Definitions you might find useful.
Last Updated: 09/02/2023 13:49

Abatement refers to your pension being temporarily suspended during a period of teaching after retirement, where your earnings exceed your Salary of Reference (see Earnings Limits below). Career average benefits aren’t affected by abatement.

This is the rate at which your pension builds up and is based on your pensionable earnings. In the career average scheme the standard accrual rate is 1/57th of pensionable earnings each year.

An active teacher is a teacher who is currently in teaching employment and is actively contributing to the Scheme.

This refers to a percentage reduction that would be applied when a pension is paid before your Normal Pension Age, to reflect that it’s going to be in payment for longer. This typically applies to Early Retirement (Actuarily Adjusted Benefits) and Phased Retirement.

An option available to you to increase your pension. Additional Pension can be purchased in multiples of £250 and can be paid through monthly contributions deducted directly from salary over a set period of time, or by a one-off lump sum.

When a member returns to teaching after claiming retirement benefits from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (doesn't apply to continued service during Phased retirement).

The Department for Education has arrangements with Prudential for Additional Voluntary Contributions, but you can use other companies. With Prudential, the TAVC is a defined contribution money-purchase scheme, and the pension benefits are dependent on the amount of money paid in and the investment returns made on that money.  

This is the retirement type where you take your benefits at your Normal Pension Age (different sections will have different NPAs), e.g.  Final salary scheme 80th – NPA of 60 Final salary scheme 60th – NPA of 65 Career average scheme – NPA of 65 or your State Pension Age (whichever is the later date).  

Annual allowance refers to the amount by which a member's pension can grow within a pension input period (PIP). The PIP must be aligned with the tax year. If the pension growth in a PIP is greater than the Annual Allowance, a member will be subject to a tax charge on the excess. As of 6 April 2023, the Annual Allowance is £60,000.

If you come back into pensionable service after retirement, but don’t complete the minimum period of service (12 months) in order to qualify for a further pension, you’ll be paid an annuity rather than receive a refund of your contributions. The annuity is based on the actuarial value of the contributions and is paid in addition to your main pension.  

Employees who are eligible for the Teachers' Pension Scheme will be contractually enrolled into the Scheme when they start their job. They can choose to opt-out at any point. However, under Auto Enrolment legislation an employer must assess their employees every three years and if they're not an active member at that time, they will auto-enrol them into a suitable pension scheme.

This refers to the salary used to calculate a final salary pension. This is calculated on the most beneficial of the following: either the last 365 days salary or the best three years’ salary over the previous 10 years (revalued where there has been a change in salary in the three year period). If a member has undertaken part-time employment, their full-time equivalent salary will be used in the calculation, but the pensionable service will be based on the part-time hours.

Pensionable service accrued while a member is in the final salary scheme.

The pension that a member is awarded at retirement.

Award papers are documents you’ll receive (normally via My Pension Online) upon the start of your retirement that provide details of your calculated retirement benefits. 

The person(s) entitled to benefits in the event of a Scheme member's death.

An estimate of current pension benefits based on the service and salary details provided by employers. The information held on the Benefit Statement can only be as accurate as the information provided by employers, which is why it should always be checked to see if the service and salary details, we hold are accurate. If you’re an active member of the Scheme your Benefit Statement will be updated each month. If you’re a deferred member, it’s updated annually. 

This is part of the average salary calculation used for final salary pensions. It refers to the average of your best three consecutive years of re-valued salaries within your last ten years of service. However, if your last recorded twelve months of pensionable service before your retirement is more beneficial for your award, this will be used instead. See ‘Average salary’ for more.

In the career average scheme, the Normal Pension Age (NPA) is either a member's State Pension Age or 65, whichever is the higher. Members can buy out up to three years of the standard rate of actuarial adjustment between years 65 and 68 (or less if their NPA is lower).

The scheme all active members are contributing into. This is a defined benefit pension where a fraction of pensionable earnings are banked each year and revalued annually on a compound basis.

A document that specifies the value of a pension as a cash transfer amount. It's necessary for both transfering out of the Teachers' Pension Scheme and for pension on divorce proceedings. The cash equivalent is the value of the pension fund.

A form that must be completed at the start of the Scheme year by those members who have retired on Age or Premature grounds and then subsequently re-entered eligible teaching employment, so that an assessment for abatement can be made (and overpayments of pension avoided).

