Explanatory Memorandum

Pension Schemes Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

2016 CHAPTER 1

15 January 2016

Commentary on Sections

Part 3 – General Changes to Legislation about Pension Schemes

Section 46: Pension sharing and normal benefit age

When a pension is shared on divorce etc, the former spouse’s or civil partner’s share may (or, in the case of unfunded public service schemes must) be retained in the pension scheme as a pension credit benefit. Schemes must have a normal benefit age when they start to pay the pension credit benefit. At the moment this must be between 60 and 65.

As longevity increases, some pension schemes will start to increase their normal pension age above 65.  This section amends section 97C of the Pension Schemes Act to allow a pension scheme to increase its normal benefit age for a pension share to a permitted maximum. The permitted maximum is 65, or if higher, the highest normal pension age for any benefit payable to, or in respect of, ordinary members of the scheme.

The section also amends section 97B of the Pension Schemes Act to provide a new definition of “normal benefit age” and “normal pension age.