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I want to know more about my pension benefits

Normal Pension Age

Normal pension age for all members of the NFPS is age 60.  If you choose to retire at or after this age, your pension would be put into immediate payment.  If you have reached age 55 but not age 60, you could:

    • At your Fire and Rescue Authority's discretion, be granted an "approved early retirement pension".  This may be awarded in circumstances where your Fire and Rescue Authority determine that you should be retired in the interests of the management of the service. There would be no reduction to the pension.
    • Choose to take a "member-initiated early retirement pension".  In this case, however, your pension would be reduced to reflect early payment.

An ill-health pension may be payable at any age.

If you leave the NFPS before becoming entitled to payment of any of the above awards you may be awarded a deferred pension. This would be payable from:

    • Age 65, or
    • At your request, between ages 55 and 65, but subject to the reduction which would apply in the case of a member-initiated early retirement pension, or
    • Subject to appropriate medical certification, at any age, on grounds of permanent ill-health which prevents you from undertaking any regular employment.

Pension Calculations

The NFPS is a final salary pension scheme which means that your pension will be a proportion of final pensionable pay.  The proportion will depend, in part, upon how much pensionable service you have at the time of leaving the Scheme.  For each year of pensionable service, you will get 1/60th of final pay.  Each day of pensionable service will count as 1/365th of 1/60th. For example, if you retire at age 60 with 35 years 28 days of pensionable service and final pensionable pay of £32,000, your pension would be assessed as 35 28/365 x 1/60 x £32,000 = £18,707.58 a year

Pensionable Service

This is your period of service as a member of the NFPS in which you have paid contributions.  If your hours of employment are less than whole-time, the "calendar" (qualifying) length of service would be pro rated to reflect your part-time hours.  For example if you work half-time and have completed six "calendar" years of service, your pensionable service will be three years.  Various other periods may count as pensionable service including:

    • Credit from a transfer value from another pension arrangement
    • Unpaid leave (including maternity and adoption leave) where contributions have been paid
    • Service which previously counted towards an award but was cancelled
    • “Purchased 60ths” paid for by additional contributions

Final Pensionable Pay

In most cases this will be your pensionable pay averaged over the last 365 days of pensionable service. If either of the two preceding years would produce a greater amount, the final pensionable pay from one of those years could be substituted.   If your hours of employment are less than whole-time, although your pensionable service will be pro rated to reflect your hours, the final pensionable pay used in the pension calculation will be the whole-time equivalent pensionable pay.

Normally the "best-of the-last-three-years" principle will cater for any fluctuations in pay leading up to retirement.  Sometimes, however, a firefighter may change roles or have a reduction in an element of pensionable pay earlier in his or her career.  E.g. by transferring to a post without a pensionable  allowance such as flexible duty supplement.  To protect pension rights, the firefighter could be awarded a "split pension" (please see full guide for details).

Age Retirement Pension

This award would be payable to a firefighter who has sufficient service to qualify for a pension and who retires at or after age 60.  The basic formula is used:

annual pension = 1/60 x pensionable service x final pensionable pay

For example, a firefighter who has completed 40 years' pensionable service and whose final pensionable pay is £30,000 would receive immediate payment of a pension of :

40/60 x £30,000 = £20,000 a year

Part of the annual pension can be commuted to provide a lump sum if the firefighter wishes.

 

Link to Scottish Government Website