UKAEA Pensions

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Added years

Who can buy added years?

If your potential United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority scheme service to pension age totals less than 40 years and there is at least one year between the date of your next birthday and your pension age and your application is approved you may be eligible to buy whole years or parts of a year of additional reckonable service to count towards an increased pension and lump sum and family benefits. Both full-time and part-time members can apply to purchase added years. The following members cannot apply to buy added years:

  • members on sick leave
  • members who are under notice of retirement on medical grounds
How much do added years cost?

You pay the full cost of the added years, in other words there is no employer contribution. The cost of the added years is based on your age next birthday following the date of your application. The usual method of payment is by periodical deduction of a fixed percentage of your pensionable pay commencing from your next birthday and normally continuing to age 60. (If you make an application within 12 months of joining the scheme, you may alternatively buy added years by lump sum payment.) The current cost of buying one added year by periodical deduction for a member with a 60 pension age is as follows:

Age next birthday at
date application is approved
Total Contribution %
for Combined Pension Scheme members
21 0.89
22 0.90
23 0.93
24 0.94
25 0.96
26 0.98
27 1.01
28 1.04
29 1.07
30 1.10
31 1.14
32 1.17
33 1.21
34 1.26
35 1.30
36 1.35
37 1.41
38 1.46
39 1.53
40 1.61
41 1.69
42 1.78
43 1.88
44 1.99
45 2.12
46 2.26
47 2.42
48 2.61
49 2.84
50 3.11
51 3.43
52 3.85
53 4.37
54 5.06
55 6.06
56 7.57
57 10.05
58 15.01
59 29.87

If, for historical reasons you have a pension age other than 60, or if you are a member of the Principal Non-Industrial Superannuation Scheme, you should contact the scheme administrators, Thurso for details of the costs of buying added years.

What are the benefits from buying added years?

Your reckonable service in the scheme will be increased as you pay for the added years. Your pension and lump sum as well as the contingent spouse's benefits will include the additional service you have purchased. For members who have paid in full for added years by making a lump sum payment within 12 months of starting employment as a member of a United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority pension scheme, your reckonable and qualifying service will be increased by the full amount of added years. If you have been paying by periodical deductions and you die before pension age, or leave with a scheme pension because of ill health, your service will also be increased by the full amount of the added years for which you applied. This does not apply to added years contracts which began prior to 1985. Otherwise if you leave before pension age, your service will be increased by the added years purchased up to the date of leaving.

How many years can I buy?

According to the date when you joined the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority pension scheme you are covered by specific tax regimes which affect the level of benefits you are permitted to receive under HM Revenue and Customs regulations. Therefore depending on when you joined the scheme there are different limits for the maximum number of added years which can be purchased.

There are a number of conditions and time limits which apply to the purchase of added years. The most significant of these are as follows:

  • At the time of application your total periodical contributions for pension cannot be more than 15% of your gross taxable earnings in a tax year
  • If you prefer to purchase added years by a single lump sum payment, the payment must be received within 12 months of your joining the scheme and before you reach pension age.
  • If you have pension benefits under another occupational pension scheme from a previous employment, this may limit the number of added years you are able to purchase.
Buying added years on early retirement

Separate arrangements exist for members to buy added years by making a lump sum payment from the compensation payments due on early retirement provided they:

  • retire early on grounds of premature retirement;
  • have 5 or more years qualifying service; and
  • can do so within the limits on the number of added years which may be purchased.
Applying to purchase added years

If you are interested in buying added years, the scheme administrators can provide you with further information and a form on which an application can be made. If you are already purchasing added years but would like to make an application to purchase more years, each subsequent application will be considered separately and be subject to the conditions and rates of contribution in force at the time of the subsequent application.

The contract

Applications to buy added years by periodical contributions may be cancelled, by giving notice in writing to the scheme administrators. However, you may not cancel an added years contract on more than two occasions. Your reckonable service will be increased by the added years for which you have paid up to the date the contributions cease and calculated as a proportion of the number of years over which contributions were due to be paid.