Firefighters 1992 scheme
Claiming a pension
Payment of benefits
Pensions are paid in regular instalments, at intervals of the fire and rescue authority’s choosing, once they are satisfied that a person has entitlement to the award and subject to them having all the information they need. Lump sums by commutation are payable as soon as possible after they become due.
The authority has discretion as to whom a minor's award will be paid but they must have assurance that it would be used for the benefit of the minor. Similarly, if payment is due to a person who has become incapable of managing his/her affairs, the authority has discretion to pay it to another person as they think best.
If there has been a loss to the funds of the authority because of fraud, theft or negligence on the part of a firefighter in connection with his/her employment, the authority may withhold all or any of the sum lost subject, in the event of dispute, to the order of a court.
Pensions payable under the FPS1992 are increased in accordance with Pensions Increase Acts and Orders. Any increase due is paid with immediate effect to ill-health pensions and pensions for widow(er)s, civil partners and children. It is paid with age retirement pensions from age 55, taking account of any increases which have accumulated from the date of retirement if earlier. Similarly, any increases accrued from date of leaving are applied to a deferred pension when put into payment at age 60.
Allocation is an option to give up part of your pension at retirement to provide, on your death, a pension for a spouse or civil partner or dependant (in addition to those which are “automatically” provided by the FPS1992). It is an old provision which has remained preserved in the FPS1992 since its early days even though dependants' benefits have improved from their original levels.
An election to allocate must be given no later than the day before benefits become payable and no earlier than 2 months before. (Acceptance is subject to medical evidence of a normal life expectancy.) The amount provided as a pension on allocation depends upon the age and sex of the firefighter and of the nominated beneficiary.
The fire and rescue authority's pensions administrator can give you a personalised quote before your pension becomes due if you are interested in this option.
Withdrawal of pension
In certain circumstances a benefit payable under the FPS1992 can be reduced or withdrawn as explained below.
A Scheme member's benefits may be reduced by an "earmarking" or a pension sharing order issued on divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership, annulment or judicial separation.
A fire and rescue authority may withdraw the whole or part of a Scheme member's pension in payment, for any period during which that person is employed by any fire and rescue authority, in any capacity.
A fire and rescue authority may withdraw a pension in whole or in part, permanently or temporarily, if the person otherwise entitled to the pension –
- has been convicted of an offence of treason, or one or more offences 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); or
- has been convicted of an offence 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.
A pension is not payable to a dependant convicted of the murder of the FPS1992 member from whose pension rights the pension would derive; if convicted of manslaughter of the member, 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 age 60 the fire and rescue authority must review – at such intervals as they think proper – the continuing 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 a higher tier ill-health pension is in payment, the authority must also consider if the person has become fit enough to undertake any regular employment.
In the case of a lower tier award, if the person's condition has improved to the point at which he/she could return to his/her role as a 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 60.
In the case of a higher tier award, if the person is considered fit to return to his/her former firefighter role, the position would be as described above (but service counting towards further pension entitlement would not include ill-health enhancement). If the person is considered fit for regular employment but not for his/her role as a firefighter, the higher tier pension would cease and the lower tier pension would continue in payment on its own.
Deferred pensions put into payment early on grounds of ill-health must be reviewed too.