On 6th April 2010 the minimum age at which you can access your pension benefits will increase from 50 to 55.
Both your employer’s pension schemes (past or present) and any individual pension plan’s you hold will be subject to the new rules. From 6th April 2010 therefore, you will not be able to access pension benefits unless you are at least age 55.
There are some very limited circumstances where retirement prior to age 55 will still be allowed after this date which are detailed below:
1. Some sportspeople/those in hazardous occupations or those who had a ‘contractual right’ to an early retirement age as at December 2003.
2. Those individuals who are in ill health can still apply to take benefits early and the scheme trustees will determine, following a medical report, whether it will be granted.
In the majority of cases, it is more worthwhile to leave your pension benefits to grow for as long as possible. However, if you need to access some or all of your pension benefits early, between the ages of 50 and 55 you should contact your financial adviser as soon as possible for further guidance.
For the avoidance of doubt, this could affect you if your date of birth is between 7th April 1955 and 5th April 1960.