The Total Reward Statement (TRS) is the main document which gives a breakdown of your pension contributions and benefits, as well as other information about your annual income.
Your TRS is available annually in August and is most easily accessible via your Trust’s Electronic Staff Record Programme (ESR) or from the TRS website.
In this article, I intend to go through the TRS step-by-step and explain some of its terminologies. It is important to note that many doctors working in general practice or in ‘approved non-NHS organisations’ will instead receive an Annual Benefit Statement (ABS). This gives similar information about the NHS pension scheme and is accessible via this website.
Personal details & Financial Summary
Your TRS will start with your personal details on the top of the page followed by the Financial Summary. This section is self-explanatory as it breaks down how much of your total income was from things like night shifts or locum shifts. The same terminology is used both here and in your payslips – you can refer to our guide on payslips for more info.
Employer pension contributions also appear in this section under “Total Reward Package”, but not your personal income. As discussed in our guide on NHS pensions, pension contributions do not relate to your pension benefits. Pension benefits will be highlighted in the following sections.
Annual Benefit Statement
This section starts with information such as the current normal pension age and the date you started making pension contributions.
Next is the ‘Standard Benefits’ table which gives an estimate of what your pension would be worth if you retired now at the normal pension age. As mentioned in our article on NHS pensions, you may consider retiring as early as age 55, however, your pension benefits would decrease if you retired early. Below are the pension benefits listed in the table and an explanation of each one.
Pension – This amount is what you would get annually if you were to currently retire at the normal pension age – 68 at the time of writing.
Lump-Sum – This figure (if applicable) is the maximum amount you can withdraw as one lump sum at the normal retirement age. If a lump sum is taken, the annual amount you get from your pension is reduced at a rate of 12:1. This means that if you withdraw £12,000 as a lump sum, your annual pension payout will be reduced by £1,000.
Adult Dependent Pension – This amount relates to how much a partner or dependant can get on an annual basis if the member were to die. This only applies if the member was actively contributing to the NHS pension at the time. This figure is a very broad estimate and the exact amount will vary depending on many circumstances such as age at death, whether a lump sum is also taken out and more. Children may be eligible for a children’s pension which they will receive up to their 23rd birthday.
Hypothetical annuity cost – This figure does not pertain to any benefit you will receive, but instead shows a rough estimate of how much a comparable pension would cost if bought privately instead of through the NHS pension scheme. This figure can fluctuate depending on the timing and the state of the market.
Death benefits – These benefits are aimed at providing aid to dependents in the event of the pension holder’s death.
Lump-sum on Death – This figure may be paid to eligible dependents if the member dies before retirement age. A smaller sum may be paid out if the member died within 5 years of retiring. This reduced figure will depend on how much pension benefit was already taken out. According the NHSBSA website, if there is no eligible nomination, the lump sum will be paid to the member’s estate and shared according to their will. The next section entitled ‘Death Benefit Nominations’ states who is currently nominated to receive these death benefits. By default this would be a spouse or civil partner.
Pensionable Earnings Statement
This final section shows you how much you have accumulated in your pension benefits year on year. Pensionable earnings are essentially your basic pay, which excludes night or weekend duties as well as locum shift income. Pension earned is 1/54th of the pensionable earnings as mentioned in our pensions guide.
Finally, the revaluation number is a percentage figure, comprised of an estimate of inflation from the Treasury plus another 2%.
To conclude, it is important to file this document every year to keep track of your pension benefits. To learn more about how your pension is calculated including revaluation, please see our pension guide.