Additional Pension Contributions (APCs)
If you want to buy extra pension for your retirement you have the option of paying Additional Pension Contributions (APCs).
You can pay more in contributions to buy up to £7,579 (for 2023/24) of extra pension (if you are in the main section of the scheme). Any extra pension you purchase is payable each year in retirement and is payable on top of your normal LGPS benefits.
You can normally pay for this extra pension either regularly over a complete number of years directly from your pay or via a lump sum (either from your pay or directly to the Avon Pension Fund). The minimum period of time you can spread payment of APCs over is 12 months and the maximum period is the number of years to your Normal Pension Age. The latest you can take out such an APC contract is 1 year before your Normal Pension Age.
Any extra regular contributions are taken from your pay and if you pay tax, you receive tax relief automatically through the payroll.
You can choose to stop paying APCs at any time by notifying us in writing. You will be credited with the extra pension that you have paid for at the time of ceasing payment.
The cost of any extra pension you buy is paid for by you unless your employer chooses to pay some or all of the cost of the APC
If you choose to retire early (before your Normal Pension Age) the extra pension you have bought will be reduced for early payment. If you choose to draw your pension after your Normal Pension Age any extra pension you buy is increased because it's being paid later.
On retirement, you can choose to exchange some of the extra pension you have bought for a tax-free cash lump sum in the same way as your main LGPS pension.
If you die in service then no extra benefits from your APC contract will be payable. This is because the amount of extra pension you purchase is for you only.
You can pay into an APC to ensure that benefits are not lost during a period of authorised absence.
Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)
These cover the amount of pension lost during periods of unpaid additional Maternity, Adoption and Paternity leave or periods of unpaid authorised leave of absence.
You don’t need to buy lost pension if you are on sick leave on reduced or no pay or you are a new parent on a period of ordinary maternity, paternity or adoption leave and any period of paid additional maternity, paternity or adoption leave. In such cases there are provisions to maintain pension levels.
Shared cost means that if you want to cover such a period, the cost of buying the lost pension is shared between you and your employer, with your employer meeting 2/3rds of the cost (provided you make an election to buy the lost pension within 30 days of returning to work). An employer may allow a longer period where there are several short periods of unpaid leave over a short period of time, in order to simplify the administration into one election. Any elections outside the timescale set by your employer would result in you paying all the costs.
Some employers have schemes where additional leave can be purchased (via salary sacrifice). Whether the employer shares the cost of buying back lost pension in these cases depends on the type of scheme. You would need to check with your employer what their policy is on this.
The maximum period of absence you can elect to buy back by a SCAPC is a period of 3 years.
If you have an existing APC or SCAPC contract to buy extra pension and elect for the 50/50 section the contract must cease.
You will be required to undergo a medical examination at your own expense and provide a certificate of reasonable health before being allowed to buy extra pension.
Strike action and pension
You can buy back “lost” pension if for example you have been on strike, but your employer would not share the cost. SCAPSs are not covered by strike action and you would pay all the costs involved.
If you are buying back "lost" pension through an APC then you don't require a certificate of reasonable good health.
Find out how much it would cost?
There is an online calculator which shows how much it would cost to buy extra or lost pension through APCs or SCAPCs
Remember to read the terms and conditions before you apply. Please note that the minimum regular monthly contribution we are able to accept is £10.
How to apply
Once you have inserted your details in the calculator, obtained a quote and wish to proceed you will need to complete the application form and return it to us.
As stated above if you are buying extra pension you will also need to complete a certificate of reasonable good health. If you are paying by lump sum, a lump sum payment option form needs to be completed.