What if I fall ill?

Under the Rules of APS, you can draw your pension straight away if you are:

  • retired by BA because you are unable to do your normal duties because of ill health, or
  • a pilot or engineer officer who loses his or her licence before Normal Retirement Age

While you are under your Normal Retirement Age, payment of your ill health pension will be reviewed regularly and the Trustee can vary, suspend or revoke payments in certain circumstances. The Trustee will ask for evidence of your continuing incapacity from time to time and/or suitable evidence of any earnings you may be receiving whilst also receiving an ill health pension.

When you retire we will confirm the date that the Trustee will review your pension for the first time.

How your ill health pension would be worked out:

  • We calculate your pension as a percentage of your salary based on the standard pension calculation
    half the service you would have completed between the date you retire on ill health grounds and Normal Retirement Age.
    • If you are currently building your pension up at the standard build-up rate (1/52 Flying Staff, 1/56 Ground Staff) this portion of your pension is calculated using your standard build-up rate.
    • If you are currently building your pension up at the lower rate (1/54 Flying Staff, 1/58 Ground Staff), this portion of your pension will be calculated using the lower build-up rate.
  • Special arrangements apply to Ground Staff in APS who were in service on 1 Dec 1989. As long as there has been no break in your service, when we calculate the ill health pension we will include half your potential service to age 63.

Ill health pensions and the Annual Allowance (AA)

As your ill health pension is based on enhanced Pensionable Service there is a greater risk that your pension savings in the year of ill health retirement could exceed your AA, resulting in an AA tax charge being due. For more information about the AA and AA tax charges, go to The Annual Allowance (AA).

You can exchange part of your pension for a tax-free lump sum on retirement.

For more information on payment options, such as exchanging part of your pension for a tax-free lump sum, see I'm thinking of drawing my pension.

Serious ill health

If you are suffering from a life-threatening illness it may be possible to receive all of your pension as a tax-free lump sum (calculated on reduced terms) whilst continuing to provide a pension for your dependents should you die. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will only allow such payments if you have a short time to live. We will ask you to provide written confirmation from a registered medical practitioner that you have less than 12 months to live. Any lump sum must be paid before age 75, you must have part or all of your Lifetime Allowance available and you must not have previously drawn any of your APS benefits. Please contact us if you wish to learn more about this option.


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