Firefighters Pension Schemes

FPS 1992

FPS 1992 MEMBER SCHEME GUIDE

Please click on available links below for more detailed information on specific areas.

 

Membership

The Scheme was open to all regular firefighters appointed before 6 April 2006.

 

Contributions rates

A banded arrangement.

 

Unpaid absence

The Fire Authority should contact you to give you the option to make payments for periods of unpaid absence.

 

Transfers from previous pension arrangements

The FPS became a closed scheme on 6 April 2006, therefore a transfer of pension rights into the Scheme is no longer possible.

 

Additional contributions

These can be paid, by election and subject to eligibility, to purchase additional benefits.

 

Normal pension age

This is age 55.  However, a firefighter can choose to retire before this with immediate payment of retirement benefits provided he/she is aged 50 or over and has at least 25 years service.

Basic principles of assessment of pension

Annual pension = service / 60  x  average pensionable pay

  • Each year of service to 20 years  = 1/60th
  • Each year of service after 20 years = 2/60ths

Hence a maximum of 40/60ths.

If the firefighter has a period of part time membership, the pension will be adjusted to reflect the part time service.

Average pensionable pay as used in the above formula is normally the firefighter’s pay averaged over the last year of service; average pay for one of the two previous years can be substituted if greater.  If the firefighter has a reduction in pay before this, the “two pension” option can be used; the first pension would be based on service before the reduction in pay, the second would be based on service accrued after.

1992 Commutation guidance 18 March 2016  

A firefighter is able to give up part of his/her annual pension to provide a one off payment of lump sum.

 

Ill-health award

This is payable from any age if a member is permanently disabled for performance of the duties of his/her role. It can be a lower tier or higher tier award. A lower tier award would be paid where the member is capable of regular employment (other than as a firefighter); a higher tier award would be paid where the member is not so capable. A lower tier pension is normally assessed on deferred benefit principles; the higher tier award uses the same principles but with an enhancement of service.

 

Early leaver benefits

These apply if a firefighter leaves the fire and rescue service before a pension is payable. The options, dependent upon length of service, are:

  • a refund of contributions;
  • a transfer of pension rights to another fire and rescue authority;
  • a transfer of pension rights to another pension arrangement;
  • a deferred pension.

 

Additional Pension Benefit 

This is a contributions based pension benefit. Those who were serving firefighters at the time that the Long Service Increment was withdrawn will be entitled to a Long Service Increment Additional Pension Benefit (LSI APB). Those who receive Continual Professional Development payments will receive a CPD APB. The CPD APB is based on standard pension contributions paid by the firefighter and by the fire and rescue authority on the CPD payments. The contributions are converted to a pension by the use of factors provided by the Government Actuary. An APB is also taken into account for dependants’ benefits.

In addition, from 1st July 2013, any of the following allowances can be treated as an APB, as with LSI/CPD, instead of forming part of the main scheme benefits.  This is for new awards of the allowance or where there is a break in allowance on or after 1st July 2013 and is at the discretion of each individual fire service:

(a) any allowance or supplement to reward additional skills and responsibilities that are applied and maintained outside the requirements of the firefighter’s duties under the contract of employment but are within the wider functions of the job;

(b) the difference between the firefighter’s basic pay in their day to day role and any pay received whilst on temporary promotion or where he is temporarily required to undertake the duties of a higher role;

(c) any performance related payment which is not consolidated into his standard pay.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service have decided that their general policy be as follows:

Additional Pension Benefit (APB) will not be applied to any allowances or emoluments other than that of Continual Professional Development payments (which are the subject of a national collective agreement) UNLESS an individual requests APB in relation to a temporary promotion, in which case the request shall be approved.

If you wish to estimate how much Additional Pension Benefit you can expect to receive by paying pension contributions over a certain period of time, please use this calculator spreadsheet link.  You will need to download/save  and then open the spreadsheet in order to input your details.      NB: This calculator cannot currently be used on mobile devices.

 

Death benefits

Provided in the form of a death grant of twice pensionable pay for a member who dies in service, plus benefits for a surviving spouse or civil partner, and children’s and other dependants’ benefits.

 

Effect of divorce or dissolution of civil partnership

Depends upon the decision of the court. If the court issues an “earmarking” order, all or part of the death grant, pension, or lump sum by commutation may be paid to the former spouse or civil partner at the time those benefits would normally be paid to, or in respect of, the Scheme member. If, instead, the court issues a pension sharing order, part of the firefighter’s accrued value of pension rights will be deducted from the effective date of the order to provide benefits for the former spouse or civil partner who becomes a pension credit member in the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.

Pension credit member’s benefits

Provided for the former spouse or civil partner of a Scheme member in the event of a court issuing a pension sharing order on divorce. The benefits, which are payable from age 60, are a pension and, provided the firefighter had not already commuted part of his/her pension, the option of a lump sum.

 

Pensions Increase

This ensures FPS benefits keep pace with cost of living increases.  Pensions Increase Acts explain how and when it is to be applied and Pensions Increase (Review) Orders. A pensions increase statement is issued annually, setting out the amount by which benefits should be increased.

 

State Pension Scheme

The State Pension inter relates with the FPS, as the FPS has gained contracted out status and must therefore ensure that all benefits payable meet minimum requirements.  From April 2016 however this changed and the scheme is no longer be contracted out.

 

Rights of appeal  (Devon and Somerset / Gloucestershire)

Any member has the right to appeal if dissatisfied with a decision of the fire and rescue authority, or the medical opinion upon which certain decisions are based.