News 

This section provides specific news for Active Members of the scheme, from our upcoming events, to the latest contribution bands. 

On-line Pre-Retirement Course – 9 November 2020 - new

 

 

 


Keeping your retirement plans on track can be a challenging task and it is now more important than ever to make sure you are in control of your retirement plans.

To guide you through the options available, Dorset County Pension fund have engaged Affinity Connect - a specialist provider of financial education in the public sector – to provide a dedicated 2 hour Pre-Retirement Online Course.

This is for those of you who are:

  • Thinking about retiring or taking your pension benefits within the next three years
  • Wanting to understand some of the key financial considerations about retirement

The Presenter will address some of the key questions and considerations when approaching retirement and will cover essential topics such as:

  • Income needs in retirement
  • The state pension
  • Workplace pension savings
  • Other savings and investments
  • Inflation
  • Tax allowances
  • Next steps and further guidance

Don't miss out, spaces are limited, please see below for a list of dates:

Online Course Date

Time

9 November 2020

1.00pm – 3.00pm

 

To find out more or book onto a course, please call Affinity Connect on 0800 0196 076 or email bookings@affinityconnect.org

Please note the online course will provide information only and will not include or constitute regulated financial advice.
Affinity Connect is a trading name of Affinity Connect Limited which is a member of the Wealth at Work group of companies. Registered in England and Wales No. 04256854. Registered Office: 5 Temple Square, Temple Street, Liverpool L2 5RH. Telephone calls may be recorded and monitored for training and record-keeping purposes
 

 



Coronavirus COVID-19 message

COVID-19 update

The Dorset County Pension Fund will be running a reduced service during the current COVID-19 health crisis as, like many organisations, we are affected by staffing shortages and travel restrictions.

Therefore, during this current crisis, we will be responding to, and dealing with, urgent enquiries and cases as our priority. Our focus will be the payment of all pension benefits to our members and their dependants.

Members are encouraged to use My Pension our secure on-line member self-service facility to perform pension estimates and upload documents to Dorset County Pension Fund.

If you have not done so already, please sign up to My Pension by visiting https://mypension.dorsetcc.gov.uk

If you need to communicate with the fund on an urgent issue or send in documents, please note that using email or the document upload facility on My Pension will ensure a much quicker response. Either scanning your documents or providing good quality photographs will enable the team to process your request.

We appreciate your understanding and support during this difficult time.



Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for LGPS members

1. I am concerned about my financial situation because of the COVID-19 – what can I do? 

The Money Advice Service has published guidance on how to deal with the financial effects that you may be suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. It covers all aspects of your finances including problems with paying mortgage and rent payments, debt and claiming benefits.

2. Can I stop my pension contributions?

Yes, but you might want to consider joining the 50/50 section of the LGPS instead of opting out. If you do, you’ll pay half your normal contribution rate and build up half your normal pension. You will retain full life and ill health cover and you can move back to the main section whenever you are ready.

You can use the contributions calculator to check what difference this would make to your take home pay.

If after considering the 50/50 section you decide you would like to opt out, you can obtain an opt out form by contacting Dorset County Pension Fund by e-mailing pensionshelpline@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or calling 01305 224845.

You should take independent financial advice before deciding to opt out.

3. The coronavirus pandemic is affecting stock markets, will this affect the value of my LGPS pension?  

No, the LGPS is a defined benefit pension scheme which means your pension is based on your salary and how long you’ve paid in. Your pension is not linked to stock market performance, so both your contributions and your pension, whether in payment or not, will be unaffected.

The only exception to this is Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). If you have an AVC, it is possible the value may have reduced - this will depend on the funds you have chosen to invest in. You should contact your AVC provider for more information about this.

4. I am receiving a pension from the LGPS, will my pension still be paid to me?

Yes, Dorset County Pension Fund will prioritise paying pensions during these uncertain times.

5. If my pay is reduced, what impact will this have on my pension?

This will depend on the reason for the reduction:

-       Sick leave

If your pay is reduced or you receive no pay because you are off work due to sickness or injury, your pension builds up as if you were at work receiving normal pay.

