Can I apply to claim my pension and then start drawing it at a later date?

No: when you apply for your pension, you are applying to claim your entitlements (either in full or a portion of your entitlements through the alternating work-retirement program) and begin drawing your pension on the date you have selected. This means that applying for your pension implies claiming your entitlements under the currently applicable rules. There is no way to pre-claim without triggering pension payments. The rules that apply to your claim are those applicable on your pension effective date.

You can use your personal account to claim your pension online, within the 6-month period immediately prior to the date you have selected.