What happens to my pension in the event of my death?
In the event of a NFPS member's death (whether before or after retirement) a pension will be paid to a surviving spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or child.
If the deceased was a serving NFPS member:
- The spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the higher tier ill-health pension to which the firefighter would be entitled if he/she had retired on health grounds on the date of death;
- The child's pension would be one quarter of the same amount; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the same amount divided between the children.
If the deceased had left the NFPS, was entitled to a deferred pension, but that pension had not yet come into payment:
- The spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the deferred pension;
- The child's pension would be one quarter of the deferred pension; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension would be one half of the deferred pension divided between the children.
If the deceased was in receipt of a pension from the NFPS at the time of death:
- The spouse's or partner's pension would be half of the pension*; the child's pension would be one quarter of the pension*; where there is more than one eligible child, the pension* would be one half of the pension divided between the children.
*The pension would be the value of the pension before any reduction for early payment but after commutation.
If the spouse or partner is more than 12 years younger than the deceased, the spouse or partner's pension will be reduced by 2.5% for every year or part year above the 12 years, to a maximum of 50%. If the deceased leaves no eligible spouse or partner but there is an eligible child or children, an additional pension would be paid to the child/children. It would be equivalent to that which would have been paid to an eligible spouse or partner. If there is more than one child the additional pension would be divided equally between the children. It would stop when the children cease to be eligible.
For the first 13 weeks following death, the spouse's or partner's pension will be topped up to the level of the deceased's pensionable pay (death in service) or the pension in payment (death after pension comes into payment). This top-up would not apply in the case of a deferred pension which had not come into payment at the date of death. If no spouse's or partner's pension is payable but a child's pension is due, the top-up would be applied to the child's pension.
A spouse's or partner's pension is payable for life, even if he/she marries, remarries, forms a civil partnership or a subsequent civil partnership. Also, there is no difference in treatment according to whether the marriage/partnership commenced before or after the Scheme member's retirement.
A child is eligible to receive a pension if below age 18, or below age 23 and in full-time education. Eligibility ceases on marriage, civil partnership or remunerated employment if earlier. A child who is permanently disabled at the time the firefighter dies may be entitled to receive a pension for life. Your authority can give you the exact terms of eligibility.
If you were to die in service as a member of the NFPS, a death grant would be payable. This would normally be three times your pensionable pay as at the date of death. If you are working part-time hours the pensionable pay would be the part-time rate. For someone who has worked variable hours, account would be taken of this. In these circumstances the death grant would be the greater of:
- 3 x part-time rate of pensionable pay based on hours at date of death, or
- 3 x whole-time pensionable pay x pensionable service/qualifying service.
Similarly, if the firefighter had a split pension, the death grant would be the greater of:
- 3 x pensionable pay at date of death, or
- 3 x pensionable pay based on a proportion of the pensionable pay at the date at which the pension was split and at the date of death.
The Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to whom to pay the death grant but you may, if you wish, nominate who you would wish to be the recipient(s).
The death grant is payable only where a firefighter is a serving member of the NFPS. However, in the event of death after a pension has come into payment, there is a five year “guarantee”. This means any balance between instalments made and the total of five years’ instalments would be paid as a lump sum, rather like a death grant.
The method of assessment of this guarantee is to multiply the value of your pension – after any reduction for early payment but before commutation – by five and then to deduct any lump sum by commutation and the instalments of pension that have already been paid. Again, the Fire and Rescue Authority has absolute discretion as to whom the “guaranteed” portion should be paid but they may have regard to any nomination.
There is no death grant nor guaranteed payment in respect of a deferred pension which has not come into payment at the date of death of the firefighter.