CONTACT : Tel: 0345 112 0025
Frequently-asked questions

Introduction to pensions

General pension queries

Check out the sections below to find answers to some of the most common questions about your pension.

If your question has not been answered here, please visit the Contact details page for ways to get in touch.


What is a buy in? 

A buy-in is when a pension scheme purchases an insurance policy, which guarantees the insurer will provide the money needed to pay pensions for its members. 

How does the buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation plc affect my pension? 

In December 2022, we completed a ‘buy-in’ with the Pension Insurance Corporation plc (‘PIC’), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds. To help fund the buy in, the Company agreed to advance contributions in excess of £47m to the scheme, without which the transaction would not have been possible. As a result of this approximately £400 million buy-in, PIC will pay current and future pensions for our nearly 3,500 members. This is a big step towards further reducing risk for the scheme and enhancing the security of your benefits. To help PIC calculate the payments under the policy, we are providing PIC with information about insured members and their benefits. You can read the notice on privacy for more details about how we collect and process your personal information, which we have updated following the buy-in. It now includes a link to a similar notice on PIC’s website

What is a workplace pension?

A workplace pension is a way of saving for your retirement organised for you by your employer. It is sometimes called a ‘company pension’, an ‘occupational pension’ or a ‘works pension’. 
Put simply, a pension is a savings scheme that you pay into while you are working to help make sure you have regular money coming in when you retire.
It’s tax efficient as the money you pay in (or ‘contribute’) is taken from your salary before tax is deducted, reducing the overall amount of tax you will pay on your salary. Your employer also contributes to your pension, so together you and your employer are saving for your future.
If you are hoping to retire at 60, or even 68, you could still be looking to support 25 years without the regular income you had when you were working. Many of us don’t want to have to compromise our lifestyles in retirement, so taking an interest in your pension planning is a great way to do something positive for the future.

How does a pension work?

A pension works by taking all the money paid in – by you, your employer and the government (in the form of tax savings) – and investing it for your future. Different schemes work in different ways, but the idea is that the investments will grow over time to give you money to support you when you retire.
With the Amey OS Pension Scheme, the amount you get when you retire depends on things like how long you've been a member and your salary when you retire. These types of pension schemes are commonly referred to as ‘defined benefit’ arrangements.

Watch the short animation below to learn more about how pensions work.



Who pays into my pension?

With the Amey OS Pension Scheme, both you and your employer pay into your pension.
The money paid in is known as ‘contributions’. 
Your pension contributions are tax-free (subject to Annual Allowance limits), making it an efficient way to save.


Who looks after my money?

Zedra is responsible for looking after the Amey OS Scheme and the money invested on your behalf. Their job, with the help of pension and investment specialists, is to regularly check how the scheme administration and investments are doing and let you know if any changes are necessary. 
Although investment decisions made by the Trustee are still subject to stock market fluctuations, their experience and expertise ensures that the scheme investments do as well as possible.

How do I know I'm saving enough?

Retirement is no longer seen as ‘the end of the road’, and most of us won’t want to change our lifestyles because of it. Take the time to think about what you want for your retirement so you can start planning for it today. 

Visit the lifestyle costs page to get an idea of how much income you may need to afford different lifestyles when you retire and how to work out if you're saving enough.

How much will I get when I take my pension benefits?

The amount you’ll get depends mostly on how much has been paid into it and:

  • the rules of your Scheme, if you’re in a defined benefit scheme; or
  • how well your investments have performed if you’re in a defined contribution scheme

The Amey, Accord and APS sections are defined benefit. 
You can also ‘top up’ your pension by paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs). These will be paid into defined contribution arrangements. Your employer will be able to tell you more about AVCs.

You can request an estimate of your benefits from the Scheme's adminstrator, Railpen, by calling 0345 112 0025. Please note, you can only request two free estimates per calendar year.

What are Annual and Lifetime Allowances?

The Annual Allowance (AA) is a limit on the amount of pension savings you can make into your scheme(s) (you may have more than one) in any given tax year. If you exceed your AA, you may be charged tax on the excess.

The AA is currently £60,000, although a lower allowance applies to high earners. If your taxable income is more than £200,000, you should learn more about the  tapered Annual Allowance as it may affect you.

You can carry forward any unused Annual Allowance from the past three years.

A lower allowance of £10,000 may apply to any future pension savings you make to Defined Contribution pension arrangements if you’ve taken money out of your pension pot. This is known as the ‘Money Purchase Annual Allowance’.

The Lifetime Allowance (LTA) is the maximum amount you can save into all your pensions throughout your working life before you have to pay tax. The LTA for the tax year 6 April 2023 to 5 April 2024 is £1,073,100.

You would have to pay tax on any pension savings you have that are over the LTA limit. The amount of tax you owe will depend on your income tax rate, rather than the LTA charge that was in place before 5 April 2023.

You should be aware that from 6 April 2024, there is a limit of £268,275 on the amount you can take as a lump sum when you take your pension. This limit won’t affect you if you have Lifetime Allowance protections.

You can read more about the AA and LTA at

You are responsible for monitoring your AA and LTA and reporting any excess to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

How will I know if I have exceeded the AA?

You will be sent a Pensions Saving Statement if you exceed the AA.

Who is responsible for notifying HMRC of a liability to the annual allowance (AA) charge and how can the charge be met?

You are responsible for reporting any excess in your benefits over the annual allowance (after using up any carry forward) via self-assessment. The amount of annual allowance charge will be included in your tax calculation and you would normally have to pay any charges by the usual self-assessment payment deadlines.  
The Scheme also has a responsibility to notify HMRC via Event Reporting if someone exceeds the Annual Allowance.