The Rule of 85 allowed members to retire after age 60 without any reduction to their pension where their age and length of scheme membership (in whole years) added up to 85. The rule was removed from the scheme regulations with effect from 1 December 2006. However, certain protections remain in place for members who joined the scheme prior to this date.


Benefits protected by the Rule of 85 are payable without reduction from the later of:
· Age 60 (if the member meets the Rule of 85 criteria on or before this date)
· The date the member satisfies the Rule of 85 (if between 60 and 65)
· Age 65
Different levels of protection apply depending on your age, and these are outlined below.


Group 1 - members born before 1 April 1960 who joined the scheme before 1 December 2006:
· All benefits accrued up to 31 March 2020 are protected by the Rule of 85
· Benefits accrued from 1 April 2020 onwards will be reduced if paid before your State Pension Age


Group 2 - members born on or after 1 April 1960 who joined the scheme before 1 December 2006:
· All benefits accrued up to 31 March 2008 are protected by the Rule of 85
· Benefits accrued from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2015 will be reduced if paid before age 65
· Benefits accrued from 1 April 2015 onwards will be reduced if paid before your State Pension Age

Group 3 - members who joined the scheme on or after 1 December 2006 (regardless of age):
· None of your benefits are protected by the Rule of 85
· Benefits accrued up to 31 March 2015 will be reduced if paid before age 65
· Benefits accrued from 1 April 2015 onwards will be reduced if paid before your State Pension Age

Although benefits accrued after 1 April 2020 will not benefit from the Rule of 85 protection, all protection accrued up to this date will remain in place even if you leave or retire after 31 March 2020.

The reduction is calculated based on how long before the normal payment dates above you would be retiring. The reduction factors, which are provided by the Government Actuary’s Department, can be found on page 42 of the Scheme Booklet.

Early payment reduction
 Years early Pension  Lump sum (for membership to 31/3/2009 
 1 5.4% 2.3%
 2 10.4% 4.6%
 3 14.9% 6.9%
 4 19.2% 9.1%
 5 23.1% 11.2% 
 6 26.8% 13.3% 
 7 30.2% 15.3% 
 8 33.3% 17.3% 
 9 36.2% 19.3% 
 10 39.0% 21.1%
11 43.0% tbc
12  45.5%   tbc
13 47.8% tbc

If you retire before age 60 and already meet the Rule of 85 criteria, your employer may agree to apply these protections to your benefits immediately upon retirement however this may lead to a cost (known as a strain on the Fund cost) being payable by your employer.

If you retire on flexible retirement before age 60 the rule of 85 counts and benefits are not reduced if you have met the rule of 85 before or on date of leaving. This also would result in a cost to be paid to the Fund by your employer.
Please note that, unless you are taking flexible retirement, it is not possible to take some of your pension benefits and leave the rest until a later date. All benefits must be taken at the same time and, if earlier than the dates outlined above, the appropriate reduction would apply.

You can use our online projectors to see an estimate of the benefits which would be payable at retirement. These projectors take into account any Rule of 85 protection that you have.