I want to know more about my pension benefits
Normal Pension Age
Normal pension age for all members of the FPS) is age 55. If you choose to retire at or after this age, your pension would be put into immediate payment. Or you could retire earlier with immediate payment of benefits provided you have reached age 50 and have at least 25 years' service. An ill-health pension may be payable at any age. If you leave the FPS before becoming entitled to payment of age or ill-health retirement benefits you may be awarded a deferred pension. This would be payable from:
- Age 60, or
- Subject to appropriate medical certification, at any age, on grounds of permanent ill health which prevents you from undertaking any regular employment.
Your fire and rescue authority may require you to retire if they consider that your retention in the fire and rescue service would not be in the general interest of efficiency. You must, however, be eligible at that time for immediate payment of an age retirement pension, having attained age 50 and having at least 25 years' pensionable service.
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 periods of 365 days would produce a greater amount, the final pensionable pay from one of those earlier periods could be substituted. If at any time you have worked part-time, the starting point for assessment of your pension is based on the pensionable pay you would be able to count if whole-time.
How each of the various types of pension are calculated is explained in the scheme guidance available on the Forms and Guides page, but there are certain basic principles. The FPS is a final salary pension scheme which means that your pension will be a proportion of final average pensionable pay. The proportion will depend, in part, upon how much pensionable service you have at the time of leaving the Scheme. For age and ill-health pensions, a principle of "fast accrual" is used. For each of the first 20 years of pensionable service, you will get 1/60th of average pensionable pay and for each of the following years you will get 2/60ths of average pensionable pay. Each day of pensionable service will count as 1/365th of 1/60th. The maximum number of 60ths that you can count is 40 (after 30 years' service). For example, if you retire at age 55 with 30 years of pensionable service and average pensionable pay of £30,000, your pension would be assessed as:
(20 x 1/60) + (10 x 2/60) x £30,000 = 40/60 x £30,000 = £20,000.00 a year
This is your service as a member of the Scheme of which you have paid contributions.. If you have ever worked part-time, the starting point for assessment of your pension is based on the pensionable service you could count if whole-time. 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
Age Retirement Pension
This award would be payable to a firefighter who is age 50 or over with at least 25 years service (called an "ordinary pension" in the FPS rules), or age 55 or over with at least two years' service (called a "short service pension" in the FPS rules). Part of the annual pension can be commuted to provide a lump sum if you wish.
If you have ever worked part-time, the pension is first assessed as if you had worked whole-time throughout your service. Then account is taken of the proportion of whole-time service you have accrued. For example, if you retire at 55 having worked whole-time for 20 years and half-time for six years (i.e. 26 calendar years) the starting point for working out your pension would be to assume you had worked whole-time throughout those 26 years. Even if you have been working half-time during your final year, average pensionable pay is based on the whole time pay.
If you leave your employment as a firefighter and you meet the criteria below, then you would be entitled to a deferred pension:
- Have at least two years pensionable service or, if less, have had a transfer of personal pension rights into the FPS, and
- Are not eligible for immediate payment of an age retirement pension because you are not old enough, and
- Are not retiring on grounds of ill-health,
You would also be entitled to a deferred pension if you opt out of the FPS while still in employment provided you have at least 2 years pensionable service or have had a personal pension transfer into the FPS.
A deferred pension is put into payment at age 60. It can be paid earlier if the firefighter becomes permanently disabled for firefighting or performing any other duties appropriate to his/her former role. Or, if you wish, it could form the basis of a transfer value paid to some other pension scheme, including to the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme if you later take up further employment as a firefighter.