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Leaving your pension scheme

If you leave your employer, or stop paying contributions to your pension scheme, you don’t lose what you’ve built up in the scheme at that point.

Leaving your pension scheme or stopping contributions

Your circumstances can change at any time. This could mean that you need, or choose, to stop paying into your pension.

You don’t have to remain a member of your pension scheme and can stop paying contributions at any time. Remember that your employer will also stop paying into it too.

If you stop paying contributions, or leave your employer, you’re treated as having left their workplace pension scheme.

What you’ve built up remains yours, and you have various options.

It’s worth being aware that if you leave the scheme, you might lose other benefits – for example, life cover.

After you’ve left the scheme – your options

Once you’ve left the scheme, you have various options:

You can normally begin taking money from your pension from age 55 (rising to 57 from 2028).

You might be able to move your pension to a new employer’s workplace pension, or an individual pension you’ve set up.

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Are you a member of a personal pension? This includes self-invested personal pension and stakeholder pension scheme. Then you should be able continue contributing to it. But you won’t get any further contributions from your (previous) employer.

If you’ve been a member of a workplace pension scheme for less than two years, you might be able to ask for a short-service refund of your contributions.

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Were you automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme and decided to stop paying contributions? If you still work for the same employer, they’ll automatically re-enrol you into the scheme every three years, if you qualify. If you don’t want to re-join, you can opt out, or stop contributing again.

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If you’re still working for the same employer, you might be able to re-join the scheme.

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If you leave your pension where it is, you usually have the option to transfer your pension later.

If you have a public sector defined benefit pension scheme, it might not be possible to transfer your benefits to a defined contribution pension scheme.

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Has your employer gone out of business? For example, perhaps they've gone into administration, receivership or liquidation. How this affects you depends on whether you have a defined benefit or defined contribution pension.

Other rules might apply if your employer closes their workplace pension scheme if they’re taken over or merge with another company. These rules are called the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
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