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Firefighters RDS modified scheme
Survivor pensions

Survivor pensions

In the event of the death of a RDS modified member (whether before or after retirement) a pension will be paid to a surviving spouse, or civil partner, or nominated partner and/or child.

If the deceased was a serving RDS modified member:

  • the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the higher tier award to which the firefighter would have been entitled if he/she had retired on health grounds on the date of death;
  • the child's pension would be one quarter of the higher tier ill-health award; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the higher tier award divided between the children.

If the deceased had left RDS modified, was entitled to a deferred pension, but that pension had not yet come into payment:

  • the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the deferred pension;
  • the child's pension would be one quarter of the deferred pension; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the deferred pension divided between the children.

If the deceased was in receipt of pension from RDS modified at the time of death:

  • the spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the deceased's pension*;
  • the child's pension would be one quarter of the deceased's pension*; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the deceased's pension* divided between the children.

* i.e. the value of the pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation

If the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the pension as mentioned above in respect of serving, deferred or pensioner members, will be reduced by 2.5% for every year or part year in excess of the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%.

If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, the pension paid to the child/children would be equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner. If there is more than one child, the pension would be divided equally between the children. It would stop when the children cease to be eligible.

The calculation of these awards for special members of the modified RDS modified will have regard to the principles for assessing pensionable service and pensionable pay for firefighters as shown in the previous sections, but no other special terms apply.

In the case of death after retirement, or after a deferred pension has been put into payment, for the first 13 weeks after the date of death a short-term "bereavement pension" is payable to the spouse or partner. This brings the level of the spouse or partner's pension up to the weekly rate of pension being received by the retired firefighter at the date of death. There are no special provisions here for a retained firefighter: all the relevant adjustments would have been made at the time of retirement.

A bereavement pension is also payable in the event of death in service, for the first 13 weeks after the date of death. This brings the level of spouse or partner's pension up to the level of the firefighter's pensionable pay. In the case of a retained firefighter, pensionable pay for this purpose will be a proportion of that paid to a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role and with a similar length of service.

The proportion is worked out on the same principles as those used for working out the pensionable pay on which a death grant would be assessed. The retained firefighter in the death grant example had 5 years 291 days of qualifying service (5.7973 years) of which 1.6915 years counted as pensionable service, and the pensionable pay of a whole-time regular firefighter in a similar role was £28,000.

Using the same details for the bereavement pension, this would mean that for the first 13

weeks following the firefighter's death in service, the bereavement pension should bring

the level of the spouse's or partner's pension up to:

£28,000/52.2 x 1.6915/5.7973 = £156.51

If no pension is payable to a spouse or partner but a pension is payable to a child or children, they would receive the bereavement pension. (If there is more than one child, the bereavement pension would be divided between them.)

There is no bereavement pension due in the case of a deferred pension which had not come into payment at the date of death.

A spouse's or partner's pension is payable for life, even if he/she marries, remarries, forms a civil partnership or a subsequent civil partnership. Also, there is no difference in treatment according to whether the marriage/partnership commenced before or after the Scheme member's retirement.

A child is eligible to receive a pension if below age 18, or below age 23 and in full-time education. Eligibility ceases on marriage, civil partnership or upon ceasing full-time education and entering remunerated employment, if earlier.

A child who is permanently disabled and dependent on the firefighter at the date of death may be entitled to receive a pension for life.

Contact West Yorkshire Pension Fund if you wish to have more detailed information on any of these points, or would like to discuss your personal circumstances.