Topping up your benefits

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Topping up with Bonusplan

Bonusplan is just for Section C and Section F members.

How does it work?

Bonusplan lets you make extra payments to top up your benefits, so you have more money to live on later in life. To help you build up your benefits, your employer pays in some money too.

With Bonusplan, you choose where your money is invested.

How much can I pay in?

Bonusplan lets you make pension contributions from part of your pay that wouldn’t normally count towards your pension – the Lower Earnings Deduction.

If you work full time, you can pay in 4.5% of the Lower Earnings Deduction. If you work full time, that’s around £150 a year. If you work part time, you can pay part of this amount.

How much does my employer pay in?

If you earn less than around £19,000 a year, your employer will match what you pay in pound for pound. If you start earning more than this, your employer will carry on contributing, but not pound for pound. They’ll keep doing this until you start earning around £34,000 a year. These limits increase each year with inflation, so they will change over time.

What happens if I die?

If you die before you retire, the money in your Bonusplan fund is added to the lump sum death benefit that’s paid from the Plan. You can tell us who you would like this to be paid to by completing a nomination form.

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact the Pensions Service Centre.


Topping up with Flexiplan

How does it work?

Flexiplan lets you make extra payments to top up your benefits, so you have more money to live on later in life. You can set up regular payments or just pay in a one-off amount. You can also increase or reduce the amount you pay, and stop making payments at any time.

With Flexiplan, you choose where your money is invested.

How much can I pay in?

How much you pay in is up to you, but it can be as little as £1 per week or £5 per month.

The most you can pay in is 100% of your taxable pay. This includes the 6% that you normally pay into your pension, as well as any extra payments you make using Addplan and Bonusplan.

If there are other things that need to come out of your pay – like National Insurance contributions, for example – you might not be able to put in the full 100%. The Pensions Service Centre will check this for you.

How long can I keep paying?

you can keep topping up your benefits with Flexiplan until you decide to take your benefits, leave service, opt out of the Plan, reach 75 or die.

What happens if I die?

If you die before you retire, the money in your Flexiplan fund is added to the lump sum death benefit that’s paid from the Plan. You can tell us who you would like this to be paid to by completing a nomination form.

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact the Pensions Service Centre.


Managing your investments

With Flexiplan and Bonusplan, you decide where your payments are invested. You can choose from a range of different investments funds.

Which funds can I choose from?

Four core funds:

  • Growth Fund
  • Balanced Fund
  • Cautious Fund
  • Cash Fund

And two additional funds:

  • Ethically-focussed Fund
  • Shariah Law Fund

How do I decide which funds to invest in?

The funds you decide to invest in will have an effect on how much your money grows. So you’ll need to choose carefully. Find out more about each fund in our Guide to Additional Voluntary Contributions.

What is the Lifestyle option?

The Lifestyle option has been chosen for members who do not wish to actively manage their AVC investments.  Whilst you are a number of years from your selected retirement age, contributions are paid to funds which are mostly invested in equities (also known as shares) – these offer the potential for growth but can be quite volatile (the value of shares goes up and down).  Your AVC account is gradually moved into less volatile funds as you get closer to your selected retirement age. You should consider whether this investment option is right for you, and review that decision periodically.

Where do I find out more?

You can also download Additional Voluntary Contribution documents and the latest fund factsheets. You can find these in the Library. These show how the funds have performed in the past. Remember, past investment performance is no guarantee of future performance.

What if I’m not sure?

If you’re not sure which funds would be best for you, speak to an independent financial adviser. They might charge you for their time.

How do I invest?

Please get in touch with the Pensions Service Centre to find out more.

Can I switch between funds?

Yes. You can move the money in your Flexiplan or Bonusplan account between funds at any time.


Documents

Guide to Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

Get more money to live on when you stop working

If you want more money to live on when you stop working, you can make extra payments to top up your benefits. These payments are called Additional Voluntary Contributions.

You might want to think about making Additional Voluntary Contributions if:

  • you want to save more for the long-term in a way that could save tax
  • you started saving later in life
  • you stopped working for a while – for example, to raise a family or have a career break
  • you want to retire early and need some extra money to help you do this
  • a lot of what you earn isn’t counted as pensionable pay – like overtime, for example.

Find out more about how you can top up your benefits below.

When you make Additional Voluntary Contributions, you’ll get a statement in the post each year to tell you how much you’ve saved.