Pension Ages - frequently asked questions

A: If the scheme rules allow it, it is be possible for benefits to be taken from age 55 or earlier due to ill-health.

A: The retirement age range is from 55 with no upper age limit. This applies to all schemes, including those that were set up for people who have traditionally been allowed low normal retirement ages for example, professional sports people and models. There are transitional arrangements for those with these low retirement ages before 6 April 2006 (A-Day) who retire after A-Day.

There are still occupational pension schemes that have a normal retirement age below age 55, these schemes relate to the Armed Forces, Police and Fire Brigade

A: The minimum pension age for GMP benefits is 60 for females and 65 for males.

A: Under all of the following types of ill health the Trustees of the scheme will need to obtain medical evidence that proves that the member is incapable of carrying out their job because of physical or mental impairment.

It's possible for members to take their benefits before age 55 in the case of ill-health.

The scheme administrator has medical evidence that the member is, and will continue to be, medically incapable (either physically or mentally) of continuing his or her current occupation as a result of injury, sickness, disease or disability, and as a result of the ill-health the member ceases to carry on that occupation.

The normal tax-free cash rules apply to the benefits paid.

The annual allowance applies in the year benefits are taken.

Severe ill-health
It's possible for members to take their benefits before age 55 in the case of severe ill-health.

The member is unlikely to be able to do any type of gainful work, other than in an insignificant way, before State Pension Age.

The normal tax-free cash rules apply to the benefits paid.

The annual allowance does NOT apply in the year they are taken.

Serious ill-health
It's possible for members to commute their benefits for a lump sum on the grounds of serious ill health. There is no minimum age.

Before this can be done the trustees will need to obtain medical evidence that the member's life expectancy is less than 1 year. The amount of the benefits will be tested against the lifetime allowance and benefits in excess will be liable to the lifetime allowance charge.

If the member is under age 75 it will be paid tax-free. If the member is 75 or over the benefits will be taxed at their marginal rate of tax.

If benefits are taken under the serious ill-health rules the annual allowance does NOT apply in the year they are taken.

In all of the above cases restrictions apply to Guaranteed Minimum Pension benefits.

HMRC - Pensions Tax Manual - PTM051200 - when the annual allowance charge does not apply

HMRC - Pensions Tax Manual - PTM062100 - Early payment of benefits on health grounds

HMRC - Pensions Tax Manual - PTM063400 - lump sums: serious ill-health lump sum

A: Legally there is no upper age by which benefits have to be taken. 

However, some products may have a maximum age that benefits have to be taken by.  You should check with the provider.

Further reading

HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM062100: Member benefits: pensions: pension age


The information provided is based on our current understanding of the relevant legislation and regulations and may be subject to alteration as a result of changes in legislation or practice. Also it may not reflect the options available under a specific product which may not be as wide as legislations and regulations allow.

All references to taxation are based on our understanding of current taxation law and practice and may be affected by future changes in legislation and the individual circumstances of the investor.


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The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.