You will continue to pay contributions on any pay you receive during your sick leave.

-       Authorised unpaid leave

If your employer allows or requires you to take a period of unpaid leave, you will not build up any pension for the period unless you choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to purchase the amount of pension lost.

If you choose to pay APCs to purchase the amount of pension lost and you make your election to do this within 30 days of returning to work, the cost will be split between you and your employer.

You can find more information, use an online calculator and download an application form from the LGPS member website.

-       Coronavirus job retention scheme leave

The Government has confirmed that they do not expect public sector organisations, such as councils, to use the coronavirus job retention scheme, except in some very limited cases. Public sector employers should continue to pay staff in the normal way even if they are not at work.

If your employer is able to use the job retention scheme and you both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.  

If this applies to you, your employer could pay 80% of your wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500. The Government will fund your employer to do this. Employers can choose to top up your pay to 100%, but if you receive less pay when you are ‘on furlough’, the amount of pension you build up during this period will also be reduced. You will continue to pay pension contributions on the pay you receive.

You can pay Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) to buy extra pension to make up for the pension lost during this period. Your employer does not have to pay towards the cost, but they can choose to.  

You can find more information about paying APCs, use an online calculator and download an application form from the LGPS member website.

The GOV.UK website provides more information on the job retention scheme for employees.

-       Emergency Volunteering Leave (EVL)

The Government has introduced a new volunteering scheme to allow the public to contribute to the coronavirus response. The scheme allows workers to take unpaid statutory emergency volunteering leave to volunteer in health and social care authorities.

If you take a period of EVL, your LGPS pension benefits will build up in the same way as if you were working normally.

You will only pay contributions on any actual pay your employer pays you during the period.

-       Other reasons

For information about the impact on your pension if you are away from work for any other reason, such as child related leave or reserve forces leave, see the LGPS member website.

6. How will coronavirus (COVID-19) affect the service my local LGPS fund provides?

The Dorset County Pension Fund will be running a reduced service due to the current COVID-19 health crisis as, like many organisations, we are affected by staffing shortages and travel restrictions.

Therefore, during this current crisis, we will be responding to, and dealing with, urgent enquiries and cases as our priority. Our focus will be the payment of all pension benefits to our members and their dependants, so it may take longer than normal to deal with other work, such as transfers, estimate requests and general queries.

Members are encouraged to use My Pension our secure on-line member self-service facility to perform pension estimates and upload documents to Dorset County Pension Fund. If you have not done so already, please sign up to My Pension by going to https://mypension.dorsetcc.gov.uk.  

If you need to communicate with the fund on an urgent issue or send in documents, please note that using email or the document upload facility on My Pension will ensure a much quicker response. Either scanning your documents or providing good quality photographs will enable the team to process your request.

We appreciate your understanding and support during this difficult time

7. Could pension scams increase during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?

Yes, watch out for scams related to coronavirus (COVID-19). These scams take many forms and could be about insurance policies, pensions transfers, or high-return investment opportunities, including investments in crypto assets.

Scammers are sophisticated, opportunistic and will try many things. They’re also very likely to target the vulnerable. Beware of investments that appear to be too good be true. 

To help protect yourself you should:

  • reject offers that come out of the blue
  • beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
  • use the Financial Services Register and Warning List to check who you’re dealing with
  • do not click links or open emails from senders you don't already know
  • avoid being rushed or pressured into making a decision
  • if a firm calls you unexpectedly, use the contact details on the Register to check that you’re dealing with the genuine firm
  • not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details).

If you suspect a scam, call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040.



Changes to survivor benefits for same sex spouses and civil partners

A change to the scheme rules has been made to provide that survivor benefits payable to a same sex spouse or a civil partner are equal to those paid to the widow of a male member. 

Why has the change been made?

The change has been made as a result of a Supreme Court judgment (Walker v Innopsec) which found that Mr Walker’s male spouse was entitled to the same benefits that would have been paid if Mr Walker had left a widow in an opposite sex marriage.

Why does this apply to the LGPS?

