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How to get an NHS Pension Refund

  • July 17, 2019

What is the NHS Pension Scheme?

When you start working within the NHS, you will automatically be included in the NHS Pension Scheme. It is important to note that you can choose to opt-out of the Scheme, if you would prefer. In this blog post, we share how much of a pension contribution to expect and how to claim a refund if you decide that you do not want to be enrolled within the MTI Scheme.

How much do I contribute to my NHS Pension?

You will pay a percentage of your gross salary into your pension each month. This is then topped up by your employer contributions (listed below) and you will also receive pension tax relief on your contributions.

Salary Range

Contribution Rate









When will I receive my NHS Pension?

You will receive your pension at the “normal pension age”. You can retire early and claim your pension once you reach the minimum pension age (55). However, your pension benefits will be reduced, to reflect the fact your pension will pay out for longer.

The “normal pension” age varies depending on what section of the scheme you are in:

  • 1995 section: 60 years of age
  • 2008 section: 65 years of age
  • 2015 section: state pension age (65 for men and 64 for women)

What if I have made contributions into my pension but decide I do not want to pay anymore?

If you want to obtain the money you have paid into your pension, you may be eligible for a refund. To qualify, you must:

  • Have no continuing membership upon reaching the Normal Pension Age
  • Have ceased membership of the Scheme in all employments
  • Have less than two years qualifying membership in the NHS Pension Scheme
  • Have not had a transfer into the NHS Pension Scheme from a personal, money purchase or stakeholder pension

If you have re-entered pensionable NHS employment after a break of 12 months or more, you may be entitled to a refund of your earlier contributions.

You do not qualify for a refund if:

  • You have two years or more qualifying membership
  • You have reached Normal Pension Age during this period of membership for which a refund is being requested

How do I apply for an NHS Pension Refund?

If you believe that you qualify for an NHS Pension Refund, you will need to complete the application form, labelled refund of a pension contributions (RF12). Please click here to download the form.

You will need to complete Part 1 and then give Part 2 to your HR department to fill out.

How long will it take until I obtain my refund?

After your request has been processed and approved, the payment can take 5-10 working days until after that letter. Please note, the refund will be less than the pension contributions you have made. This is because, by law, your hospital will have to make two deductions. One is to cover the cost of you reinstating in the State Second Pension Scheme and the second in respect of income tax.

Can I rejoin the Scheme after I have had a refund?

Yes, you can rejoin the NHS Pension Scheme after a 24-hour break.  

Relocation to the UK

If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK.

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Davies, P. (2019). NHS pension schemes explained. [online] Which? Money. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jul. 2019]. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jul. 2019].


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