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Buying years of service for HSE pension?

  • 31-10-2021 10:52pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭

    Hi all,

    So I am currently aware that you can purchase years if service in the civil service to enable you to retire at 66 to have a full public service pension. A few roles in the HSE has piqued my interest. Before this, I wasn't interested in the HSE as I heard from some people that the max years of service you can purchase is 5 years. This wouldn't be very beneficial come retirement. So I did some research.

    I found the following, This is for staff working in the national ambulance service, although since the HSE is over NAS I presume it applies to all HSE roles?: (This info looks kind of dated/old so please correct me if I am wrong and has changed lately.)


    "Some of the key points of the national service scheme are highlighted below. 1. In order to purchase notional service, you must have 9 years of actual or potential service. This includes future potential service to retirement age or contract end date for fixed-term workers, actual service i.e. service already given and service transferred to HSE from another approved Public Sector Body. 2. You may only purchase your shortfall of service to a maximum of 40 years of service at age 60 or age 65 as appropriate. 3. Notional Service may be purchased with reference to age 60 or age 65 only. Those members of the scheme who are deemed to be new entrants (i.e. generally those who joined the public sector after 01.04.2004) can only purchase notional service with reference to age 65. The rates for purchasing to age 60 are higher than those that apply to purchases to age 65 as purchases are made over a shorter period of time. 4. Notional Service may be purchased by lump sum"

    (End quote)

    Source: Page 13,rate%20of%20social%20welfare%20old%20age%20contributory%20pension.

    So it appears that based on the above that it's possible to purchase any years which you, maybe short of service for a full pension i.e 40 years? I just want to make sure before I apply to the HSE!

    TL:DR - Can you buy years of service in the HSE similar to the Civil service to secure a full pension for retirement at 66?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. ☺️



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,274 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    Note that anybody joining the PS since 2013 joins the Single PS pension scheme.

    There are previous schemes, and you might be reading documents about the previous schemes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    Double post -

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    Hi Geuze,

    Thanks for your message.

    It appears from your link, that you can not pay additional contributions yourself at all!?

    Can I pay extra contributions?

    The option to purchase additional retirement benefits within the Single Scheme is not available at the moment. However, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to make additional voluntary contributions to separate Revenue-approved pension arrangements (e.g. an AVC Personal Retirement Savings Account or a trade union-affiliated AVC Scheme) if you wish to independently increase your retirement benefits outside of the Single Scheme. As your employer cannot provide you with financial advice, you should seek financial advice independently.

    So if I am interpreting this right you can neither pay into an HSE or Civil Service pension if you joined after 1th of Jan 2013. Sorry now if I took this up wromg, this kind of stuff really confuses me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,274 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    There is one pension scheme across the whole PS for staff who joined after 01.01.2013.

    Yes, I have read that NSP is not yet possible in the new Single PS pension scheme.

    I have not investigated that further.

    I suggest you ask in the relevant forum on AAM, I think some people there are more informed than I.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,274 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    Before this, I wasn't interested in the HSE as I heard from some people that the max years of service you can purchase is 5 years.

    It seems unusual that this would be a substantial criteria on which to base an employment decision?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 977 ✭✭✭pemtca

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,920 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice

    It would cost you a fortune I know someone who did it in a different public services body not the HSE it's not cheap by any means.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    I simply like to have a full PS pension on retirement. Why is it unusual?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    I wouldn't mind the cost of it all.. I would see it as an investment for the future!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,920 ✭✭✭✭mariaalice

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,449 ✭✭✭Flinty997

    I've been old buying back years isn't always a better options than AVCs. But I've not investigated it or compared them myself. I think its worth getting some professional advice on it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,254 ✭✭✭Padraig Mor

    I'm not HSE but another branch of the public sector and won't have full years on retirement. I had intended to purchase notional years to make up the difference but the (professional) advice I received was that it is very bad value for money and AVCs are a much better bet. Basically, an AVC would want to perform catastrophically badly for the notional years to be better value. Even in the event of the notional years eventually proving better value, this is likely to be long after retirement when you'll probably be in no condition to spend it anyway!

    AVCs (AVC PRSA) also give flexibility. In my situation, I intend to retire early at 60 but will only have ~34 years service so will be 6 years short of a full 40 years service (and thus full pension). If I purchased (at significant cost) those 6 notional years I would then have a full 40 years service at 60. But, let's say retirement day arrives and I decide I love my job and I want to keep working - no problem, but I won't accrue any additional pension entitlements (because I'd already have 40 years) but will still have to pay the contributions anyway - money down the toilet! With an AVC pot, because it's 'outside' the employment, I can continue to work on past 60 and still accrue additional pension benefits all the way to 66 - and keep the AVC pot too!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    No I don’t. I’m 28 and working in the private sector. It’s something that I never considered until I started applying for public sector jobs in the last year and half.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    Thanks for that! I didn’t know something like AVCs existed to begin with!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,102 ✭✭✭job seeker

    Thanks for that info! Are AVC’s cheaper, than buying years of service? Or are they both the same price but AVCs offer that flexibility which makes it worth it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,042 ✭✭✭✭Rikand

    I know from people who have bought back years and have invested in AVC's and every single person who bought back the years wishes they had just ploughed it all into an AVC instead.

    I won't have my full term myself, I'm hoping to make up the shortfall with an AVC and should be able to do it easy enough and still get out of the service hopefully in the year I want to (depending on how many years the kids spend in college lol)

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,254 ✭✭✭Padraig Mor

    That's not how it works really.

    Notional years allow you to buy back years of pensionable service that you didn't actually work*, and thus accrue the defined benefits (in public sector) associated with those years. It is very expensive.

    AVCs are a defined contribution arrangement - i.e. you pay a certain amount into an investment fund and hope its value increases. No guarantees, but likely to be a good investment in the long term.

    TBH at age 28, this may not even be relevant for you as retirement age likely to be 68 for you so you could get full service. You can't buy 'extra' notional years on top of full service.

    *Not relevant to you, but there is also an option in the public sector to buy back years that you were actually working in the PS, but not paying pension contributions (generally where someone was on temporary service). This is much cheaper than buying notional years, and should always be done where applicable!

  • Registered Users Posts: 977 ✭✭✭pemtca

    Just to note that in the Single Scheme the concept of 'years of service' doesn't exist. You don't buy additional years, you buy additional amounts of money towards your pension and/or lump sum. Buying additional pension is extremely expensive.