The government believes that the implication of this judgment for all public service pensions schemes, including the LGPS, is that surviving civil partners or surviving same sex spouses should be provided with benefits equal to those that would be left to the widow of a male member. 

When does the change take effect from?

The change is backdated to the date that civil partnerships and same sex marriages were introduced – this is 5 December 2005 for civil partnerships and 13 March 2014 for same sex marriages.

This means that where a member of the LGPS has died leaving a surviving civil partner or a same sex spouse, the survivor’s pension in payment will need to be reviewed and any additional amounts paid, where applicable. We are in the process of reviewing the impact of this change and will be contacting affected civil partners and same sex spouses in due course.



Contribution Bands 2020/21

The following table displays the 2020/21 bands

If your actual pensionable pay is:
You pay a contribution rate of:
 
Main Section
50/50 Section
Up to £14,600
5.50%
2.75%
£14,601 to £22,800
5.80%
2.90%
£22,801 to £37,100
6.50%
3.25%
£37,101 to £46,900
6.80%
3.40%
£46,901 to £65,600
8.50%
4.25%
£65,601 to £93,000
9.90%
4.95%
£93,001 to £109,500
10.50%
5.25%
£109,501 to £164,200
11.40%
5.70%
£164,201 or more
12.50%
6.25%

 



The New State Pension and National Insurance Changes

The New State Pension and National Insurance Changes

 



LGPS National Insurance Database - Privacy Notice

What is the LGPS National Insurance Database?

Dorset County Pension Fund participates in a data sharing project with other LGPS pension funds in England, Wales and Scotland. This is undertaken in order to comply with legal requirements contained in the LGPS’s governing regulations.

Provisions contained in the LGPS Regulations 2013 mean that, if a member of the LGPS dies, it is necessary for the scheme’s administrators to know if the individual also had other periods of LGPS membership elsewhere in the country so that the right death benefits can be calculated and paid to the deceased member’s dependants.

As the LGPS is locally administered, each pension fund has its own membership records and it can be difficult to tell if an individual has other LGPS records and where these are held. To comply with the requirements set out above, a national Database has been developed that will enable funds to check if their members have LGPS pensions records in other pension funds.

What data is shared?                                                       

For each member of the LGPS, the Database contains a short entry containing:

·         The individual’s National Insurance Number,

·         A number to denote the individual’s membership status,

·         The last calendar year that the membership status changed, and

·         A four digit number confirming the LGPS pension fund where that member’s record is held.

Who hosts the Database?

The Database is hosted at the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, an LGPS pension fund.

How will the data held on the Database be processed?

The data held on the Database will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant legislation.

Are there any other purposes that the Database will be used for?

An extract of the membership information contained in the Database will periodically be shared with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that the LGPS can join the Tell Us Once service. Tell Us Once is a service offered in most parts of the country when an individual registers a death. When the LGPS joins Tell Us Once and the death of an LGPS member is registered, the DWP systems will ensure that the LGPS pension fund is informed of the death, meaning that the member’s records can be processed more quickly and simply than would otherwise be the case.

Who is the data shared with?

Other LGPS pension funds. These are all public bodies named in legislation as administering authorities of the LGPS.

For the Tell Us Once service, an extract of the Database containing individuals’ NI Numbers will be securely shared with DWP every month so that they may maintain an up-to-date record of the LGPS’s membership.

How long will this data sharing be undertaken for?

For as long as a) the relevant regulatory requirements remain, and b) the LGPS participates in the Tell Us Once service.

In the event that neither of the above apply, the data sharing will cease to be undertaken.

Can I opt out of this data sharing?

No. As this data sharing is partly being undertaken to comply with a legal requirement, it is not possible for scheme members to opt out of the data sharing.

What do I do if I have any queries?

To find out more about this data sharing or if you have any questions, please contact us:

Dorset County Pension Fund

 

Telephone:      01305 224845 

Fax:                01305 224049

Email: pensionshelpline@dorsetcc.gov.uk

 

Address:        

Dorset County Pension Fund

County Hall

Dorchester

Dorset

DT1 1XJ