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SERPS - opting in/out

SERPS - opting in/out

I took advantage of the Government's incentive payments to opt out of SERPS in about 1992. I chose to have my incentive payment and rebate on NIC paid into a pension scheme (with profits!) run by Standard Life.

I recently asked for a pension forecast and was puzzled by the details. I'm old enough to have paid Graduated Pension payments, and these were detailed in the forecast. However, the forecast showed a zero entitlement for SERPS.

I believe SERPS replaced the Graduated Pension Scheme in the late 70's (1977?), and I was already paying into a final salary scheme with my employer at that time. I joined two further schemes with two subsequent employers, before opting out in 1992.

So for the period from 1977? to 1992, unless the schemes that I joined had already opted out, I would have been opted in to the SERPS scheme. The scheme that I joined from 1987 to 1992 clearly was opted out.

So should I be entitled to any SERPS payment at all? If the schemes I belonged to from 1977 to 1987 were opted out, what benefit did I receive?

If on the other hand these schemes were not opted out, should I be entitled to a SERPS payment for this period also? Or does opting out of SERPS at any time mean that you forfeit your SERPS entitlement completely? If this is the case, this certainly was not explained to me when I opted out. So would I be entitled to claim under the new proposals which provide for compensation if the individual has been wrongly advised to opt out of SERPS?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

John Williams


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