Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

The NHSBSA's responses to Freedom of Information requests. read more


Open Government Licence 3.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]



I am emailing you with a question regarding the NHS pension scheme.

I am wanting to find out how many people are owed an NHS pension, but aren’t claiming it.

In each of the past five tax years,

1.How many scheme members are past the normal pension age and are retired, but have not claimed their pension?

  1. How much annually are these pensions worth overall?

  2. What efforts does the NHSBSA make to trace people who are not claiming their pension?

  3. What happens to the money that is not being claimed? Is it ringfenced, or is it put back into the NHS?

  4. Can NHS pension scheme members who find out they are missing their pension claim to have payments backdated, and how many do this? What proportion are successful?

On 17 April you clarified the following:

• There may be members who are currently claiming an NHS Pension in a different scheme. Would you like to include these members in the data? Yes please, let’s include them if we can.

• With reference to “each of the past five tax years” does this relate to the date a member’s pension benefits became payable? Yes


Question 1

As advised in our email on 17 April 2024 we do not hold information on whether a member has retired. This is an employment state which we do not record. For example, members may have claimed their pension and still be working or may not have claimed or be contributing to the scheme, but still be in NHS employment. The figures attached relate to the number of pension members who could claim pension benefits based on various ages, depending on which scheme they’re in.

Question 2

Following a search of our paper and electronic records, the information you requested is not held by the NHSBSA.

The value of a pension is only calculated when it is claimed. This means that the value is not known for members who have not claimed their pension.

Question 3

It is the responsibility of the member to apply for their NHS Pension. We contact members when they approach their normal pension age to inform them that they may be able to claim their NHS Pension Scheme benefits. No tracing is carried out for members who have yet to claim their pension after normal retirement age.

Question 4

The NHS Pension Scheme is an unfunded Public Service Pension Scheme with benefits backed by the Exchequer, so there is no fund in which benefits not yet claimed are held.

Question 5

For active members of the NHS Pension Scheme, pension benefits become payable when they leave NHS employment. Members who have pension benefits they can claim will have their payments backdated to the payable date automatically. All who are eligible will be successful, but the number is not held.


Please read the below notes to ensure correct understanding of the data. Members are counted once for question 1, based on the combination of unclaimed scheme benefits they have. Members may be in receipt of benefits from the same or other schemes they have unclaimed benefits from. Members might still be actively contributing to the NHS Pension Scheme in an ongoing employment, and while they might be over the normal pension age to claim those benefits, they aren’t technically eligible until they stop working.

Normal pension age for the 1995 scheme is 60, and for the 2008 scheme is 65. The normal pension age for the 2015 scheme can vary and is based on the members state pension age. A small number of 1995 members may have a normal pension age of 55, if they meet regulatory criteria relating to Mental Health Officer Status (MHO) or Special Class Status (SCS). Due to the complexity and inaccuracy of identifying if members have these benefits prior to retirement, all 1995 service has been assessed against a pension age of 60. Publishing this response

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Last Updated May 23, 2024, 14:28 (UTC)
Created May 16, 2024, 14:55 (UTC)