2. Personal and workplace pensions

When you get your personal or workplace pension

When you can take money from your pension pot will depend on your pension scheme’s rules, but it’s usually after you’re 55.

You may be able to take money out before this age if either:

  • you’re retiring early because of ill health
  • you had the right under the scheme you joined before 6 April 2006 to take your pension before you’re 55 – ask your pension provider if you’re not sure

Some companies offer to help you get money out of your pension before you’re 55. This could be an unauthorised payment and you’d pay up to 55% tax on it.

Your pension pot will probably be smaller if you retire early because you’ve:

If your life expectancy is less than a year

You may be able to take your whole pension pot as a tax-free lump sum if all of the following apply to you:

  • you’re expected to live less than a year because of serious illness
  • you’re under 75 (if you’re over 75 you pay 45% tax on the lump sum)
  • you don’t have more than the lifetime allowance of £1.25 million in pension savings

Check with your pension provider. Some pension funds will keep at least 50% of your pension pot for your spouse or civil partner.