Firefighters Pension Schemes

NFPS 2006

NFPS 2006 MEMBER SCHEME GUIDE

NFPS 2006 ADDITIONAL MEMBER SCHEME GUIDE FOR RETAINED

RDS Settlement employee guide (4 April 2014)

RDS Settlement scheme leaflet March 14

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

1. RDS MODIFIED RETAINED SCHEME

Summary of scheme Benefits

The benefits on offer in the modified scheme will be comparable, albeit different, to those provided under the terms of the 1992 Scheme. The main terms of the modified scheme are as follows:

  • a uniform accrual rate of 1/45th
  • a normal pension age of 55
  • a deferred pension age of 60
  • fixed commutation factors which reflect those in the 1992 Scheme as at 1 April 2014
  • contribution rates to be set in accordance with the 1992 Scheme i.e. 11% for service accrued prior to 1 April 2012 and tiered contributions for service accrued on or after 1 April 2012
  • an in-service death grant of 2 times pensionable pay
  • a time limited retrospective death grant of 2.5 x pensionable pay for those retained firefighters who would have been eligible to be members but died before 6 April 2006
  • the option to purchase additional 1/45ths of pensionable service
  • the option to convert 2006 Scheme service to service in the modified scheme
  • the option of transferring-in certain qualifying external pension benefits within 12 months of being eligible to join the scheme
  • ill-health retirement benefits in accordance with the 2006 Scheme
  • the payment of a retrospective ill-health pension for those retained firefighters who left service due to ill-health during the period 1 July 2000 and 5 April 2006 inclusive – this will be subject to certification from an Independent Qualified Medical Practitioner
  • the abatement of pensions on re-employment following retirement

2. NFPS 2006 SCHEME DETAILS

Membership

The Scheme is open to all firefighters regardless of duty system or hours of employment. This includes all retained firefighters other than those in the Modified Scheme above.

Contribution rate

A banded arrangement.

Additional contributions

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

Previous pension rights

As a member of the New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, or with another pension arrangement (including the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992), previous pension rights may be transferred to add to current service.

Normal pension age

Age 60. However, a firefighter can choose to retire before this at age 55 or over with immediate payment of benefits but an actuarial reduction of approximately 5% for each year prior to 65.

Basic principles of assessment of pension

Calculated in accordance with final pay and pensionable service, whereby final pay is normally an average of the pay received within the last 12 months of employment:

1/60  x  pensionable service  x  final pensionable pay

In the case of a part time employee, the service would reflect the part time hours worked (e.g. half time for two years would give one year of pensionable service) but the final pensionable pay would be based on the whole time equivalent rate.

Commutation

This allows a firefighter to give up part of his/her annual pension to provide a one off payment of lump sum.

Ill-health award

Payable from any age if the NFPS member is permanently disabled for performance of the duties of his/her role. It can be lower tier or higher tier.  Lower tier would be paid where the member is capable of regular employment (other than as a firefighter); higher tier would be paid where the member is not so capable. A lower tier pension uses the basic principles of assessment; the higher tier uses the basic principles with an enhancement of service.

Early leaver benefits

Applicable in the event of leaving the fire and rescue service before normal pension age. The benefits, dependent upon length of service, the nature of the termination of employment, the age of the member and/or the choice of the member are:

  • a refund;
  • a transfer of pension rights to another fire and rescue authority;
  • a transfer of pension rights to another pension arrangement;
  • a deferred pension;
  • an authority-initiated early retirement pension;
  • a member-initiated early retirement pension.

Split pension

This is a means of protecting the pension rights of a member whose pay is reduced in a final salary pension scheme. At the point of reduction the first pension would be closed and a new pension started. When the member retires, both pensions would be paid or, if more advantageous, the service on which the two pensions are based could be added together and a single pension paid.

Additional Pension Benefit (“APB”)

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.

 

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 3 times pensionable pay for a member who dies in service and a five year guarantee where a pension is in payment, plus dependants’ benefit cover for a surviving spouse, or civil partner, or nominated partner and for children.

Effect of divorce or dissolution of civil partnership

This 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 NFPS 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 NFPS.

Pension credit member’s benefits

Provided for the former spouse or civil partner of a NFPS member in the event of a court issuing a pension sharing order on divorce. The benefits are payable from age 65 and comprise a pension and, provided the firefighter had not already commuted part of his/her pension, the option of a lump sum.

Pensions Increase

An increase is applied to members’ and dependants’ pensions on an annual basis to keep in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Rights of appeal (Gloucestershire)

If a member is dissatisfied with the decisions of the fire and rescue service, or the medical opinion on which certain decisions are based, an appeal can be made.