The annual pension due to the child(ren) of a member in the event of the member's death. For children to be eligible to receive this pension they must be under 17 or in full-time education (with no gap years) and under 23.

These are transfers between pension schemes for members of the public sector transfer arrangements. Schemes include Teachers, Local Government, Civil Service, NHS, Police, Firefighters, Army and Judiciary.

Allows a member to give up a portion of their pension and convert it to a tax-free lump sum (subject to maximum limit of 25% of the value of the pension fund).

Where the employee holds more than one contract with the same employer at the same time.

This is the official method of calculating inflation in the UK. It's a measure of the cost of living and reflects changes in the general price level.

The form used by employers to provide a breakdown of the contributions they have paid on behalf of the active scheme members in their employment. The breakdown splits out contributions in each payband tier and for extra pension flexibilities.

Comma Separated Value (CSV). When completing our templates we often ask if they can be returned in CSV format, specifically CSV (Comma delimited). This option can be found when using the "Save as" feature in Microsoft Excel.

The term given when a member passes away while in active service, i.e.,  in a pensionable teaching employment contract or within 12 months of leaving due to their ill-health.

The government have advised that changes are needed for members impacted by the Transitional Protection remedy. If you’re eligible, you’ll choose between your final salary and career average pension scheme benefits for service between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022 (the remedy period). You’ll make your choice at the time you take your pension benefits (e.g., when you retire). We’ll provide the relevant information to enable you to make an informed choice based on what best suits you.

A member of the Teachers' Pension Scheme who is not in active service, i.e., they’re not in pensionable teaching employment as a result of either leaving such employment or having opted-out of the Scheme.

The Department for Education is responsible for education and children’s services in England. In the guise of the Secretary of State, it’s the scheme manager of the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy.

The benefits paid to the dependents of a member who’s passed away, e.g., a spouse, civil partner, qualifying partner and children.

If a member returns to active service after a break of not more than five years, they’ll retain a salary link on any final salary benefits or active status on previously accrued benefits in career average. If the break is more than five years, then this is treated as a disqualifying break. 

Teachers starting their induction on or after 1 September 2021 are known as 'early career teachers'. Their induction period lasts for two years.

Pensions can be taken from the age of 55 (or earlier if due to ill-health). Where a pension is being paid out before the Normal Pension Age (NPA) for those benefits the amount is reduced using actuarial factors because it’s being paid out for a longer period than if taken at NPA. Previously known as Actuarially Adjusted Benefit.

Your earnings limit is the amount you can earn each year in teaching employment, following retirement, before your pension becomes subject to abatement. The earnings limit is also referred to as a ‘Salary of Reference’, which can be found on the award papers you received when you retired. The earnings limit is the revalued ‘Salary of Reference’.  The earnings limit and abatement of pension only applies with respect to final salary pensions that you take on or after the normal pension age for those benefits (either 60 or 65), but any teacher’s pension you receive, including career average pension, is taken into account when assessing if you have reached your earnings limit.  

In respect of family benefits, a child, adopted child or child who was accepted as part of the member's family and wholly or partially dependent upon the member prior to the member's death, who is under the age of 17, or, if they have been in continuous full-time education or training, under the age of 23.

An eligible employer is a Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) employer during the remedy period. If members are affected by excess service during this period as part of the Transitional Protection changes, they’ll have the opportunity to transfer this service to the LGPS. 

Under Auto-Enrolment legislation, employers must enrol eligible jobholders into a suitable pension scheme. The criteria for eligibility under auto-enrolment are different than for contractual enrolment into the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

The Employer Portal is the system used for securely exchanging data about pension scheme members between Teachers’ Pensions and data holders (e.g., employers, payroll/HR providers). It also provides the facility for online applications from members to be administered.

These relate to when members were contracted out of the state pension scheme. A number is assigned to identify employers and schemes for tax purposes. The Teachers' Pensions ECON is: E3900002R. The Teachers' Pensions SCON is: S2730011H.

Pension benefits may be enhanced if a member retires after their Normal Pension Age to reflect the fact that the benefits will be paid for a shorter period of time.

Members who retire on the grounds of ill-health and receive a total incapacity pension will have their accrued pension benefits enhanced to take account of the nominal pension accrual between the date of the Ill-health Retirement and the Normal Pension Age for those benefits.

