In addition to your FPS benefits, you may also qualify for a state retirement pension paid by the Government from State Pension age.
What is the State Pension?
Before 6 April 2016 the State Pension was made up of two parts, the basic State Pension and the additional State Pension. The additional State Pension part was known as the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) from 1978 followed by the Second State Pension (S2P) from 2002. How much additional State Pension you received depended on your National Insurance contributions.
As a member of the FPS you were automatically contracted out of the additional State Pension between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2016. This means that during this period, and while you were a member of the FPS, you would not have not been built up much, if any, additional State Pension as you were building up pension benefits in the FPS instead.
The rules have changed over the years, but for the period from 6 April 1978 to 5 April 1997 the amount of extra pension you would have earned if you had not been contracted out of the additional State Pension is called your Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP). This GMP forms part of your FPS pension (it is not paid in addition to it).
From 6 April 2016 the Government introduced a new single tier State Pension; this replaced the basic and additional State Pension and ended contracting out of the additional state pension. The new State Pension will be payable to you if you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. You can find more information about the new State Pension on the Government's website.
Find out your State Pension age
You can use www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension to find out your State Pension age.
Topping up your State Pension
You should be aware that, as a member of the FPS, if you are eligible for the new State Pension you might not receive the full amount. This is because as a member of the FPS you are likely to have paid a lower amount of National Insurance in previous years.
The topping up your State Pension page lists the various ways a person may top up their State Pension, depending on their circumstances and when they reach State Pension age.
The Money Advice Service website also has information on the options available to individuals looking to top up their state pension.
Contracted-out Pension Equivalent (COPE)
As part of the changes to the State Pension introduced in April 2016 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced a term called Contracted-out Pension Equivalent (COPE).
COPE is an estimated amount for those who were previously ‘contracted-out’ of the additional State Pension to see how National Insurance (NI) contributions paid before 6 April 2016 will contribute to their overall pension income.
More information can be found on our Contracted-out Pension Equivalent (COPE) page.