What happens if I leave or opt out?
If you do not want to be a member of the NFPS you can opt out at any time by giving written notice to your Fire and Rescue Authority. The notice would take effect from the start of the following pay period.
If you have less than three months qualifying service at the time the notice takes effect, you would normally receive a refund of the contributions you had paid (see below). If you have three months or more qualifying service you would have a choice of:
- A transfer of accrued pension rights to another pension arrangement (see page 14), or
- A deferred pension (see page 13).
You would cease to have any further cover under the NFPS (other than that provided by any deferred pension). You would, however, continue to be covered by the provisions of the Compensation Scheme.
If you subsequently change your mind and wish to rejoin, you can do so provided that:
- You have less than 40 years in the NFPS at that time
- You have not opted out on more than one occasion, and
- If your Fire and Rescue Authority so require, you undergo a medical examination at your own expense to satisfy them of your good health.
Your election to rejoin would take effect from the start of the following pay period.
If you are thinking about opting-out of the NFPS we recommend you seek independent financial advice. You would save the cost of contributions but would possibly pay more by way of tax (contributions normally attract tax relief) and National Insurance contributions (while a member of the NFPS you pay the lower contracted out rate) and you and your dependants would cease to have the cover the NFPS provides.
You can have a refund of contributions only if you are not entitled to one of the types of pension offered by the Scheme. This means that a refund could be made only if you:
- Have less than three months qualifying service in the NFPS, and
- Have not reached State pension age, and
- A transfer of personal pension rights has not been paid into the Scheme.
If you are eligible for a refund, this would be the total of all the contributions that you have paid. Deductions would be made from the refund in respect of:
- The certified amount of any Contributions Equivalent Premium due; this is a payment that has to be made to "buy" you back into the State Second Pension – while a member of the NFPS you will have been contracted out of that element of the State pension scheme; and
- Tax; under current HM Revenue and Customs rules this is currently 20% in respect of the first £10,800 refunded and at 40% in respect of any amount in excess of £10,800.