Firefighters' 2015 Scheme
The Firefighter’s Pension Scheme 2015 is a career average revalued earnings (CARE) scheme. These pages contain a brief summary of information regarding the scheme. A full guide is also available.
How is your pension worked out?
How much service do I need to qualify for a pension?
You must have built up at least three months qualifying service.
What is a CARE scheme?
Every year you will get a pension equal to a 59.7th of your pay added to your pension account. This pension is revalued each year to ensure it keeps up with the cost of living.
At retirement, the amount of pension built up each year is added together to work out the total pension due.
If, during the scheme year, you've been on leave, on reduced contractual pay or no pay due to sickness or injury, or have been on relevant paid child related leave, or reserve forces leave, then for that period your pension is based on your assumed pensionable pay.
An example of how your pension will build up in your pension account each year is shown below.
|Date from||Date to||Account balance (starting)||HM treasury order rate||Opening balance||Actual pay||Build up rate||Pension build up in year||Account balance (closing)|
As a member of the 2015 scheme, your contribution rate is based on your full time equivalent pensionable pay. Your employer also pays towards your retirement benefits.
The contribution banding rates for the year 2020/2021 are:
|Pensionable pay range for an employment||Contribution rate 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021|
|Up to £27,818||11%|
|£27,819 to £51,515||12.9%|
|£51,516 to £142,500||13.5%|
|£142,501 or more||14.5%|
You can pay back contributions lost through strike breaks. If you decide to replace the lost pension, you'd have to pay back the employee’s and the employer’s contributions. You must elect within six months of the strike action in order to pay back the contributions.
Leaving or opting out
If you don’t want to be a member of the 2015 Scheme you can cancel your membership; this is called opting out. To opt out you must fill in an opt out form. This form should be given to the Fire and Rescue Authority. They'll stop taking pension contributions and tell us that you’ve opted out.
If you’ve less than three months qualifying service when you opt out, you’d normally get a refund of contributions. However, if you’ve more than three months qualifying service, you’ll get deferred benefits.
You can re-join the 2015 Scheme after opting out by completing a new member form. This would take effect from the start of the following pay period. Also, due to ‘automatic enrolment’, the authority must put members who've opted out back into the scheme every three years. These members can opt out again if they wish.
If you leave the 2015 Scheme before retirement, with more than three months service, you get deferred pension benefits.
A deferred pension would normally be paid at your State Pension age. However, you can take early payment at or after age 55, but reductions would be applied.
As an alternative to a deferred pension, upon leaving the 2015 Scheme, you could ask for your pension rights to be transferred to another pension scheme.
If you leave Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service and transfer to another fire authority, and if there is no break in service between employments, you could remain a member of the 2015 Scheme. However, if you leave to become a firefighter in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, a transfer payment would be paid because different funding arrangements apply.
Transfers are restricted from unfunded public service pension schemes to schemes from which members are able to access their benefits flexibly.
Thinking of retiring?
When can I retire?
The normal pension age for your pension to be paid is 60. However, it’s possible to retire early from age 55 onwards. If you choose to take your pension early, it would be reduced.
A firefighter with sufficient service can qualify for an ill-health pension, if they're considered to be permanently disabled to perform the duties of their role.
There are two tiers of an ill-health award. A lower tier would be based on your pensionable service and final pay at the date of leaving and would not be enhanced. This is because you're incapable of performing the duties of a firefighter but you could undertake other regular employment.
A higher tier can be awarded if you've been a member of the 2015 Scheme for at least five years and are unable to work in any other regular employment. This pension would be based on your pensionable service and final pay at date of leaving and would be enhanced (not exceeding 40/60 of your final pay). You're not able to commute a higher tier pension to provide lump sum.
The 2015 scheme allows you to take your pension at age 55 without leaving your job. A reduction will apply for early payment. You can also continue to build up more pension as you continue in your job.
This is a change from the 1992 and 2006 schemes where you'd have to fully retire to access your benefits.
What if I die in service?
In the event of your death, your loved ones may get a survivors’ pension.
Please remember to tell us about any changes to your marital status and review and update your expression of wish form if necessary.
What if I die in service?
If you die in service as a member of the 2015 Scheme, a death grant may be due. This would normally be three times your pensionable pay.
You can choose the person or persons who you wish to receive your death grant, however Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service makes the final decision on who to pay the death grant to. Your wishes will be considered when a decision is made.
A death grant may also be due if you're a former firefighter who's died within five years of receiving your pension.
- Spouse and partner pensions
When a 2015 Scheme member dies, a pension can be paid to a surviving spouse, civil partner or nominated partner.
- Child's pension
A child may be eligible to receive a pension if under the age of 18, or below age 23, and in full-time education. The pension would cease at age 23 or whenever the full-time education ends. Please see the full guide for information regarding ‘eligibility’.
- Bereavement pension
For the first 13 weeks following a death, the spouse or partner will receive a ‘bereavement pension’. In effect, this tops up their pension to the level of the deceased’s pensionable pay (death in service) or pension (death after payment comes into payment).