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Firefighters 2006 scheme
Claiming a pension

Payment of benefits

Pensions are paid in arrears in monthly instalments and you can find a list of the payment dates here.

Lump sums by commutation are paid by the authority as soon as possible after they become due.

If the pension is payable at normal pension age, an active member must make a claim for payment; if the claim is received before employment ends, payment will begin on the day after the end of employment. If a claim is not received until after employment has ended, the pension will be paid from a date after the claim is made – the authority would notify the member of this date.

Where an active member is entitled to pension on employer initiated retirement, the pension is payable from the day after Scheme employment ends.

If an active member has chosen the partial retirement option, the pension is payable from the day after the date on which the partial retirement option was exercised.

The first period for which an ill-health pension is payable is the day after the date on which the member's Scheme employment is terminated.

A deferred pension is paid from deferred pension age provided that the member has claimed payment. At the member's request it could be deferred further – up to age 75 – or it could be paid earlier, at or after age 55 but with an early payment reduction. If a request is made for early payment of deferred pension on ill-health grounds and the authority has agreed that payment can be made in these circumstances, it would commence from the date on which the deferred member satisfied the ill-health payment requirements. If this date cannot be established, payment would commence from the date of the member's request.

Pensions for a surviving partner and eligible children will be paid from the day after the date of the member's death. In the case of an eligible child born after the death of the member, payment would commence from the date of the child's birth.

If a child is below the age of 18, the authority will decide who should receive the payments but would require the pension to be applied for the benefit of the child in accordance with the authority's instructions. If, after pensions have been awarded and apportioned between eligible children, the authority is made aware of an additional child who has a valid claim (this would include a child born after the member's death) the authority may make retrospective adjustments to the pensions. (The authority has a right to recover payments or overpayments in circumstances where it is considered appropriate to do so.)


Pensions increase

Benefits payable under FPS2006 are increased in line with the Retail Price Index under Pensions Increase Acts and Orders.


Changing my address

If you need to change your address please give WYPF contact centre a call on 01274 434999 or write to us at:

WYPF
PO Box 67
Bradford BD1 1UP


Changing my account details

If you need to change your account details please write to us with your new details at:

WYPF
PO Box 67
Bradford BD1 1UP


Withdrawal of pension

In certain circumstances a benefit payable under FPS2006 can be reduced or withdrawn.

Benefits may be reduced by an "earmarking" or pension sharing order issued on divorce, judicial separation, nullity or dissolution of a civil partnership.

A fire and rescue authority may withdraw the whole or part of a retired FPS2006 member's pension for any period during which that person is serving again as a firefighter with any fire and rescue authority (e.g. on re-employment after retirement). This is referred to as abatement.

They may also withdraw part or all of a pension, permanently or temporarily, if the person otherwise entitled to the pension has been convicted of an offence:

  • of treason, or under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 (in the case of a dependant the offence must have been committed after the death of the Scheme member);
  • committed in connection with his/her service as an employee of a fire and rescue authority which is certified by the Secretary of State either to have been gravely injurious to the interests of the State or to be liable to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service; or
  • under section 34(6) of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 (acts or omissions for obtaining awards or other sums).

A pension is not payable to a dependant convicted of the murder of the firefighter from whose pension rights the pension derives; if convicted of manslaughter of the firefighter, the fire and rescue authority have discretion to withhold all or part of the pension.

If a person has been receiving an ill-health pension for less than ten years, and has not reached State pension age the fire and rescue authority must review the entitlement of the person to receive the pension. To do this they will consider, with the help of a medical opinion, whether the person has recovered sufficiently to be capable of carrying out any duty appropriate to the role from which he/she was retired on health grounds. If the ill-health pension in payment is a higher tier award, the authority must also consider if the person has become fit enough to undertake any regular employment.

In the case of a lower tier pension, if the person's condition has improved to the point at which he/she could return to a role as firefighter and the fire and rescue authority offer such employment, the pension will cease. A person who takes up the employment would have the ill-health pension cancelled but the service upon which it was based would count towards a subsequent pension. If the person refuses the job offered, the ill-health pension would be cancelled and the service upon which it was based would count towards a deferred pension payable at age 65.

In the case of a higher tier pension, if the person is considered fit to return to the role of firefighter the position would be as described above (but service counting towards further pension entitlement would not include the ill-health enhancement). If the person is not considered fit enough to be a firefighter, but fit enough for regular employment, the pension would continue in payment but without the ill-health enhancement.

