In most circumstances individuals cannot access pension income until they are 55. However, some have a “protected early pension age” (PEPA) allowing them to access their funds without penalty prior to that. These tend to be individuals in particularly hazardous jobs, e.g. police officers or certain NHS employees, etc.


A problem can arise where an individual who has a PEPA is later re-employed by the same employer. The PEPA can be lost, meaning that the pension income is subject to punative tax charges.


As the government is keen for former key workers to return from retirement to help with the coronavirus response, it has announced it will temporarily suspend these charges (initially for payments made from 1 March to 1 June) for public sector workers returning to work directly as a result of the pandemic. Affected clients can therefore continue to receive their pension income without charge.

If you have a protected early pension age, you can return to your public sector work without losing your status if this is directly in response to the coronavirus, meaning you won’t incur charges.