Please note that tax, investment, pension and ISA rules can change and the information and any views contained in this article may now be inaccurate.
Government changes rule for many people on pensions access at 55
Last week I answered a question about Government plans to change the minimum age you can access your retirement pot. In typical fashion, on the day the article was published the Treasury closed a loophole that would have given some individuals access to their retirement money from age 55 by transfering their pension.
Firstly, let’s look at the parts of the rules that aren’t changing. From April 2028 the minimum age you can access your pension – referred to as the normal minimum pension age or NMPA – will increase from age 55 to age 57.
Rather than apply this increase across the board, the Government has proposed creating a ‘protection’ regime so that savers in a scheme which gave an ‘unqualified right’ to a normal minimum pension age below age 57 on 11 February 2021 can retain that earlier pension access age. This will be known as a ‘protected pension age’.
If people with this protection subsequently make an individual transfer to another scheme, the transferred funds will be able to keep the lower normal minimum pension age – although any benefits held in the receiving scheme before the transfer, or new contributions, will have normal minimum pension age of 57 from April 2028.
People with a protected pension age who transfer as part of a ‘block’ with at least one other member of the same old pension scheme to the same new scheme will be able to retain the lower normal minimum pension age for all their funds in the new scheme.
All of these reforms are going through as planned.
However, changes have been proposed in relation to people not currently in a scheme with a protected pension age.
Plans to allow people who join or transfer to a scheme with a normal minimum pension age of 55 by 5 April 2023 to benefit from the lower NMPA have been dropped.
Instead, the Government says only people who are already members, or have started a transfer to a scheme offering protection before 4 November 2021, will be able to retain the lower normal minimum pension age of 55.
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