Excess service means a member who has a full-time contract, plus additional part-time contracts. The additional part-time contract(s) are excess service. In the final salary scheme this service isn’t pensionable.

Employment which would be pensionable except the member has opted out of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Alternatively, the member has not made an election for part-time service or post-retirement service to be treated as pensionable.

Short-term and long-term pension payable to the spouse or nominated partner of a deceased member, and/or to children of a deceased member.

A flexibility option available to members to increase their pension through adding a larger fraction of their pensionable earnings to it. Each election lasts for one year (April - March) and must be made before the start of the Scheme year (April).

The salary used to calculate a member’s final salary pension benefits based on the most beneficial of the following: either the last 365 days salary or the best three years’ salary over the previous 10 years plus any applicable inflation. If a member has part-time employment, their full-time equivalent salary will always be used in the calculation.

The final salary scheme is split into two categories: 80th Those who joined the scheme prior to the 01/01/2007 entered the 80th section with a Normal Pension Age (NPA) of 60 60th Those who joined the Scheme on or after the 01/01/2007 entered the 60th section with a NPA of 65.  From 1 April 2015 new entrants join the career average scheme and since 1 April 2022 all active members will be in the career average scheme.  

A financial dependant is anyone who relies financially on a Scheme member for things such as money, clothes or food. This might include children, spouses, nominated partners or relatives.

This can be several different situations but a broad example of this is co-habiting partners who share household bills.

Refer to the ways in which a member can accrue extra pension in the Scheme: Additional Pension; Faster Accrual; and the Buy-out of the standard rate of actuarial reduction. 

This is the minimum pension any scheme must provide as a condition of being contracted out of the state additional pension scheme.

HMRC is the former name of the Inland Revenue.

HM Treasury is the government’s economic and finance ministry, maintaining control over public spending and setting the direction of the UK’s economic policy.

Ill-health retirement allows members who are too ill to teach to access their pension benefits before the minimum pension age of 55. An application is made to Teachers’ Pensions accompanied by medical evidence and a board of medical advisors assess the application.

If you’re already claiming your benefits, but have service in the period affected by Transitional Protection changes (known as the remedy period), you’ll be asked to make a choice between final salary or career average scheme benefits. The remedy period covers 1 April 2015 - 31 March 2022.

A member is ‘in service’ if they’re actively contributing to the Scheme through their appropriate employment.

Being index-linked protects your pension against rises in inflation, which means your pension may increase but will never decrease.

The amount of a benefit or salary after it has been revalued in accordance with an index. For example, in the career average scheme benefits are revalued in line with Consumer Price Index + 1.6% for active members, or by the Pensions Increase (Review) Order for deferred members.

A part-time teacher without fixed, regular hours in each pay period or a short-term fixed hours contract.

This is the unique employer identifier, e.g., 123/1234.

These are required by government to make necessary changes to the Scheme to rectify age discrimination. The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices legislates how the government will remove the discrimination identified by the courts in relation to the way the 2015 reform of public service pensions were introduced for some members.

The Lifetime Allowance or LTA is the amount of pension benefits that can be taken before a tax charge is payable at the point the pension benefits come into payment

The LGA are a politically-led, cross-party organisation that works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government.

The annual pension due to the spouse/civil partner and/or child(ren) following the death of a member. Where the member was active in the scheme up until their death the long-term pension is paid after the short-term pension ceases.

The compensation that increases a member’s pension when they have been offered Premature Retirement. This refers to the annual pension and any applicable lump sum.

Maternity leave is a period of absence attributed to the mother available when a child is born and / or adopted. While on maternity leave, contributions from the member and employer are still paid into the Scheme and service will be classed as continuous. If the member ceases to be paid (either salary and/ or statutory pay), no contributions are made and the period without pay is non-pensionable.

This judgment found that both the judges’(MCloud) and firefighters (Sergeant) pension schemes were unfavourable to some of their members when the reform changes were introduced in 2015 on the grounds of age discrimination.  This means changes are needed to be made to all public service pension schemes, including the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

If you’ve service in the Scheme before 1 January 2007 and have taken a break of more than five years before returning to pensionable service. Mixed service means you have a Normal Pension Age (NPA) of 60 for service before 1 January 2007 and an NPA of 65 for service after this date.

