Making the most of retirement
Whether you’ve only just retired or are a dab hand at it, we hope you’re enjoying your retirement.
This section of our website is just for our pensioner members. Here, you can keep up to date with news from the Plan and find useful information about life in retirement.
We send you the Plan newsletter in the post, but if you prefer to read it online, you can find the latest issue here.
Your pension is paid to you in advance for the following month on the penultimate day of each month (or the earliest working day before that if it’s a weekend or bank holiday).
Pay dates for 2023
- Monday 30 October 2023
- Wednesday 29 November 2023
- Thursday 28 December 2023
Pay dates for 2024
- Tuesday 30 January 2024
- Wednesday 28 February 2024
- Thursday 28 March 2024
- Monday 29 April 2024
- Thursday 30 May 2024
- Thursday 27 June 2024
- Tuesday 30 July 2024
- Thursday 29 August 2024
- Friday 27 September 2024
- Wednesday 30 October 2024
- Thursday 28 November 2024
- Monday 30 December 2024
Your pension from the Plan is paid to you each month after income tax has been deducted, much in the same way as when you were working. If you think you’re paying the incorrect amount of tax, please contact HMRC.
Your tax affairs are your own, so we can’t make enquiries on your behalf. We simply apply the tax code that we receive from HMRC to work out your income tax.
If you think your tax code is wrong, or you have a query about your tax, you need to contact HMRC or your local tax office yourself, using the following details:
Call: 0300 200 3300
Plan reference: 120/HE05257
Make sure you have the Plan reference number to hand as you’ll need to quote it when you speak to HMRC.
Once retired, many people wonder how they ever managed to fit in time to go to work! Life in retirement can bring a different kind of busy, with new activities and routines to enjoy. However, it’s important to make sure you continue to look after your financial, physical and mental wellbeing.
Although you have your Plan pension, it’s worth checking whether you qualify for assistance through a range of government benefits. To find out more and check your eligibility, please visit the government website at www.gov.uk
Claiming your State pension
If you’re entitled to a State pension, it’s paid to you by the government from your State pension age. However, many people don’t realise that it’s not automatically paid to you when you reach State pension age, and that you’ll need to claim it.
Your entitlement depends on how many qualifying years of National Insurance (NI) contributions you have. To receive any State pension at all, you must have a minimum of 10 qualifying years. To get the full State pension, you will need to have 35 qualifying years. If you have between 10 and 35 years of NI contributions, you’ll get a proportionate amount of State pension.
Go to yourpension.gov.uk to find out more about your State pension age, your entitlement and how to claim.
Deferring your State pension
Another little-known fact about the State pension is that you can choose to defer it so that you increase your payments when you do start to claim it. Putting off the age you claim your State pension means the amount you get when you do claim can go up significantly.
Even if you’ve already started receiving it, you can defer your State pension payments, although you can only do this once during your retirement. Contact the Pension Service on 0800 731 0469 for more details.
Finding a lost pension
People have on average 11 different jobs through their working life, so it’s quite likely that you’ll have a pension with more than one employer.
If you’ve lost track of an old pension scheme, you can use the free Pension Tracing Service to help you find it, even if you don’t have the contact details of the provider. All you need to know is the name of your previous employer or pension scheme, but if you can, it’s helpful to collect as much information as possible about the employer, such as:
- any previous names it had
- the type of business it ran
- whether it changed address
- when you were a member of the scheme or when you worked for the company.
Call the Pension Tracing Service on 0800 731 0193, or visit www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Depending on your age and health when you retire, there are a number of benefits provided by the government that you may be entitled to.
You can get a free eye test on the NHS once you’re over 60. You’ll need to tell your optician that you’re eligible for a free eye test and fill out a form. You’ll also need to provide proof of your age.
You can get free prescriptions from the NHS once you’re over 60 in England and Wales. You’ll need to indicate on your prescription that you don’t have to pay and may need to provide proof of your age if your date of birth isn’t on the prescription. Free prescriptions are available to everyone in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
This is free to anyone over 65. Check with your GP or the NHS website at www.nhs.uk for further information.
Free health check
Anyone between the ages of 40 and 74 is eligible for a free NHS health check every five years, as long as they don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions. The check can identify early signs of diseases such as diabetes, and you’ll also get healthy living advice.
National entitlement card (Scotland only)
If you need to be accompanied when travelling, you can apply for a national entitlement card allowing a companion to travel free of charge with you for the same journey by bus. You’ll qualify for a companion entitlement if you receive Attendance Allowance, if you’re registered blind, or if you live in a care or residential home and are eligible to receive Attendance Allowance.
Discover something new
Your retirement can give you the time you’ve been waiting for to learn something new. Many people over 55 take formal qualifications at universities and colleges or follow more informal courses to learn something new.
- www.open.ac.uk – The Open University provides national distance learning.
- www.u3a.org.uk – The University of the Third Age offers more informal opportunities.
Volunteering and community involvement
There’s a range of national charities that welcome volunteers, as well as many local charitable organisations that will appreciate your help. Reach is an organisation that seeks out volunteers who can apply their experience and knowledge from the workplace to the voluntary sector. See www.reachvolunteering.org.uk
Other useful websites to help you find volunteering opportunities are:
We aren’t responsible for the content on third-party websites. However, you may find some of the following websites useful and interesting.
0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm daily)
Age UK offers befriending services, information and advice for older people.
The University of the Third Age provides opportunities to learn something new for fun or to share your skills with others.
Gransnet is a social networking website for over 50s, an offshoot of parenting website, Mumsnet.
Re-engage usually hold monthly afternoon tea parties for people aged over 75 who live on their own.
0800 4 70 80 90
The Silver Line is a free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, 24/7.
Look after your mental wellbeing
If you’re feeling worried about things or struggling to cope with loneliness, as well as talking to your GP, you may find the following support services useful:
Local Minds provide mental health services in local communities across England and Wales.
Anxiety UK has a helpline and lots of information which include some webinars to help learn some tools for dealing with your mental health.
Mental Health UK has a coronavirus help and information hub which provides tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Rises in the cost of living mean that your money might not stretch as far as it used to. If you’re worried about money, the best thing you can do is take action:
MoneyHelper’s cost of living resources provide free, impartial guidance to help cope with money worries, living on a squeezed or reduced income, finding help if struggling with bills, and how to talk money with friends, family and creditors.
Guides you step-by-step through what to do when someone dies, including how to register the death, notify government departments and deal with the estate.
Trained volunteers to help you make sense of how you’re feeling, no matter how long you’ve been grieving.
Staying safe online