care about your future

When you retire you will receive a pension based on your earnings throughout your career and while you were paying into the scheme.

Each year you will earn a pension equal to 1/57 of your pensionable pay. So long as you are still paying into the scheme this will be revalued every year in line with increases to the Consumer Prices Index plus 1.6%.

You can find out more by watching the video. Or downloading our summary 'How does CARE work?'

Your pension is payable at your normal pension age which is the same as your State Pension age. Your normal pension age is simply when you can take your beenfits in full, but you can retire earlier.

The scheme also provides benefits for your family if you die leaving an adult dependant or children. These pensions ignore any tax-free lump sum taken at retirement.

You can pay more and increase your benefits by up to £6,500. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Buy additional pension.
  2. Grow your pension at a faster rate (known as faster accural).
  3. Elect to buy out the standard early retirement reduction.

You can do a combination of all three - details are given below and factsheets are available. We will continue to update this website but in the meantime, if the factsheet you require is not available here, please contact SPPA.

Your pension

Your pension will be paid to you every month for the rest of your life. It is taxed as earned income. You may be taxed using an emergency tax code to begin with until HM Revenue & Customs send us the correct code to use.

Your pension is index linked as will be increased each year in line with increases in the Consumer Prices Index.

Former members of the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (STSS)

Your pension will be made up of two parts:

  1. Your pension earned in the STSS; plus

  2. Your pension earned in the Teachers’ 2015 scheme.

Four months before you retire

To help us pay your benefits on time, please ask your employer for a form which you should fill in and send to SPPA four months before you intend to retire.

You will need a separate form for each employment.

There are plenty of websites available to help you with your retirement planning. We have provided links in the right hand menu – please take care to ensure any other sites you use are legitimate.

Taking a tax free lump sum

You can if you wish give up part of your pension in exchange for a tax free lump sum payment. You will receive £12 of lump sum for every £1 of annual pension given up.

HM Revenue & Customs has set a maximum amount you can take tax free and this is currently 25% of your pension fund. More detailed information about how much you can take will be provided at retirement.

If you choose to take a tax free lump sum it will not reduce any pension payable your dependants.

Members of the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme (STSS) who joined before 1 April 2007

The tax free lump sum was paid automatically. This means that your total lump sum will be worked out as follows:

  1. Your automatic lump sum from the STSS; plus
  2. Your optional tax free lump sum from the 2015 scheme.

Members of the STSS who joined on or after 1 April 2007

The option to take a tax free lump sum in exchange for pension works in the same way for both schemes.

Spouse's pension

A spouse can be your husband, wife, registered civil partner or, if you are not in a legally binding relationship, you can nominate a qualifying partner using the form on the right.

For the first three months they will receive your full pension. This will then reduce to 37.5% of your pension and will be paid for life.

Children's pension

A pension will be paid equal to 18.75% of your own pension to each of your dependent children. If you leave more than two children they will share 37.5% of your pension between them.

Children’s pensions are paid for children under the age of 17. Subject to certain conditions, your children can continue to receive their pension until they are 23, if they’re in full time education.

Payments may be paid for life if your child is unable to work because of illness or disability that existed at the time of your death. They must have been financially dependent on you and not wholly maintained by benefits provided by either the UK or Scottish Government. 

A higher rate children’s pension will be paid if you die without leaving a surviving spouse, civil partner or nominated partner.

Death within five years of retiring

A payment will be made equal to five times your annual pension less the amount already received.

This can be paid to your nominated partner, spouse, or registered civil partner.

Please note:

If you’re not married, or in a registered civil partnership and you have not nominated a partner your death grant will be paid to your estate.

I'm interested in buying additional pension

You can buy additonal pension in multiples of £250 and choose to pay either regular amounts or a single lump sum payment.

When making your election, you will be asked to decide whether you are increasing just your own pension or whether you would like the additional pension to apply to any dependant's pension payable in the event of your death.

I'm interested in growing my pension at a faster rate

You will earn a pension at a rate of 1/57 of your pensionable pay in each year. Subject to certain conditions, you can elect to earn pension at a faster rate than this by paying extra monthly contributions. You can choose from three rates depending on your budget and how quickly you would like your pension to grow:


You must select this option in the financial year before the financial year you wish it to be effective from.

