The Scottish Government is addressing the issue of Firefighters' Pension Scheme contributions paid in excess of 30 years' service before age 50.
Following an agreement between the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) (now Home Office) and the Fire Brigades Unions in England and Wales an agreement was reached that firefighters are not required to pay the excess contributions between reaching the 30 year limit and their 50th birthday. Scottish Ministers agreed that the settlement should also be applied in Scotland.
The agreement means eligible firefighters who retired after 1 December 2006 having accrued 30 years' service will be eligible to receive a refund of any employee contributions paid between the date they reached maximum service, and the day before they reached age 50. Where maximum service was reached prior to 1 December 2006, only contributions paid after that date and before age 50 are eligible to be refunded.
In addition, currently active FPS 1992 members who have reached, or will reach, 30 years' service before age 50 will be entitled to a "contributions holiday" and refund of any overpaid contributions. Under the agreement, pension contributions become payable again from age 50. Payments to active members will be made by the Scottish Fire Rescue Service (SFRS).
The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA), which administers Scotland's firefighters' pension schemes, is committed to ensuring that retired firefighters affected by this issue receive any payments they are entitled to in full and as soon as possible.
On 7 November 2016 the SPPA Acting Chief Executive wrote to those affected to confirm that the Agency is aware of their case and is dealing with it. A further letter will be issued before the end of the year with information on timescales for repayment and how the process will be managed.