This is an employer service which looks to reconcile service, salary and paid contributions. 

Monthly Data Collection or MDC provides employers with the means to submit service and salary information on their employees monthly rather than via the Annual Service Return.

Multiple employment is where a member is in part-time pensionable employment concurrently with more than one Teachers’ Pension Scheme employer. In the career average arrangement members can be in concurrent employments that, combined, are more than a full-time position.

My Pension Online (MPO) is our online personalised PIN protected portal for members. It gives instant access to the latest view of a Benefit Statement, the ability to update details and provides access to a range of forms and resources.

A member can nominate one of more people to receive a death grant in the event of their death. If a member is married or in a civil partnership, the death grant is automatically paid to them (unless a previous nomination is in place) and a nomination isn’t necessary.

The age at which you're eligible to claim retirement benefits without actuarial reduction.

A member can opt back into the Scheme after opting-out by completing the online form on My Pension Online. Once complete, contributions are taken from the first day of the following month that the form is received.

Opting out allows a member to choose to stop paying contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. This will also include any employer contributions. Any pension previously built up will be deferred until a member chooses to opt-in again or take their benefits (if applicable).

If an employer pays overtime, the overtime is classed as pensionable earnings (in the career average scheme).

Members who aren’t full-time employees are classed as part-time. This can either be regular or irregular part-time depending on the nature of the contract with their employer.

An option which allows members to increase the pension they receive at retirement by increasing their pensionable service. It's no longer available having been replaced by Additional Pension from 1 January 2007. Existing elections through instalments can continue to be paid until the end of agreed contribution period.

Paternity leave is a period of absence attributed to the father available when a child is born and / or adopted. While on paternity leave, contributions from the member and employer are still paid into the Scheme and service will be classed as continuous. If the member ceases to be paid (either salary and/ or statutory pay), no contributions are made and the period without pay is non-pensionable.

The date that the first pension payment is paid. This can vary depending on service and circumstances.

A pension credit member is a member of the Scheme having been granted a proportion of a member’s pension through a 'Pension on Divorce' or 'Pension Sharing Order'. A pension credit member may also be a member of the Scheme in their own right.

A pension debit member is a member of the Scheme who grants a proportion of a their pension through a 'Pension on Divorce' or 'Pension Sharing Order'.

This is a number assigned to a workplace pension scheme by the Pension Regulator (TPR) which is used to demonstrate compliance to TPR. The Teachers' Pension Scheme registry number is 10005209 (2010 scheme and earlier) and 10276733 (2015 scheme).

Pension schemes often provide members who move jobs or change professions with a time limited opportunity to transfer benefits out of the Scheme (in the case of leavers), or into the Scheme (in the case of joiners).

This is any period of full or part-time employment between the ages of 18 and 75, where a member is entitled to receive at least half their salary and on which pension contributions were paid. This includes sickness absence and family leave.

Pensionable salary is your contributable salary (the salary on which you pay pension contributions).

Service that is active and on which pension contributions are paid.

A pensioner in the Teachers' Pension Scheme is one who is in receipt of their pension directly from the Scheme. Also known as a retired member. 

An independent and free service offering impartial advice and assistance for members who have queries or complaints about their pension scheme / pension scheme administrator.

You have the option to access your pension benefits from age 55 without having to give up work completely. Phased Retirement allows you to decide how much you wish to take of the benefits you have accrued - up to a maximum of 75% of your total benefits.  

If a member is made redundant from the age of 55, but before they reach their Normal Pension Age, they can take their pension without any reduction if the employer offers to compensate for the difference. Premature Retirement is always at the discretion of the employer.

These benefits are paid to the member when they reach their Normal Pension Age if they’ve left the Scheme and haven’t transferred their entitlement to another pension scheme.

A member of the Scheme who originally joined the final salary scheme and was within 10 years of their normal pension age on 1 April 2012. They’ll have remained in the final salary scheme until retirement.

Prudential administer the Teachers' Additional Voluntary Contributions scheme.

These are transfers between pension schemes for members of the public sector transfer arrangements. Schemes include Teachers, Local Government, Civil Service, NHS, Police, Firefighters, Army and Judiciary.

The period of active membership of the Scheme required to qualify for pension benefits. The qualifying period is two years, or one year for additional service after retirement and includes service that runs across both the final salary and career average schemes.

