One of the problems with life, especially within financial services, is you do not know what you don’t know, until you find out. Remember Donald Rumsfeld and his known unknowns and his unknown unknowns? (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld). What applies to warfare also applies to pensions. Some things are known, some things are unknown and some things are unknowable in advance without direct experience or using an expert.
Pensions Expert, (www.pensions-expert.com), reported an ombudsman’s finding where the dependent of a deceased member wanted a local authority pension to be recalculated. They wanted it enhanced on the basis of an ill-health pension that the deceased member did not take at the time. The member had taken an early retirement pension following redundancy and the dependent was attempting to maximize the total income received from the scheme following the member’s demise.
As the full article is subject to an access restriction, you may not be able to read it at http://www.pensions-expert.com/DB-Derisking/Ombudsman-ill-health-decision-underscores-complexity-for-members, but the key message to take away is dependents and members cannot rewrite history in the light of unfolding events. Pension schemes and pension trustees act for the pension scheme and cannot give detailed guidance or advice to a member or dependent at retirement. A decision taken at the point of retirement is binding, so if there is any doubt, the member must obtain independent professional advice.
For many final salary schemes, like the local authority scheme or the Civil Service pension, there is a significant difference between ill health retirement, retirement before normal retirement age and retirement at normal retirement age. There are a number of implications, good and bad, for any specific decision, so unless you are an expert, you must be willing to take the consequences.
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The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.