the LGPS at any time on or after your first day of eligible employment by giving your employer notice in writing. You can obtain an opt out form by contacting your pension fund. You might, however, want to take independent financial advice before making the final decision to opt out.
If you opt out you should be aware that your employer is required by law to re-enrol you back into the LGPS approximately every three years on a set re-enrolment date if you are an eligible job holder.
If you opt-out, you can, provided you are still eligible to join the scheme, opt back into the scheme at any time before age 75.
Opting out before 3 months
If you opt out of the LGPS before completing 3 months' membership you will be treated as never having been a member and your employer will refund to you, through your pay, any contributions you have paid during that time.
Opting out with three or more months' membership and before the 2 year vesting period
If you opt out of the LGPS when you have been a member for 3 months or more but you have not completed the 2 year qualifying period (known as the vesting period) - you can take a refund of your contributions (less any statutory deductions) or transfer your pension to another qualifying pension scheme. If you were in the scheme before 1 April 2014 and opt out on or after that date with 3 or more months' membership and before completing the 2 years vesting period you will also have the option of having deferred benefits in the scheme instead of taking a refund of your contributions (less any statutory deductions). Use the find out more buttons on the right hand side for information about the different ways the 2 year vesting period can be met.
Opting out after meeting the 2 year vesting period
If you opt out after meeting the 2 year vesting period you will have deferred benefits in the scheme and will generally have the same options as anyone leaving their job before retirement, except you cannot draw your deferred benefits unless you have left your job. Also, if you re-join the scheme, you will not be permitted to join the two periods of membership together. Instead, you will have two separate sets of pension benefits in the scheme. For more information about deferred benefits refer to the section called leaving before retirement.