Teaching employment undertaken after a member has accessed their pension benefits in full (i.e., not Phased Retirement).

Members who don’t have qualifying service can take a repayment of their contributions from the Scheme. To take a repayment, they need to be either opted-out if they’re still in a role that is eligible in the Scheme or be in a role that isn't eligible. Repayments are subject to tax.

Reckonable Service is any service that counted for benefits in the final salary scheme. It could include service from pensionable employment, any additional service previously purchased, and any service credited into Teachers’ Pensions from another pension scheme.

This is the career average scheme. 

The period of service affected by the Transitional Protection changes, which is 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022.

Where a teacher is provided with accommodation and associated services as part of their contract of employment, the value of this can be treated as part of their pensionable earnings.

Where a teacher's salary increases by more than 10% or a fixed amount, the increase for the purpose of determining final average salary is restricted to whichever increase (10% or fixed amount) is highest.

All of the pensionable service accrued in the career average scheme during the remedy period (1 April 2015 - 31 March 2022) will be moved to the final salary scheme when legislation takes effect on 1 October 2023. This is referred to as 'roll back'.

Members who transitioned from final salary to career average on or after 1 April 2015 have salary link protection, which provides for the salary earned under the career average scheme to be used when calculating the final average salary for final salary scheme pension benefits.

Under the Teachers' Pension Scheme the only salary sacrifice arrangements that are pensionable are for childcare vouchers and mobile phones.

The Teachers' Pensions SCON is: S2730011H.

Every four years, the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) conducts a valuation of all unfunded public service pension schemes. Teachers’ Pensions is one of these schemes. The valuation is the process by which scheme costs are measured and managed.  It assesses the long-term cost of providing pensions and other benefits to members of each public service pension scheme and determines the appropriate employer contribution rates going forward.

Previous name given to the Employer Portal.

Life expectancy of less than 12 months.

Where a member does not qualify for a further pension following a period of additional service after retirement, a short service pension or annuity is provided based on pension contributions and actuarial factors.

If a member who has not qualified for pension benefits but with more than 12 months qualifying service leaves their job due to serious ill-health, they are entitled to a grant based on the higher of 1/6th of their annual rate of pensionable earnings or their contributions.

The pension paid for three months following the death of an active member. It is equivalent to the full-time rate of pensionable earnings the member would have received during the period.

SERPS and State Second Pension (S2P) was also known as the Additional State Pension. SERPS ran from 6 April 1978 to 5 April 2002 when it was replaced by the S2P.

The age at which you're eligible to receive your State Pension.

When a member passes away within five years of taking their pension, a supplementary death grant will be paid to their beneficiary. This death grant will be calculated by using five times the member’s annual pension, minus what they’ve already received.

Any surviving eligible beneficiaries at the point that a member passes away.

The funds available to an eligible surviving beneficiary when a member passes away.

A member who joined prior to 1 April 2015 and who, due to being more than 10 years but less than 13.5 years away from their normal pension age on the 1 April 2012, transitioned to the career average scheme after the 1 April 2015 following a period of tapered protection.

The Regulations set out the rules in place for providing pension benefits to members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The Teachers’ Pension Scheme currently has two sets of active regulations. These are the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations 2010 (Statutory Instrument 2010 No.990) and the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations 2014 (Statutory Instrument 2014 No.512).

The award given to a member who has successfully applied for Ill-health Retirement and who is deemed no longer fit to work in a teaching role or any other type of gainful employment.

The TPS Pension Board (TPSPB) was established to give Scheme members, tax payers and others confidence that the scheme is being efficiently and effectively administered. It has a role in ensuring that the services provided reflect the needs of the membership and employers.

Transfer of Undertakings (often referred to as TUPE) is where a body becomes a person’s employer through an enactment regarding the transfer of staff.

A member who was previously in either the 80th or 60th sections of the final salary schemes who transitioned into the career average scheme on or after 1 April 2015.

Transitional Protection allowed those members, who were within 10 years of their normal retirement age, to remain in their final salary schemes, while other members moved to the new career average schemes in, or after, 2015.

An order made by HM Treasury laid in Parliament. This is used in the active revaluation of career average pension and is expected to mirror the Consumer Price Index rate from the previous September.

A member who was previously in either the 80th or 60th sections of the final salary scheme who transitioned into the career average scheme on or after 1 April 2015.