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Firefighters 1992 scheme – Active
Survivor pensions

Survivor pensions

Widow(er’s) Pension

When a FPS1992 member dies (whether before or after retirement), if he/she had completed at least 2 years' pensionable service a pension will be paid to a surviving spouse.

Provided husband and wife were not living separately the widow(er)'s pension would be:

  • in the case of a serving Scheme member – half of the total lower and higher tier ill-health pensions to which the firefighter would have been entitled if he/she had retired on health grounds on the date of death;
  • in the case of a retired Scheme member where the marriage took place before the member ceased to be a firefighter – half of the former firefighter's pension as calculated before any reduction was made for commutation and/or allocation;
  • in the case a firefighter, or former firefighter entitled to a deferred pension which was not in payment at the date of death – half of the deferred pension.

If the FPS1992 member had worked part-time, account will be taken of this in the assessment of the widow(er)'s pension.

For firefighters with service before April 1972, the pension may be less than half. The authority's pensions administrator can give personalised details if required.

Husband and wife living separately

If husband and wife were living separately at the date of death, the surviving spouse's pension would be calculated as:

pensionable service after 5.4.1978 x 1/160 x average pensionable pay

However, if a greater pension ("the full pension") would be payable if husband and wife were not living apart, the pension calculated by the formula shown above:

  • must be increased to the level of any maintenance contributions the deceased was paying or liable to pay at the date of death for the support of spouse and/or child, but this must not be greater than the full pension
  • may be increased to the full pension at the discretion of the fire and rescue authority.

Post-retirement marriage

If a former firefighter marries after leaving the fire and rescue service the surviving spouse's pension would be assessed as the greater of the following –

pensionable service after 5.4.1978 x 1/160 x firefighter's average pensionable pay,

or

1/2 × service after 5.4.1978
total pensionable service
× firefighter's pension

total pensionable service

Same sex marriage

If a FPS1992 member dies (before or after retirement), the widow(er) of a same sex marriage would be entitled to a pension based on similar principles to those set out above for a widow(er) but it would reflect service from 6 April 1988 only.

Surviving Civil Partners pension

The surviving partner of a registered civil partnership would be entitled to a pension based on similar principles to those set out above for the widow(er) of a same sex marriage.

Children’s benefits

When a FPS1992 member dies (before or after retirement) a pension will be paid to an eligible child. “Child”, in this context, means a legitimate or illegitimate child, a step-child or adopted child of the member, and any other child substantially dependent on the member who is either related to him/her or a child of his/her spouse or civil partner.

A child will normally not be eligible if he/she:

  • is age 18 or older;
  • has ceased full-time education and is in paid employment; or
  • is married or has entered into a civil partnership.

However, a child aged 18 or over will be eligible if:

  • under age 23 and in full-time education or attending a course which lasts for at least a year, or
  • at the date of the (former) firefighter’s death was dependent upon him/her because of permanent disablement.

The amount of a child's pension due would depend upon the number of eligible children and whether or not the child or children have a surviving parent.

If a FPS1992 member dies in service, where there is a surviving parent and less than 3 eligible children, each child would receive 18.75% of the combined lower and higher tier ill-health pensions; if there are 3 or more eligible children, 37.5% of the combined lower and higher-tier ill-health pensions would be divided equally by the number of children. If there is no surviving parent and less than 3 eligible children, each child would receive 25% of the combined lower and higher tier ill-health pensions; if there are 3 or more eligible children, 50% of the combined lower and higher-tier ill-health pensions would be divided equally by the number of children.

If a person dies after leaving the service or the FPS1992, the children would be entitled to a similar percentage, in similar proportions, of the pension in payment (or a deferred pension not yet in payment).

Flat rate pension

Instead of the standard awards set out in the previous section, a widow(er), civil partner or child can elect, instead, to receive a "flat rate" award. This is the type of award that was provided in the early days of the FPS1992 when dependants' awards were quite limited. Nowadays it is unlikely that a flat rate award would provide a better pension in respect of a firefighter appointed after the mid 1970s.

Survivor’s additional pension benefit

If a firefighter has entitlement to an Additional Pension Benefit ("APB"), whether or not it is in payment at the date of death, a portion is paid to a surviving spouse or civil partner and/or any eligible children. The portion will reflect the percentage of the main FPS1992 pension that is paid, e.g. half to a widow, 18.75% to a single eligible child, etc.

Dependent relative’s gratuity

This can be paid at the discretion of the fire and rescue authority if the FPS1992 member dies in service or after retirement (other than with a deferred pension). The recipient must be a relative who was substantially dependent on the Scheme member at the date of death and must not be entitled to any other award under the Scheme. A relative in this context means a widow(er), civil partner, parent, a grandparent, a child of the member or any child of these relatives. In normal circumstances, of course, the widow(er), civil partner, or child of the member will nowadays be entitled to an award under the main provisions of the FPS1992. This is another provision dating back to when Scheme rules did not offer the current level of dependants' awards.

The award can be of any amount provided it does not exceed the total contributions paid into the Scheme by the FPS1992 member.

Payment of contributions to the estate

If the total actuarial value of benefits paid to an FPS1992 member's surviving spouse, civil partner and children (plus any benefits paid to the member if death is after retirement) is less than the contributions he/she has paid into the FPS1992, the difference will be paid to the firefighter's estate.

Bereavement Pension

For the first 13 weeks following the FPS1992 member’s death, the surviving spouse or civil partner will be paid a “bereavement pension” which, for each week, is the difference between the survivor’s pension and

  • in the case of death in service, the weekly rate of pensionable pay of the firefighter at the date of death,
  • in the case of death while in receipt of a pension, the weekly rate of pension being paid at the date of death, including any Pensions Increase.

A bereavement pension is not paid in respect of an optant out or a FPS1992 member with deferred benefits which were not into payment at the date of death.

If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner to receive the bereavement pension, it could be paid instead to a child who is receiving a pension under the Scheme.