Veterans Pension Scheme

A world-class pension scheme for your military service
Back to Welfare

2015 scheme

For serving members after 1 April 2015.

Guidance relating to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015.

2005 scheme

For members who served between 7 April 2005 to 31 March 2015.

Guidance and documents relating to Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005.

1975 scheme

For members who served between 6 April 1975 and 6 April 2005.

We have put together in-depth guidance about the 1975 Pension scheme below:

If you are have reached 60 years old or are about to reach 60, you should be able to access your 22 year pension for your service. Take a look at the following information, it is worth it.

It is possible that you have earned a preserved pension payable at age 60. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme pension benefits are based on rank and length of service. All personnel serving between 6 April 1975 and 6 April 2005 will have served under the AFPS 75 scheme. There are two further pension schemes, 2005 and 2015, this information here is about the 1975 pension scheme. You can visit the above links for the 2005 and 2015 schemes.

Prior to 06 April 1975 there was no provision for a preservation of pension benefits and service personnel who left the Armed Forces had to complete 16 years from aged 21 (Officers) or 22 years from age 18 (Other ranks). Those who left before that date without completing the above criteria, lost all pension entitlement. Those who had completed more than 12 years service were given a lump sum payment.

In 1973 the UK government reformed the pension provisions and the rules changed on 6 April 1975 to provide for pensions to be preserved for payment at age 60 for all those soldiers discharged over the age of 26 with a minimum of 5 years service. On 31 March 1978 the age criteria was dropped. On6 April 1988, the qualifying period was reduced from 5 to 2 years.  Non of these were back dated.

Preserved pensions have to be claimed at age 60. However, you can claim your preserved pension sooner if you become permanently incapacitated.

More information

If you need more information on Armed Forces Pension Schemes, please contact Veterans UK using one of the following options:

Freephone (UK only): 0800 085 3600

Telephone (Overseas): +44 141 224 3600

Telephone (Military): 94560 3600


Veterans UK JPAC Enquiry Centre
Mail Point 480
Kentigern House
65 Brown Street
G2 8EX

How to apply

You can download the Preserved Pension Application Form 8 (5 pages) here, and will need to forward this to the above address, either via post or email.

You'll need your name, regimental number, rank, regiment, date of birth and NI Number to hand.

Don't forget when you are about to hit 60 you have to apply to them, they will not let you know.


Veterans Portal

You can visit the new online Veterans Portal here. You'll be able to see the following information:

  • Your pension
  • Service Records
  • Support for you and your family
  • Medals and Veterans Badges
  • Injury/Illness Compensation
  • Employment Opportunities

Family of Passed Veterans

If you know any widows, widowers or longterm partners of soldiers who sadly passed away, they can access a pension. If the soldier was under 60 when they passed away, they should apply to Veterans UK and they may be entitled to a gratuity rather than a pension.

The following is the part of the information taken from the manual which may help you with your enquiry.


9.1 Your entitlement to a pension ceases on your death.

If you are married, in a civil partnership or are in a long term relationship your spouse/civil partner or eligible partner may be entitled to a Forces Family Pension.


9.2 Widows Benefits

If your marriage took place while you were serving a Forces Family Pension based on your total service. If your marriage took place after you left the Regular Armed Forces a Forces Family Pension based on service from6 April 1978; service before that date is disregarded.


9.3 Widowers/Civil Partners Benefits

To be eligible you must have served on or after 1 October 1987. If the marriage/civil ceremony took place while serving, the pension is based on your total service. However, if the marriage/civil ceremony took place after your retirement the pension will be based on service from 6 April 1978 only.


9.4 Eligible Partner Benefits

Your partner may be eligible to receive a pension where death was attributable to Service. An equal survivor’s pension is the same as that paid to a spouse/civil partner. For a partner’s pension to be awarded you must have:

  • Given service on or after 15 September 2003, and;
  • Have been in a substantial and exclusive relationship at the time of death, and;
  • Both have been free to marry/enter a civil partnership; and
  • Your partner was financially dependent or financially interdependent.