Deferred pensions put into payment early on grounds of ill-health must be reviewed too. If the person is fit for regular employment, the payment of the deferred pension would be suspended until age 65.


Rights of appeal

If a FPS2006 member, or a dependant, is dissatisfied with a decision made by a fire and rescue authority (or the failure to make a decision) there are rights of appeal available.

The FPS2006 contains arrangements for Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures (“IDRP”) based on the requirements of the Pensions Act 1995. There are also provisions for medical appeal if a person is dissatisfied with a medical opinion upon which a determination of award is based.

Looking at the medical appeal route first, if an authority are considering whether or not to make an award of an ill-health pension to a firefighter (or to allow early payment of a deferred pension on health grounds), they must first obtain the written opinion of an independent qualified medical practitioner (“IQMP”) as to whether the person is permanently disabled for the duties of his/her role and, if so, whether he/she would be capable of any other regular employment. The authority must notify the firefighter of their decision as to award and supply a copy of the medical opinion upon which their determination is based.

If an FPS2006 member is dissatisfied with the award and believes the problem lies in the medical opinion, then he/she can appeal against the opinion to a Board of Medical Referees. (Before this stage, however, if the member provides new evidence of a medical nature and the member and the authority agree, the IQMP can be asked to review the medical opinion in the light of the new evidence.)

A similar process applies if an ill-health award is reviewed and the person is dissatisfied with the outcome.

If the grievance of the FPS2006 member, a dependant, or a pension credit member is with a decision made by the fire and rescue authority rather than with the content of a medical opinion, or is in respect of a non-medical aspect of the opinion, he/she can use IDRP to seek resolution. The grievance will be considered and a written response made.

Full details of the medical appeal procedures, the IDRP process, and relevant time limits can be supplied by the fire and rescue authority.


The Pensions Advisory Service ("TPAS")

TPAS is an independent voluntary organisation which provides information and guidance on pension matters. They are available at any time to assist occupational pension scheme members and beneficiaries in connection with any pension query they may have or any difficulty which they have failed to resolve with pension scheme administrators. Their service is free. TPAS cannot enforce pensions action but, if felt appropriate, could recommend a person to put his/her case to the Pensions Ombudsman. They can be contacted at:

The Pensions Advisory Service,
11, Belgrave Road,
London, SW1V 1RB

Telephone helpline: 0300 123 1047
Website: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk


The Pension Ombudsman

The Pensions Ombudsman can investigate a pension scheme member's complaint of maladministration or a dispute of fact or law between a scheme member and pension scheme managers or employer. However, the Ombudsman cannot help if court proceedings have begun in respect of the dispute, under any of the FBS rules (1992/2006 or 2015).

The Ombudsman will expect the case to have first been put through Internal Dispute Resolution Procedures. Also, a complainant who writes to the Ombudsman direct will normally be requested to have the case dealt with initially by The Pensions Advisory Service.

The Pensions Ombudsman can be contacted at:

The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman,
11 Belgrave Road,
London, SW1V 1RB

Telephone: 020 7630 2200
Website: www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk


The Pension Regulator

The Pensions Regulator is a regulatory body which came into existence on 6 April 2005 having been set up under the Pensions Act 2004 (replacing the earlier Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority). It ensures that pension scheme members' interests are protected and that schemes comply with the law.

For example, the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 includes requirements for the governance and administration of public service schemes (including FPS 1992, 2006 and 2015), and for oversight by The Pensions Regulator. Fire and rescue authorities must comply with The Pension Regulator's Code of Practice No.14 which sets out a framework for governance and administration.

At central level there must be a Scheme Advisory Board and at local level a Pension Board with responsibility for assisting the authority ("scheme manager") to comply with Scheme regulations and other legislation relating to the governance of the Scheme.

The Local Pension Board must have an equal number of employee and employer representatives, a minimum of 4 in total, 2 from each side. They must be conversant with the Scheme rules and have an understanding of the law relating to pensions. It is not a decision-making board although it can review decisions made under the Scheme rules.

At the time of writing this guide, some of the Pensions Regulator's requirements for the Firefighters' Pension Schemes are still in draft form, but your fire and rescue authority can keep you informed about local arrangements

The Pensions Regulator deals with issues about pension schemes as a whole. It does not deal with queries about an individual’s pension benefits but recommends that a person seeking free information and advice on all types of pensions should approach The Pensions Advisory Service.

Website: www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk