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Firefighters 2015 scheme – Active
Can I increase my pension?

If, as an active member of FPS 2015 you wish to increase your retirement pension and death benefits, you can do so by making payments in the form of periodical payments or lump sum.

There are, however, limits on the amount of extra pension that can be "purchased" in this way:

  • for the scheme year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 the overall limit is £6,500.
  • for any scheme year beginning on or after 1 April 2017 the overall limit is that which has been determined for the Scheme by HM Treasury and published before the start of the scheme year. If, however, HM Treasury have not made such a determination, the overall limit would be that of the previous scheme year's figure, increased under Pensions (Increase) Acts and Orders. Your pension administrator would advise you of the current limit.

If you wish to take up this option you should give notice in writing to the authority (they may have a special form for this purpose). The basic details you give in your notice should state whether:

  • the added payments are to be made by periodical payments or by lump sum
  • you already have an added pension account with another employer
  • you are making an added pension election in connection with another Scheme employment.

If you want to pay by periodical payments you would also have to indicate:

  • the period over which you wish to make the payments (including the end date),
  • the amount to be deducted from your pensionable pay in each pay period and whether this will be as a percentage of your pay or as a fixed sum (the authority may set a minimum amount).

The periodical payment period will begin on the first appropriate pay period after the date on which the authority receive the notice of your election. It will end on the date you give in your election or earlier if you cease to be an active member or if it appears to the authority that the overall limit of added pension will be exceeded.

If you do not want the periodical payments to be deducted from your pay it may be possible to arrange another method of payment but this would be at the authority's discretion.

If the periodical payments are deducted from your pay and your pensionable pay is reduced or stops and/or you are treated as receiving assumed pensionable pay, you would have the option to stop the payments or to continue making the payments as if receiving pensionable pay at the full rate. If the reason for the reduction is child-related leave you would have the additional option of varying the amount of periodical payment according to the actual pay you receive for that period. At the end of a period of reduced pay you can ask the authority to collect any "underpayment" of periodical contributions. The authority will provide you with full details and time limits.

Should you elect to make a single lump sum payment for added pension rather than periodical contributions, your election would have to indicate how much you wish to pay. This must not be less than any minimum amount determined by the authority. The lump sum would have to be paid within 3 months of the date of the notice of election.

If you choose to make these payments, an "added pension account" would be set up for you (in addition to your active member's account). An amount of added pension, determined by the authority in accordance with guidance from the Scheme actuary, would be credited to the account for each scheme year in which the additional payments are made. As in the case of an active member's account, the added pension would be "indexed" each year to keep pace with inflation but, unlike the active member's account where the indexation is based on average weekly earnings, the added pension account would be indexed in lined with Pensions (Increase) Acts and Orders.