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When can I access my pension?

With your defined contribution pension scheme, you can normally start taking money from the age of 55. You could use this to help top up your salary if you are still working, to enable you to work fewer hours or to retire early. 

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If you have a standard defined contribution pension, you will typically have access to this from age 55. Normally, this will consist of 25% tax-free cash with the remainder being taxed at your marginal rate of income tax.  Some pension schemes differ, for example, offer higher amounts of protected tax-free cash so you should check with your specific scheme administrator. 

There are also some circumstances when you may be able to take money from your pension even earlier than 55, such as if you’re in poor health or in a profession where your normal retirement age is earlier than normal, for example if you are a professional athlete. You may also have a protected pension age lower than 55 under the rules of the scheme.  

The government has confirmed plans to increase the minimum pension age from 55 to 57 from 2028, alongside planned increases in the State Pension age to 67. From then on, the minimum pension age will remain ten years below State Pension age.

However, it is important to note that if you start taking an income from your pension whilst still working, this significantly limits how much you can continue to pay in on an ongoing basis.