Check your pension scheme member’s protection status

What you as a pension scheme administrator need to do if your members protect their pension from the lifetime allowance reduction.


Your pension members may be able to apply for protection from the reduction in the lifetime allowance.

If there’s a benefit crystallisation event you’ll need to send HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the Event Report if both the following apply:

  • your member’s total benefits are more than the lifetime allowance
  • they have enhanced protection, fixed protection, fixed protection 2014 or individual protection 2014

If you need to report reference numbers for members using fixed protection 2016 and individual protection 2016, you should contact HMRC.

You’ll also need to make sure you give the right information to your members.

Protection before 2016 reduction

Before 2016 your members could hold one of the following protections:

  • enhanced protection
  • primary protection
  • fixed protection
  • individual protection 2014
  • fixed protection 2014

Your members should give you the reference number for their protection and you’ll need to use this when testing their benefits.

Your members can find their reference number on their protection certificate or confirmation letter. Additionally, most members will be able to view it online using the protect your lifetime allowance service.

You may decide to ask your member for a copy of their protection certificate so you can:

  • confirm the value of their protected pension rights
  • tell the member what percentage of the lifetime allowance they’ve used up

Protection from 2016 reduction

Your members will need to apply for a permanent protection notification number online.

The permanent protection notification number is in the format:

  • FP16 followed by 10 digits and 1 letter, for fixed protection 2016 (for example FP161234567890A)
  • IP16 followed by 10 digits and 1 letter, for individual protection 2016 (for example IP161234567890B)

Temporary reference numbers are no longer valid. If your member has one they’ll need to apply for a permanent protection notification number. The temporary reference number will be in the format:

  • AJ followed by 4 digits, for fixed protection (for example AJ1234)
  • 4 digits followed by AJ, for individual protection (for example 1234AJ)

Lifetime allowance scheme administrator look-up service

To check if your member has valid lifetime allowance protection, you can use the lifetime allowance scheme administrator look-up service.

To use the look-up service you’ll need your member’s protection notification number and their scheme administrator reference.

Your member can find these reference numbers in their personal tax account, even if they didn’t apply for lifetime allowance protection online.

Published 6 April 2016
Last updated 20 September 2017 + show all updates
  1. This guidance has been updated to reflect the new lifetime allowance scheme administrator look-up service.

  2. Amendments made to reflect that members applying for individual protection 2016 now need to apply for a permanent protection reference number online.

  3. This guidance has been updated to reflect the new online service for members to protect their lifetime allowance from the 2014 and 2016 reduction.

  4. First published.