Leaving the Scheme and opting out
The Scheme offers a variety of valuable benefits, so make sure you understand the implications for your future if you give them up.
Paying into a pension is one of the most secure ways of saving for your life after work. But if you decide it’s not right for you, then you can leave the Scheme by opting out.
How you opt-out depends on whether or not you were auto-enrolled. You can find out more about auto-enrolment on the joining and auto-enrolment page.
If you’re not sure whether you were auto-enrolled, please check with your employer to find out.
If your employer auto-enrolled you into the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) you can opt out:
To get a refund of any money you have already paid in, you must opt out within a month of being auto-enrolled. This is known as the ‘opt-out period’. If you meet the opt-out criteria, then you will get a refund from your employer.
If you leave the Scheme after the ‘opt-out period’ then you may not get a refund of the money you’ve paid in so far.
Your options will depend on the rules of the section of the Scheme you are in and on pension law.
After 3 years, your employer may be required to automatically enrol you back into the Scheme or another suitable pension scheme. This is in line with auto-enrolment law and is designed to give you another chance to start saving for your future. You should speak to your employer if you need more information.
When you started your job, your employer may have enrolled you into the Scheme as part of your employment contract or because there was another specific need to do so. This may not have been done under the auto-enrolment law, so the process is different to that detailed above.
If you want to leave the Scheme, and were not auto-enrolled, you need to speak to your employer in order to opt-out. They might ask you to fill out a form or ask you to put your request in writing.
Your employer will then contact the Scheme administrator, Railpen, who will start the process to end your membership.
Once the process has been started, both Railpen and your employer will contact you directly to explain the options available to you.
Your options will depend on the rules of the section of the Scheme you are in and pension law.
When you leave employment, your active membership of the Scheme will end automatically.
What happens to your pension will depend on your length of membership and the rules of the Section you were paying into. You can find out more in your Member Guide. You can find this when you log in to your myRPS account.
Your options may be slightly different if you’re leaving work as a result of severance or redundancy. You can find out more on the dedicated severance and redundancy page.
Your options may also be different if you’re leaving work as a result of ill-health. You can read more on the my circumstances have changed page.
If you leave the Scheme and your pension is preserved – which means you’ve left the Scheme but still have savings in there – then you may be able to transfer your pension out of the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) to another scheme or provider if you wish. You can find out more on the transferring in or out page.
The Scheme offers a range of valuable benefits to members that you may not want to give up. You can read more about these on our benefits of my membership page.
You should also consider whether cutting back on your pension now might mean you won’t have enough income in retirement for the lifestyle you want. You may want to take financial advice before you make a decision.