Firefighters 2015 scheme - Active
When can I retire?
This will depend upon your age and the circumstances in which you are leaving the fire and rescue service. Normal pension age is 60 but, if you remain an active Scheme member, you can continue to accrue pension (and would get an "age addition" to reflect the fact that you have postponed receipt of your pension). There is no limit to the amount of pension that you can build up by remaining in service.
You may request payment of your pension before age 60 provided that you have reached age 55. It may be reduced, though, to reflect early retirement.
Or if, at any age before reaching age 60, you become incapable of performing any of the duties of your role, you may be entitled to an ill-health award.
If you are an active member at normal pension age (60) you can draw your pension at any time on or after your 60th birthday. Your active member's account and any added pension account would be closed and a retirement account set up. There would be no reduction for early retirement but there may be an age addition if you had continued in service after age 60.
If you are an active member but wish to draw your pension before age 60, you can give written notice to the authority that you would like to receive your retirement pension at or after age 55. In these circumstances, however, the pension would be subject to an early retirement reduction based on factors provided by the Scheme actuary.
There is also an option for "partial retirement" once you have reached age 55 if you wish to draw your pension but continue your employment as a firefighter without break and accrue additional pension. Your active member's account and any added pension account would be closed, and the pension held in those accounts would be put into payment (subject to an early payment reduction if you had not reached age 60). A new active member's account would be opened for the pension you will accrue in your continuing membership. This second pension will become payable, on similar terms to your first pension, when you are ready to draw it
A retirement pension may also be paid to an active member at or after age 55 but before age 60 without any early payment reduction in the event of "employer initiated retirement". This is where an authority terminates a member's employment and has determined that a retirement pension should be awarded on the basis that it would "assist the economical, effective and efficient management of its functions" having taken account of the costs likely to be incurred in the particular case. (There would still be a cost to paying the retirement pension before normal pension age but in these circumstances the authority would have to pick up the cost rather than the Scheme member.)
In all of these circumstances where a retirement pension is put into payment, before payment commences you will have the option to commute part of the pension to provide a lump sum or to allocate part of the pension to provide benefits for a dependant in the event of your death.
If it appears to the authority that a person, other than an eligible child, is incapable of managing their affairs, e.g. because of mental incapacity, the pension may be paid to someone having the care of the person or to someone who will apply the benefit for the person concerned. Alternatively the authority may determine some other way in which the benefits should be applied for the benefit of the person.
You can nominate who you would like to receive the lump sum death benefit, but the authority has absolute discretion as to the recipient(s), including legal personal representatives as named in Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
If only a small pension is payable and is less than limits set by HM Revenue and Customs, subject to certain other requirements of the tax rules being satisfied (e.g. the age of the pensioner) the authority may commute the pension to a lump sum. Or the authority may decide to pay a small pension at less frequent intervals than the intervals at which they normally pay pensions.