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.
SPPA have started issuing 2015/2016 pension savings statements to members and these Statements will be issued where growth in final salary or the CARE Scheme exceeds the Annual Allowance.
We will also be issuing statements to transition members where the total growth across both the final salary and the CARE Scheme exceed the Annual Allowance amount. Members will receive a separate statement from each scheme.
The Annual Allowance for 2015/16 is £80,000 and the pension input period is 1 April 2015 to 5 April 2016. This is split into two subsequent PIP’s, the pre-alignment PIP which is from 1 April to 8 July 2015 and has an Annual Allowance of £80,000. The post alignment PIP which is from 9 July 2015 to 5 April 2016 and has an Annual Allowance of £0, but any unused allowance from the pre-alignment PIP can be used, up to a maximum of £40,000.
Interim temporary lifetime allowance protection certificates will no longer be valid after 31 August 2016. Any retirement applications made where a member has used the interim protection process will be returned and HMRC will direct the member to the online service to make an application for permanent lifetime allowance protection.
For more information regarding the process for acquiring permanent Fixed Protection 2016, Individual Protection 2016 or Individual Protection 2014 please see:
In previous years, the Agency took a snapshot of customer satisfaction by conducting the annual SPPA Customer Survey. This involved sampling scheme members and pensioners who had contacted the Agency within the last 12 months.
We are now replacing the annual survey with a continuous survey, which means it will be available 365 days a year. With a maximum of 13 questions, this shorter survey allows all of our members the opportunity to participate and provide us with feedback on our services.
Your feedback is important to us so we hope you will take a few minutes to complete our survey to help us further improve the quality of the services we provide.
You can access the survey here, and on the SPPA website's homepage.
An Employer survey will be issued later in 2016.
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 09:24
The online service for scheme members to apply for protection from the lifetime allowance tax charge will be available from the end of July 2016. The online service will also allow pension scheme members to view a history of their previous lifetime allowance protection details.
If members want to apply for lifetime allowance protection from the end of July 2016, or to view details of their protections they will need a HMRC Online Services Account. To create an account, or to login to an existing one, they should go to HMRC services: sign in or register
Members can find more information about the lifetime allowance and protections on GOV.UK.
Members who are not planning to take benefits before August 2016 should wait and apply for protection using the online digital service from the end of July 2016.
Thursday, 12 May 2016 12:04
The results of our annual Customer satisfaction surveys are now available to view, your responses are vital in helping us identify ways of improving our service.
Thank you to all who took the time to respond.
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