New pension lifetime allowance look-up service

The lifetime allowance look-up service for scheme administrators is now live on the GOV.UK website. Scheme administrators can access this service through the GOV.UK guide Pension administrators: check your member's protection status / GOV.UK.


Pension scheme administrators can use the look-up service to check the lifetime allowance protection status of their members. To enable administrators to use this service members will need to give their pension scheme administrators:


  • their protection notification number and
  • their scheme administrator reference number.


Members can find these reference numbers through their personal tax accounts.


The lifetime allowance was introduced in 2006, prior to that there was no limit, and it is currently set at £1m.


Tax year

Standard lifetime limit
























Each time there has been a reduction in the allowance individuals have had the opportunity to protect their pension savings if these were in excess of, or likely to exceed, the new reduced limit.


Scheme administrators must report to HMRC when a member has a benefit crystallisation event, and:


  • the member’s total benefits are more than the lifetime allowance and
  • the member has enhanced protection, fixed protection, fixed protection 2014 or individual protection 2014.


Benefit crystallisation events include taking a drawdown pension, becoming entitled to a pension, transferring a pension to an overseas scheme, or the death of the member under age 75. Full details can be found in HMRC’s Pension Tax Manual.


If the member has fixed protection 2016 or individual protection 2016 the administrator will need to contact HMRC for the reference numbers.


HMRC will publish an article about the launch of the lifetime allowance scheme administrator look-up service in Pension Schemes Newsletter 91.


Any feedback on the scheme administrator look-up service can be given using the option on the GOV.UK pages or by emailing and putting ‘lifetime allowance scheme administrator look-up service’ in the subject line of the email.