As a general rule a member of a UK registered pension scheme must reach a specified age before he can draw his pension, the normal minimum pension age (“NMPA”). This will rise from 50 to 55 on 6 April 2010.
The rise in the NMPA will mean that any pension payment to a member from a pension scheme prior to the NMPA on or after 6 April 2010 will amount to an unauthorised payment. The member will be liable to income tax on such payment.
Two exceptions allow payments from a pension scheme to be made to member before he has reached the NMPA:
- a member can receive payments from a pension on or after 6 April 2010 if he satisfies the condition of ill-health.
Protected Pension Ages
- a member with an unqualified right or prospective right (that is, a right which does not require consent or permission to effect it) to receive a pension between 50 and 55 on 5 April 2006 will be entitled to exercise that right after 6 April 2010 irrespective of whether he meets the NMPA. In addition, the right must have been contained in the pension scheme’s governing documents on 10 December 2003, this being the date on which the Government announced its intention to effect the NMPA change.
Employers and trustees should be aware of the change and review scheme documentation to establish whether any members have protected pension ages. Employers should also consider amending their schemes to note the new NMPA where necessary and inform appropriate members of the NMPA change and its effect.