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Firefighters 1992 scheme
Retirement

How much service do I need to qualify for a pension?

To be eligible for any of the pensions you must have at least 2 years' pensionable service in the FPS. If you have less, you would still be eligible if you have had a transfer of personal pension scheme rights into the FPS.


At what age would I be paid my pension?

Normal pension age for all members of the FPS is age 55. If you choose to retire at or after this age, your pension would be put into immediate payment. Or you could retire earlier with immediate payment of benefits provided you have reached age 50 and have at least 25 years' service.

An ill-health pension may be payable at any age.

If you leave the FPS before becoming entitled to payment of age or ill-health retirement benefits you may be awarded a deferred pension. This would be payable from:

  • age 60, or
  • subject to appropriate medical certification, at any age on grounds of permanent ill-health which prevents you from undertaking firefighting or any of the other duties appropriate to your former role.

Your fire and rescue authority may require you to retire if they consider that your retention in the fire and rescue service would not be in the general interest of efficiency. You must, however, be eligible at that time for immediate payment of an age retirement pension, having attained age 50 and having at least 25 years' pensionable service.


How is a pension calculated?

The FPS is a final salary pension scheme which means that your pension will be a proportion of final average pensionable pay. The proportion will depend, in part, upon how much pensionable service you have at the time of leaving the Scheme. For age and ill-health pensions, a principle of "fast accrual" is used. For each of the first 20 years of pensionable service, you will get 1/60th of average pensionable pay and for each of the following years you will get 2/60ths of average pensionable pay. Each day of pensionable service will count as 1/365th of 1/60th. The maximum number of 60ths that you can count is 40 (after 30 years' service). For example, if you retire at age 55 with 30 years of pensionable service and average pensionable pay of £30,000, your pension would be assessed as:

(20 x 1/60) + (10 x 2/60) x £30,000 = 40/60 x £30,000 = £20,000.00 a year

or, if you retire at age 50 after 27 years with the same pay, your pension would be:

(20 x 1/60) + (7 x 2/60) x £30,000 = 34/60 x £30,000 = £17,000.00 a year


What is pensionable service?

This is your service as a member of the Scheme and in respect of which you have paid contributions. If you have ever worked part-time, the starting point for assessment of your pension is to use the pensionable service you would be able to count if whole-time.

Various other periods may count as pensionable service e.g. that credited on receipt of a transfer value from another pension arrangement, unpaid leave (including additional maternity and adoption leave) for which contributions have been paid, or service which previously counted towards a pension which has since been cancelled. "Purchased 60ths" paid for by additional contributions would also be included in the assessment of pension.


What is average pensionable pay?

In most cases this will be your pensionable pay averaged over the last 365 days of pensionable service.

If either of the two preceding periods of 365 days would produce a greater amount, the final pensionable pay from one of those earlier periods could be substituted. This protects your pension if you have a reduction in pay in your last couple of years' service. If you have a reduction in pay earlier on in your service, the "two pension option" could help you.

If at any time you have worked part-time, the starting point for assessment of your pension is to use the pensionable pay you would be able to count if whole-time.


Age retirement pension

This would be payable to a firefighter who is age 50 or over with at least 25 years' service (it is referred to as an "ordinary pension" in the FPS rules), or age 55 or over with at least 2 years' service (this is referred to as a "short service pension").

For example, if you retire at 55, with 22 years' pensionable service and average pensionable pay of £28,000, your pension would be:

(20 x 1/60) + (2 x 2/60) x £28,000 = 24/60 x £28,000 = £11,200.00 a year

Part of the annual pension can be commuted to provide a lump sum if you wish.


Ill - health pension

If you have at least 2 years' pensionable service (or, if less, you are entitled to an award under the Compensation Scheme) and you are permanently disabled for the performance of the duties of your role, you may be considered at any age for an ill-health pension.

There are two tiers of award – lower tier and higher tier. The lower tier award provides a lower tier ill-health pension only; a higher tier award provides a lower tier plus a higher tier ill-health pension. The lower tier award is made where the firefighter is permanently disabled for the performance of the duties of his/her role. A higher tier award is made where, additionally, the firefighter is permanently disabled for any other regular employment. "Regular employment" in this context means employment for 30 hours a week on average over a 12 month period.

Calculation of lower tier pension

If you have less than 5 years' pensionable service, the lower tier ill-health pension is calculated in the same way as an age retirement pension, i.e.

1/60 x pensionable service x average pensionable pay

Assuming your average pensionable pay is £30,000 and you had completed 3 years' service at the date of retirement, your lower tier pension would be calculated as:

1/60 x 3 x £30,000 = £1,500 a year.

If you have 5 or more years' pensionable service, the lower tier ill-health pension is calculated in the same way as a deferred pension. For example, assuming that you could have completed 30 years' service by age 55 but have completed only 12 years at the date of retirement, and average pensionable pay is £30,000, the lower tier pension would be calculated as:

12/30 x 40/60 x £30,000 = £8,000 a year

Calculation of higher tier pension

This involves a two-stage calculation. The first stage assesses a pension including an enhancement of service; the next stage deducts from the resultant pension an amount equal to the lower tier pension. The difference is the higher tier pension.

The enhancement of