Have you served in the Armed Forces since 1975?

Have you served in the Armed Forces since 1975? 

If so, it’s possible that you have an unclaimed preserved pension, that is payable at age 60 or 65.

If you think you may be entitled to a preserved pension, the following information may help you to understand if you may qualify.

The two Armed Forces Pension Schemes that you may qualify under are AFPS 75 and AFPS 05.

  • AFPS 75 pension benefits are based on rank and length of Service. This scheme was in place for individuals who joined between 6 April 1975 and 5 April 2005. Pensions are payable at age 60 for service prior to 6 Apr 2006 and at age 65 for service after this

date under this scheme. Benefits payable at age 65 under this scheme can be paid at age 60, with a deduction made for early payment.

  • AFPS 05 pension benefits are based on length of Service and the best 365 days of Final Pensionable Earnings in the last three years of service. This scheme was in place for those who joined on or after 6 April 2005. However, personnel who were in service on this date who were members of AFPS 75, were given the option to transfer to AFPS 05. Pensions are normally paid at age 65 under this scheme unless an application is made to have them paid early at an actuarially reduced rate.

There are some differences between the schemes that cover both retired benefits and dependents benefits. To find out more about the benefits please visit GOV.UK and search for Armed Forces and Reserve Forces pension schemes guidance booklets.

Before 6 April 1975 there was no provision for the payment of preserved pensions and Service personnel who left the Armed Forces had to have either:

  • completed 16 years service from age 21 if they were an Officer or;
  • completed 22 years service from age 18 if they were

Other ranks.  before they qualified for pension benefits, unless they left the Services on invaliding terms, for which separate rules apply. Those who left before that date without

completing the above criteria lost all pension entitlement.

From 6 April 1975 pensions could be preserved for payment at age 60 for all those who left the service and at the time were over the age of 26 with a minimum of five years service.

On 31 March 1978 the age criteria was removed and on 6 April 1988, the qualifying period was reduced from five to two years.

Preserved pensions have to be claimed at age 60 (or at age 65 for service after 6 April 2006).  However, you can claim your preserved pension sooner if you become permanently incapable of any form of full time employment before reaching your preserved pension age.

If you think you are entitled to an Armed Forces Pension that you have not yet claimed, you can do so by completing and returning a paper copy of form AFPS 8

which can be found by visiting GOV.UK and searching for AFPS Preserved Pension Claim form.  Details of where to return it to are included on the form.