Forces Pension Society

Fighting for the forces and their families


Pensions explained

Armed Forces Pension Schemes are a vital ingredient in the recruitment and retention of our fighting forces. They are central to the Terms and Conditions of Service to which all regular and reserve forces are subject.

They are also complex pieces of legislation, often involving unintended consequences, bringing disadvantages often to those who can least bear them. In the absence of any trade union, the Forces Pension Society serves as the watchdog for the Military community, concerned for those who feel disadvantaged by pension regulations and who are in need of guidance on matters concerned with their pension entitlement.

Here’s a brief description of the four Armed Forces Pension Schemes remaining


Many people with longer service, and most of those already retired, are on this scheme. This scheme ceased taking new members in 2005 when a new scheme was launched and serving people were offered a choice of joining it or remaining on the old scheme. About 8% of those eligible made the change. This scheme favours shorter service and has a poor dependants package.

As its name suggests this scheme was launched in 2005. It favours longer service and has an improved dependents package. Everyone joining the Armed Forces after its introduction has been enrolled automatically onto this scheme together with those serving people who elected to change. Those who transferred will have benefit entitlements earned under both schemes.

The Reserve Forces Pension Scheme is for those employed on Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) appointments, including additional duties commitment; or anyone who is mobilised under paragraphs 4,5 or 6 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996, or a corresponding power in the Reserve Forces Act 1980.

When this scheme was introduced on 1 April 2015, all regular serving personnel moved to the new scheme (except those who were aged 45 or over on 1 April 2012), together with Reserves (except those in the RFPS who were aged 50 or over on 1 April 2012). There is no option to remain on the former scheme. All new joiners and re-entrants after its introduction are enrolled into this scheme. Those who are moved to this scheme will have benefit entitlements earned under one, two or even three, of the former schemes too.

It can readily be seen that there is much room in all this for unintentional errors to be made in the calculation of an individual’s pension entitlement. The Forces Pension Society has acknowledged experts in this field who can ensure your entitlements are properly understood and calculated correctly.

You can contact our pension experts by clicking or calling 020 7820 9988 option 1; but remember you do need to be a member before we can help you. You can join us online right now.