Firefighters 1992 Scheme
The Firefighter’s Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS) is an occupational Defined Benefit Pension Scheme. The Scheme is no longer open to new firefighters and it is not possible to transfer other pension rights into the Scheme. To be a member of the Scheme you must have joined before 1 April 2006.
Current active members of the FPS will be those who satisfied the membership conditions and joined before this date, who have not opted out of the Scheme, and who have not had any subsequent break in continuity of employment.
The following pages apply only to those firefighter members who retain membership of the 1992 Scheme.
Benefits of the 1992 Scheme
The benefits that you will receive as a member of the FPS are:
- Option for voluntary early retirement at age 50 with 25 years’ service
- An index linked Pension
- Option to take a lump sum on retirement
- Ill-health pension
- Injury award
- Death Grant
- Survivors pension for a spouse, civil partner or nominated partner and any eligible children.
How is your pension worked out?
What is pensionable service?
Pensionable service can be defined as your period of service as a member of the FPS during which you have paid contributions.
How much service do I need to qualify for a pension?
To be eligible you must have built up at least two years qualifying service.
What is average pensionable pay?
Average pensionable pay will usually be your pay averaged over the last 365 days of service. It would not, however, include those payments which have been treated as pensionable for providing ‘Additional Pension Benefits’.
However, if either of the two proceeding yearly periods would produce a greater amount, then the final pensionable pay from one of those earlier periods could be substituted. This protects members against any reduction of pay in the later years of service.
How is a pension calculated?
The FPS is a Final Salary Scheme which means that your pension will be a proportion of final average pensionable pay. For each of the first 20 years of pensionable service, you will receive 1/60th of average pensionable pay and for each subsequent year you will get 2/60ths of average pensionable pay. Each day of pensionable service will count as 1/365th of a year.
For example, if you retire at 55, with 24 years’ pensionable service and average pensionable pay of £28,000, your pension would be –
(20 x 1/60) + (4 x 2/60) x £28,000 = 28/60 x £28,000 = £13,066.66 a year
As a member of the FPS your contribution rate is based upon your pensionable pay. Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service also pay towards your retirement benefits.
The current contribution banding rates for 2016/17 are:
|pensionable pay||Contribution rate|
|Up to and including £15,301||11.0% of pensionable pay|
|More than £15,301 and up to and including £21,422||12.2% of pensionable pay|
|More than £21,422 and up to and including £30,603||14.2% of pensionable pay|
|More than £30,603 and up to and including £40,804||14.7% of pensionable pay|
|More than £40,804 and up to and including £51,005||15.2% of pensionable pay|
|More than £51,005 and up to and including £61,206||15.5% of pensionable pay|
|More than £61,206 and up to and including £102,010||16.0% of pensionable pay|
|More than £102,010 and up to and including £122,412||16.5% of pensionable pay|
|More than £122,412||17.0% of pensionable pay|
Replacing Strike contributions is similar to the process of replacing contributions lost through other types of unpaid leave. If you do decide to replace the lost pension you would be required to pay back employee’s and the employer’s contributions. It is important to note that an election must be made within six months of the strike action to pay back the contributions.
For more information please see the guide on strike action and how it affects pension benefits in the forms and guides section.
Leaving or Opting Out of the 1992 Scheme
If you do not want to be a member of the FPS you can opt out at any time by giving a signed, written notice to the Fire and Rescue Authority. The notice would take effect from the start of the following pay period.
If you wish to opt back in the Fire Pension Scheme 1992 it will not be possible due to the fact that the Scheme closed in 2006. Instead, according to your eligibility, you would be allowed to join another suitable pension scheme provided by the Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service.
Under ‘automatic enrolment’ the authority will periodically put members who have opted out back into a similar Pension Scheme. This is currently the Firefighters Pension Scheme 2006 (NFPS) or the 2015 Scheme depending upon your age. These members can opt out again if they wish.
If you leave the FPS, either to enter into another employment or because you have opted out of the scheme, you would be entitled to a deferred pension. Entitlement to a deferred pension also depends upon having accrued more than two years’ service, or if less, have had a transfer of personal pension rights into the FPS. A deferred pension comes into effect when a leaver has sufficient service to qualify for a pension but is not eligible for immediate payment as they are not old enough or not retiring on grounds of ill-health.
A deferred pension is calculated by assessing the ‘hypothetical’ pension you would have received if your pensionable service had continued to normal pension age. Then the hypothetical person is ‘pro rated’ according to the period actually served.
A deferred pension would normally be put into payment at the age of 60.
As an alternative to a deferred pension, upon leaving the FPS, you could request that your pension rights should be transferred to another pension arrangement.
If you leave your employment with Shropshire Fire & Rescue Authority and transfer to another Fire Authority, provided there is no break in service between employments, you would remain a member of the FPS.
However, if you leave to take up employment as a firefighter in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, a transfer payment would be paid because different funding arrangements apply.
There are some schemes that will let you access your pension before Normal Pension Age if you transfer into them. These are called pension liberation scams or pension loans.
Promises of early cash are likely to be false, and you could lose your pension savings and face serious tax consequences for taking an ‘unauthorised’ payment.
You can find out more about pension liberation on The Pensions Regulator website.