Normal pension age
If you are an active member at normal pension age (60) you can draw your pension at any time on or after your 60th birthday. Your active member’s account and any added pension account (see Topping up benefits for more information), would be closed and a retirement account set up. There would be no reduction for early retirement, but there may be an additional pension added if you had continued in service after age 60.
If you are an active member but wish to draw your pension before the age of 60, you can give written notice to the authority suggesting that you would like to receive your retirement pension early. You can do this from the age of 55. In these circumstances, however, the pension would be subject to an early retirement reduction based on factors provided by the scheme actuary.
There is also an option for partial retirement once you have reached the age of 55. Partial retirement enables you to draw your pension, but still continue your employment as a firefighter without a break, in turn accruing additional pension.
Your active member’s account and any added pension account would be closed, and the pension held in those accounts would be put into payment (subject to an early payment reduction if you had not reached age 60).
A new active member’s account would be opened for the pension you will accrue in your continuing membership. This second pension will become payable, on similar terms to your first pension, when you are ready to draw it.
Employer initiated early retirement
A retirement pension may also be paid to an active member at or after age 55 but before age 60 without any early payment reduction in the event of employer initiated retirement.
This is where an authority terminates a member’s employment and has determined that a retirement pension should be awarded on the basis that it would assist the economical, effective and efficient management of its functions, having taken account of the costs likely to be incurred in the particular case.
There would still be a cost to paying the retirement pension before normal pension age but in these circumstances the authority would have to pick up the cost rather than the Scheme member.
In all of these circumstances where a retirement pension is put into payment, before payment commences you will have the option to commute part of the pension to provide a lump sum.