Firefighters RDS modified scheme

Ill-health pension

A serving firefighter who has at least 3 months qualifying service and who leaves because of permanent disablement for the duties of their role may be considered at any age for an ill-health pension. There are two tiers of ill-health award:

  • a lower tier award which provides a lower tier pension
  • a higher tier award which provides a lower tier pension plus a higher tier pension

The higher tier award is made where the firefighter has at least 5 years' qualifying service (i.e. the "calendar length" of Scheme membership) and is not only permanently disabled for the performance of the duties of his/her role as a firefighter but is also permanently disabled from undertaking regular employment.

For a special firefighter member, the lower tier ill-health pension would be assessed on similar principles to those used in the assessment of an age or deferred pension. It is based on the formula:

1/45 x pensionable service x final pensionable pay

The method of assessment of a higher tier ill-health pension, particularly for a retained firefighter, is a bit more complicated. It is based on a proportion of prospective service, i.e. the service the firefighter will not be able to achieve because of the ill-health retirement.

The formula for assessing a higher tier ill-health pension for special firefighter members is:

(2% x A) × (A x C) 
 × D 


A is the pensionable service accrued in the Scheme before ill-health retirement, i.e. assessed on similar principles to the pensionable service used in an age or deferred pension calculation

B is qualifying service, i.e. "calendar length" of Scheme membership

C is the pensionable service that the firefighter would have accrued from the date of

ill-health retirement until normal retirement age (55) had he/she continued to be a contributing member of the Scheme as a whole-time regular firefighter

D is the final pensionable pay ("reference pay").

For example, if a special firefighter member had been a member of the Scheme for 16 years (16 years' qualifying service), has 4 years of pensionable service credited up to the date of leaving and if a whole-time regular firefighter would have completed a further 12 years' pensionable service to age 55 and would have final pensionable pay of £29,501.37, the higher tier ill-health pension would be assessed as:

(2% x A) × (4 x 12) 
 × £29,501.37 
 = £157.34 a year

It would be added to the lower tier ill-health pension to form the higher tier ill-health award.

Part of a lower tier, but not a higher tier, ill-health pension can be commuted to provide a lump sum if the firefighter wishes.