If you are a new entrant, you must make your election within one month of joining the scheme.

I would like to retire early

You can retire at any time after your minimum retirement age. This is currently age 55.


We’ve become increasingly aware of fraudulent activity whereby companies are contacting scheme members advising them that they can unlock their pension before age 55.

This is not possible unless you are applying for ill health retirement. More information can be found on the Pension Regulator’s website.

Unless you are applying to retire early due to ill health, your pension will be reduced for early payment if you take it before your normal pension age.

If you have firm plans to retire at age 65 but your normal pension age is greater than this you can choose to buy out up to three years’ worth of reduction by paying extra contributions. This is called the Early Retirement Buy Out option. More information can be found in our factsheet.

Remember you normal pension age is the same as your State Pension age.

Premature retirement

This may be granted if you’re offered early retirement because of redundancy or organisational efficiency. You must be age 55 or over and paying into the scheme to qualify. There are two types of compensation payable by your employer:

  1. Mandatory – the cost is split between the scheme and your employer who must agree to pay their share if an application for premature retirement benefits is to be accepted.

  2. Discretionary – at the sole discretion of your employer, benefits may be increased to compensate you for having to retire early.

Other options

The scheme offers flexibility for teachers looking to phase their retirement, reduce their hours or take on a post with less responsibility before fully retiring.

Phased retirement

This allows you to draw up to 75% of your total benefits while still teaching and building up more benefits in the scheme. You must be at least age 55 to apply and your pensionable salary must fall by at least 20% or more for at least 12 months.

More information is available in our factsheet.

Please speak to your employer if you are interested in this option.

Benefits taken before your State Pension age will be reduced for early payment.

Standard early retirement buy out option

You can take your benefits in full when you reach your State Pension age. You can retire before then but your pension will be reduced for early payment. If you’re sure you wish to retire at 65 you can buy out up to three years of this reduction.

You must still be paying into the scheme when you retire and your State Pension age must be greater than 65.

For an application to apply you must inform SPPA of your intention within six months of joining the scheme.

Please read the SERRBO (Standard Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out) factsheet for more information

I may need to retire early due to ill health

In some circumstances you may be able to retire early due to ill health.

It’s recognised that some illnesses are slow to develop or difficult to diagnose and so, as an active member, you are able to apply for this benefit for up to two years after leaving the scheme.

If approved, the benefits you receive will depend on the nature of your illness or disability.

Partial incapacity pension is paid if you’re permanently unable to teach but can take on other work. You will receive a pension based on the benefits you have earned so far.

Total incapacity pension is paid if you’re permanently unable to teach or undertake any other employment. Your pension may be increased by up to half of the pension you might have built up had you been able to continue working until your normal pension age.

An application for total incapacity pension must be made within two years of leaving pensionable employment - we are not able to accept applications after that time. If you are awarded total incapacity benefit you will also need to satisfy HM Revenue & Customs’ severe ill health test.

Special benefits if you become terminally ill

If you become terminally ill you may be able to take your benefits immediately as a lump sum. If you qualify you will receive a payment of five times your annual pension.

You must chose this option when you first apply for ill health retirement as a lump sum can’t be granted once your pension is in payment.

Applying for ill health early retirement

You should request a form from your employer - please contact SPPA if you have already left service.  

Payment of a pension on the grounds of ill health can only be made following an assessment by SPPA’s independent medical adviser. Further details are available in the factsheet entitled Ill Health Retirement. If you leave teaching because of ill health it doesn’t automatically mean that you qualify for pension payments.

I'm thinking about delaying my retirement

You have a number of options if you wish to delay your retirement: You can:

  • Continue paying into the scheme and earning pension for each year of service. Your pension earned will be increased in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) plus 1.6%.
  • Leave the scheme until you’re ready to retire - your pension will be increased in line with increases in CPI each year until you take your benefits.
  • Retire and take your benefits. After a break re-join the scheme and begin earning pension again.

If you remain in pensionable employment and take your pension after your State Pension age your benefits will be increased to reflect the fact that they are being taken later.

Please note that while there is no maximum period of service that you can build up, you will not be able to pay into the scheme or earn any further benefits beyond age 75.

My Pension online services

If you have question about your benefits you may be able to find the information you’re looking for instantly by viewing your details securely online. My Pension Online Access

Register for MyPension access