9.5 Rates of Pension Payable

  • For service that ended before 31March 1973 your widow will receive one third of your basic pension, no Short Term Family Pension is payable.The rate may be increased to one half if additional contributions were made.
  • For service on or after 31 March1973, your widow will receive a pension of one half of your basic pension (for widowers and civil partners you must have been in service on or after 1 October 1987). If you have service pre and post 31 March 1973 the service pre 1973 may be increased to one half if additional contributions were made
  • If you married or entered a civil partnership after your discharge, your widow/widower/ partner will receive half the basic pension based on service on or after 6 April 1978.
  • For service on or after 31 March 1973a Short Term Family Pension equal to your rate of basic pay for death in Service or the pension in payment at the time of your death will be paid for 13 weeks to your spouse. This may be increased to 26 weeks if there are any eligible children.


Survivor Benefits after Re-marriage, Forming a new Partnership or Cohabitation.

  • 9.6 Since 31 October 2000, if your death is attributable to service in the armed forces, your surviving spouse/partner (widow/widower/civil partner) will receive a pension for life.However, for non-attributable deaths and attributable deaths before this date, pension benefits are suspended if your surviving spouse/partner, remarries, enters anew civil partnership, or cohabits. If the relationship that led to suspension ends, your spouse/partner may apply for restoration of pension, but reinstatement is subject to a test.
  • 9.7 From 1 April 2015, all surviving spouses/partners can retain their pension for life. This also applies to surviving spouses/partners currently receiving a pension, who no longer have their pension suspended if they form a new relationship. However, where a surviving spouse’s/partner’s pension has been suspended due to remarriage, new civil partnership, or cohabitation before 1 April 2015, it will remain suspended until the current relationship ends.
  • If the relationship ends on/after 1 April 2015, the spouse/partner can apply for restoration without being subject to a test. Those previously refused on this basis may reapply for restoration from 1 April 2015. Applications should be made to Veterans UK.


For those who have an Armed Forces Pension and reach OAP you will have to take into account the SERPS.

This has always been the way, the 1975 Pension Act gives a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP).

The following will only apply if you retired from the Armed Forces after 5 April 1978 and were employed up to or before 5 April 1997. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) contracted out from State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) but by law have to pay a pension benefit at least as good as that paid out by SERPS. This amount is known as your GMP. Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tell the MOD how much of your pension the GMP amount forms at State Pension Age (SPA). This is not an additional amount to be paid, as it forms part of your existing Armed Forces Pension.

The Pension Service, which is part of the Department forWorks and Pensions (DWP), is responsible for paying part on any annual increase on your GMP with your State retirement benefits. This will be shown on your annual pension statement, issued by the Pension Service to you, and may be referred to as Contracted out Deductions The MOD contracted pension Paymaster must allow for this when calculating any increase on your pension to avoid you receiving an increase on the same amount of GMP twice. GMP may be in two parts:

  • for the period 5 April 1978 to 5 April 1988, and
  • for the period 6 April 1988 until you left the service(or 5 April 1997 whichever is the earlier).

If you left service prior to 6 April 1988 there will be one part to your GMP. Any increase will apply to the part of your GMP that was earned after 5 April 1988 and the MOD will pay this with your Armed ForcesPension, but only up to a Maximum of 3%.

Any increase above 3% and all of any increase on the GMP amount earned before 6 April 1988 is paid by DWP with your state benefits.However, a further change in the law (Pensions Act 1995) means the MOD will pay any increase in full on all benefits earned after 1997.

Sometimes MOD may not have been made aware of the value of your GMP in time for them to recalculate your payments. If this happens it may mean that you receive an increase on your GMP with your Armed Forces Pension and your State Pension, which in turn will result in a small overpayment to you and the Pension Paymaster will write to you in advance to let you know about this and the adjustment to your pension rate.

What this is about is an additional state pension which was intended to increase that of employees. However, if an occupational scheme (e.g. services, police, civil service, NHS, some larger employers) provided at least as much benefit as the additional scheme (SERPS) then it could contract out SERPS so that you only received benefits from that scheme in relation to your time in the scheme. Schemes which did not qualify remained contracted in and members of those schemes received both SERPS and a pension from the occupational scheme.

It all got more complex since the late 1980s when individual contracting out became possible but the service schemes were always contracted out so fortunately that isn’t relevant.

There have been further changes since then, including to the basic state pension to allow for increased life expectancy. When it was originally introduced in 1906, very few got out more than they had contributed but we all tend to live longer now.


You can contact the DWP and pay extra payments to enable you to get the second additional state pension.